Manitoba Historical Society
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Manitoba History: Ethnic Politics on the Urban Frontier: “Fighting Joe” Martin and the Jews of Winnipeg, 1893-96

by Henry Trachtenberg

Number 35, Spring/Summer 1998

This article was published originally in Manitoba History by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make this online version available as a free, public service. As an historical document, the article may contain language and views that are no longer in common use and may be culturally sensitive in nature.

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When Abraham Lechtzier, a Winnipeg Jewish merchant tailor and active supporter of the Conservative Party, arranged a political meeting at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue for one warm June night during the 1896 federal election campaign, he was acting in a way much of the Winnipeg Jewish community understood. Seeking to guarantee their individual and communal security and well-being in the late nineteenth century, the city’s Jews turned to political participation as a defense mechanism to avert hostility from the larger society and to gain its acceptance and approval. [1]

Recently, the proposition has been advanced that historical writing on immigrant groups on the Prairies has evolved from pluralism to “post modern cultural analysis”, with social identity being perceived as “more ephemeral, more ambiguous, more individual than it was in earlier generations.” While this may be the case, political and social history remains, nevertheless, very important in the interpretation of ethnic identity. Furthermore, the political histories of the various ethnic groups in Western Canada, including Manitoba, largely remain to be written. In addition to the view of many academic historians that political history is passé, there has been a tendency to accept the opinion expressed by W. L. Morton more than forty years ago that the “great immigrant groups” to the Prairies in the first years of the twentieth century “in the main left politics to the Canadian born.” A more recent interpretation by Franca Iacovetta in her overview of writings dealing with English Canadian immigrant history, and one specifically relevant to the study of Canadian Jewish history, is that historians have tended to avoid researching and writing about Jewish-Gentile splits and heavily polarized ethnic communities because of the “real difficulties” they confront including “criticism or a studied neglect from colleagues on the other side of the divide.” [2]

In a perspective similar to Morton’s, Howard Palmer observed that the Liberal and Conservative parties made efforts to attract the support of new immigrant groups, particularly Icelanders, to Western Canada in the late nineteenth century. He noted, though, that before the 1890s, the other ethnic groups were “too few and too scattered to constitute a political force” and that “the political behaviour of people other than British or French origin did not become an important part of the political scene in Canada until their numbers increased substantially during the period of large-scale settlement of the Canadian west between 1890 and the First World War.” This was the situation of Winnipeg Jewry, a largely marginal urban immigrant community. During the last decade of the nineteenth century, however, Winnipeg Jews became increasingly politically acculturated. Their heightened awareness of and participation in politics was hastened by critical comments made about Jews and Jewish immigrants in 1894-95 by Winnipeg’s Member of Parliament, Joseph Martin, described by one historian as one of the “zealous defenders of Ontario-style civilization” and another as “the Protestant champion.”

Joseph “Fighting Joe” Martin, 1883.
Source: Archives of Manitoba

The absence of primary sources, in either Yiddish or English, creates considerable difficulty in determining answers to some of the questions posed by historians about the social and economic acculturation of the Winnipeg Jewish community in the late nineteenth century. Perhaps the lack of surviving diaries, private and official correspondence, and an oral tradition, is not surprising.

Jewish immigrants of the time were concerned, not with preparing a record for future generations to interpret, but with the maintenance of religious values, the establishment of religious and educational institutions, economic survival in changing local, national, and global economies, and cultural accommodation. One is forced, therefore, to rely exclusively on newspapers, periodicals, and official documents, rather than on the interpretation of events by those directly involved in and affected by them. As well, when examining the involvement of Winnipeg’s Jews in politics at this time, the historian finds that there are scarcely any individual or political party records which shed light on individual and communal participation, and the researcher is relegated to utilizing newspapers. From the perspective of the historian, Winnipeg Jews in the late nineteenth century, though not peasants like Eugen Weber’s French peasants of the same time period, were similarly inarticulate, “on those particular levels that provide most of the records on which historians rely.” In Weber’s words, their “acts, thoughts, and words ... remain largely unrecorded. Such records as exist are the work of outsiders who observed and recorded what they saw for purposes of their own ... [and] they cannot tell us what went on as true participants.” [4]

Most Winnipeg Jews had arrived from Russia in 1882 as refugees fleeing from pogroms, and in the intervening years had become small merchants and peddlers in the area on and around north Main Street. Indeed, in 1892 the Manitoba Free Press claimed that Jews were taking over this district and turning it into Winnipeg’s Bowery. Winnipeg in 1891 was the leading urban centre in the frontier prairie west. The Jewish community, while it was only a tiny part of a growing North American diaspora, was the third largest in Canada, after Montreal’s and Toronto’s. It numbered 645 persons and accounted for 2.5 percent of the city’s population of 25,639. The vast majority of Winnipeg Jewry, 506, lived in municipal district Ward 5 in the northern part of the city, where it constituted 7.1 percent of the Ward’s population of 7,086. The Jewish population, centred on Henry Avenue in the area immediately south of the Canadian Pacific Railway main line, was one of the largest non-British, non-French ethno-cultural religious groups in the Manitoba capital, and certainly one of the most visible because of the small concentrated area in which most lived and worked, their occupations, names, accents, and perhaps their dress. [5]

Winnipeg’s, as Toronto’s and New York’s, East European Jewish immigrants were initially indifferent to politics because many had no full understanding of the concept of loyalty to a state and because elected representative government was foreign to them. Many immigrant Jews believed government was the preserve of Gentiles, and they had been conditioned by their experiences of Czarist autocracy and repression in Russia to avoid non-Jews. Most immigrants also “needed to develop the confidence and the free time to become involved in politics”. For the majority of Winnipeg Jews in the 1880s, fully occupied with trying to earn a living, becoming fluent in the English language, raising their families, and establishing their religious, educational, and social institutions and organizations, these were luxuries they did not enjoy. [6]

As a result of attitudes manifested by municipal politicians, and policies adopted by them, particularly the very substantial increases in peddlers’ fees in 1891 and the enforcement of early closing and other municipal bylaws, Winnipeg Jews in the early 1890s were in a state of continuous anxiety. Seeking to guarantee their individual and communal well-being, the city’s Jews turned to political activity at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels as a defense mechanism to avoid enmity from, and to gain recognition and approval of, the larger society. In this behaviour Winnipeg Jews acted like their American co-religionists, who, according to political scientist Daniel Elazar, had encountered “immediate hostility, usually in the form of social and economic discrimination,” and therefore “had to engage in a struggle” to become “fully accepted as members of the American body politic”. [7]

Threatened financially during a period of general economic depression by their experiences at the municipal level, Winnipeg Jews became galvanized into political action. They organized petitions, wrote letters, obtained legal counsel, and lobbied politicians. The growing interest and participation in politics by individual Jews and the Winnipeg Jewish community was manifested in the federal election of 1891, when, despite support for free trade with the United States, the majority supported Hugh John Macdonald, the son of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald and the successful Conservative candidate in the constituency of Winnipeg, as well as in the provincial election of 1892, when a majority in North Winnipeg voted for the Conservative candidate, George Campbell. [8]

Hugh John Macdonald, circa 1900.
Source: Archives of Manitoba

Although most Jews supported the Conservative Party at the provincial and federal levels in the 1890s, this was not the case in the federal byelection in Winnipeg held on 22 November, 1893. The byelection was made necessary by Macdonald’s resignation. The Conservative Party nominated Colin Campbell, a Winnipeg lawyer and prominent Conservative, as his successor. Campbell, somewhat at variance with his national party, campaigned in favour of tariff reform and federal non-interference with the Manitoba school system. [9]

After some uncertainty, and the refusal of Isaac Campbell, the unsuccessful Liberal candidate for Winnipeg in the 1891 federal election, to contest the seat, the Liberals nominated Joseph Martin, who earlier had volunteered but this time may have been “pressed” to run. Martin, the former Attorney-General in the Liberal government of Thomas Greenway, and a defeated federal Liberal candidate for the Selkirk constituency in 1891, was a practising lawyer in Winnipeg. A leading figure in bringing an end to the Canadian Pacific Railway monopoly in Manitoba, Martin also helped create a single “national” public school system and eliminate French as an official language in the province. For these reasons, and because he was one of the most outspoken opponents of the federal Conservative policy of tariff protection, Martin had become popular with much of the Manitoba electorate. His championing of free trade and lower freight rates appealed not only to farmers, but to many small businessmen, including Jews. Martin’s popularity with much of Winnipeg’s Jewish community, however, also stemmed from his defense of businessman and Jewish communal leader David Ripstein, charged with illegally selling liquor during the provincial election of 1888. Although Ripstein had pleaded guilty and had been fined a minimum penalty and costs, as a result of his intervention Martin, then Attorney-General, was seen by many Jews as their friend. [10]

With the majority of male Jews engaged in mercantile activities, a campaign slogan of “tariff reform” with its implications of freer trade and reductions in the cost of living, was as appealing to Jewish voters in 1893 as it had been in 1891. According to historian Gerald Friesen, Manitobans had been “unhappy with their economic circumstances and blamed the federal tariff for some of their problems”. As Manitoba Attorney-General Clifford Sifton informed national Liberal Leader Wilfrid Laurier in October, 1893, Manitobans were “pretty well roused upon” the tariff. The national economic depression meant that many Jewish peddlers and other small businessmen faced severe financial problems and several Jewish families were in a destitute condition. Among the Jewish businessmen who served on Martin’s Ward 5 committee with responsibilities for specific polling sub-divisions, were Max Goldstein, a manager, Benjamin Shragge, a junk dealer, and grocer Hiram Weidman, who was also a member of Martin’s central campaign committee. [11]

Martin’s association with the 1890 school legislation does not appear to have damaged his popularity with Winnipeg Jewry in 1893. If the Jewish community in 1890 had once viewed the “national schools” with any apprehension, it no longer did. As The Winnipeg Daily Tribune noted approvingly in an editorial, there had been an increase in the number of Jewish families sending their children to public schools. [12]

Main Street, Winnipeg, circa 1895.
Source: National Archives of Canada

Although he served as chairman of a meeting called by Jewish Conservatives at the Rosh Pina Synagogue Hall, which was addressed by Colin Campbell, Louis Wertheim temporarily abandoned the Conservative Party in 1893. Wertheim, a former tobacconist and then a pawnbroker, bookseller, and stationer, was a respected leader in the Jewish community. He had assisted the Russian refugee Jews in 1882 and served as a liaison in the 1880s with the Jewish farming colony of New Jerusalem, near Moosomin in the North-West Territories. During the campaign Wertheim was active on behalf of Martin, serving on his Ward 5 committee for a polling sub-division. Wertheim’s defection from the Conservatives undoubtedly influenced some Jewish voters to support Martin. [13]

The role on behalf of the Liberals during the campaign of another well known leader and “ardent worker” in the Jewish community, merchant tailor Philip Brown (Braun), was significant because of his status and influence. Brown had been active in aiding Russian refugee Jews in Winnipeg in 1882 and 1891, and had been a founder and president of the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue. He was one of the individuals who signed Martin’s nomination papers, and also served on his Ward 5 committee with responsibility for a specific polling sub-division. At the Rosh Pina meeting, Brown defended Martin. Making an indirect comparison between Martin and Moses, Brown pointed out discrepancies in the Conservative position on development of the St. Andrew’s Rapids to make the Red River navigable to boat transportation to and from Lake Winnipeg, and claimed that in railway disallowance and other important issues, opponents of the federal government had done more for Winnipeg and Manitoba than had the governing Conservatives. [14]

Sketch of the original Shaarey Zedek Synagogue which once stood at the corner of Henry Avenue and King Street, Winnipeg, no date.
Source: Archives of Manitoba

Brown acknowledged the substantial assistance to the Russian Jewish refugees provided by “life-long Conservative” Joseph Wolf, a well-known auctioneer, a former Winnipeg school trustee and alderman, and now a police magistrate, and probably a former Jew who had converted to Christianity. Wolf, seeking Jewish support for Colin Campbell, had raised the matter earlier at the Rosh Pina meeting, where he was the featured speaker. Wolf had taken a particular interest in the Winnipeg Jewish community and its concerns, and was a proponent of increased Jewish immigration to Manitoba. Brown, however, denied that this was a political matter, and stated that Wolf and the Conservatives had not done more than many prominent Liberals in this area. Brown also refuted Wolf’s statement that Christians had objected to the admission of Jewish children to Winnipeg public schools and that they had been allowed to attend because of Wolf’s persuasive abilities, claiming that he (Brown) had “never heard even a hint at such an objection.” [15]

Despite his expressed dislike of separate Jewish political meetings, Brown acted as chairman at a well attended meeting called by Jewish Liberal supporters at the White Rose Hotel, owned by David Ripstein. According to The Winnipeg Daily Tribune, the case for tariff reform was made “before the Hebrews ... in their own language [Yiddish]” and was enthusiastically supported by those in attendance. Among the speakers at the meeting were Martin, and his fellow Liberal, Alexander Howden, who was also Ripstein’s lawyer. Several Jewish merchants who were all supporters of Martin, including jeweler Joseph Barron, jobber Jacob Shragge, pawnbroker John Levin, who was also a partner in another firm and President of the Hebrew Benevolent Society, and grocer Hiram Weidman, addressed the crowd, summarizing a litany of grievances against the Conservatives’ national policies. [16]

Not surprisingly, given his relationship to Martin in 1888, David Ripstein was a zealous advocate of Martin’s candidacy. Described as “very energetic during [Martin’s] canvass”, he lent committee rooms in the White Rose Hotel free of charge to Jewish supporters of the Liberal candidate. Along with Brown, Weidman, Barron, and Levin, Ripstein was one of the “most active in working for the election” of Martin. [17]

Both political parties, especially the Conservatives, made conscious efforts to gain the electoral support of the Jewish community. As the staunchly Conservative newspaper The Virden Chronicle and County of Dennis Advertiser claimed, Winnipeg had “a large foreign element, whose support it was the object of both parties to obtain.” The byelection appears to have been the first federal political campaign in Winnipeg where the politicians and the press referred to “the Jewish vote”, “the Hebrew vote”, and less charitably, a “Jew [sic] vote”. Except for Winnipeggers of Icelandic ancestry, who had a “natural tendency” as “freedom-loving” and “democratic” people to vote for a Liberal party, and who had shown more interest “in the federal election of 1891 than in any previous election”, Jews were the only ethno-religious group specifically appealed to for support. As one “old election hand” suggested, the byelection would be won or lost by the vote in the North End of Winnipeg. One report noted that “strenuous efforts had been made by the Tories to capture the Hebrew vote,” and The Winnipeg Daily Tribune contended that “high tariff healers” attempted to attract Jews on north Main Street into “the net” of the Conservative committee room at the Leland Hotel. On the eve of the election, the newspaper reported that two’s and three’s of the “shaky element”—mostly “members of the Hebrew community”— were taken by Conservative outrunners to the committee room. It also expressed uncertainty as to how the majority of Jews would vote: “The keenest campaigners were baffled as to the result of the Icelandic and Jewish vote. The latter, it is claimed, is fairly evenly split ...” [18]

The forecast proved to be false. In a campaign rife with charges and countercharges of bribery, corruption, and fraud, Martin won a “convincing victory” which was viewed as an endorsement of the Liberal policy of a tariff for revenue purposes only. Victorious in four of Winnipeg’s six wards, Martin received 2,196 votes to Campbell’s 1,771. In Ward 5, Martin, who received 555 votes to 458 for Campbell, won four of six polling sub-divisions, and lost the other two by seven and three votes. While Martin’s election was not dependent on the votes of Winnipeg Jewry, interest in the byelection was very high among Jews and a large percentage of those eligible to vote did so. Jewish voters overwhelmingly supported Martin. He obtained his largest margin in Ward 5 at polling sub-division no. 19 (406 Logan Avenue) near the centre of the Jewish community, where he received 165 votes to 79 for Campbell. The Manitoba Free Press questioned the contention, calling it surprising that the votes of Jewish electors were divided evenly between Martin and Campbell, and commented: “Three leading Hebrews were seen at Mr. Martin’s central committee rooms in the morning [of November 22], and they asserted that a heavy Jew [sic] vote was being polled for Martin.” [19]

The Winnipeg Daily Tribune reported that Conservative workers’ claims for success among Jews were not borne out by estimates from the polling places. Other reports indicated that the Liberal position was so well put that many Jews “decided to vote for ... Martin and tariff reform”. Following Martin’s victory, one Manitoba newspaper, in an angry nativist attack, claimed that “Icelanders, Jews, Scandinavians, Hungarians and all the riff-raff of the city” had voted for Martin. [20] The Winnipeg Daily Tribune confirmed that a very substantial majority of Jews had cast their ballots for Martin:

The Jewish vote never stood more faithful ... than they [sic] stood yesterday with ... Martin, and proved ... they could not be led like ... sheep at the dingle of the bell, as was claimed they would be by the [Conservative] party heelers, and to ... Phillip Brown, M. (?) Ripstein, D. Belecovsky and J. P. Keeler is considerable credit due for getting the votes of those favorable to tariff reform ... [21]

The byelection quickened the political pulse and continued the political acculturation of Winnipeg Jewry. Within days a Jewish businessman, Hyman Miller, a partner in the wholesale hardware firm of Miller, Morse and Company, was nominated, and subsequently elected, as an officer of the Young Men’s Liberal-Conservative (Conservative Party) Club. As well, Jewish Liberals decided to open their own club for the discussion of political matters, to promote Liberal causes, “and for the purpose of including Jews who have been in the country some years to take out naturalization papers.” Little is known about the association, except that its existence contributed to the growing political awareness of Winnipeg Jews. [22]

In the House of Commons, according to Conservative Prime Minister John Thompson, Martin demonstrated, along with Israel Tarte of Quebec, the most “petulance” of all the Liberals. In particular, Martin attacked the Conservatives for neglecting public works in Manitoba, especially the development of the St. Andrew’s Rapids. Nicknamed “Fighting Joe”, Martin was described as “volcanic, dramatic, irascible”, a “hot-blooded fire-eater” whose “style and manner ... belied his University of Toronto education”. In May of 1894 Martin’s intemperate nature created problems for both himself and the Liberals with Winnipeg’s Jews. In the early 1890s a significant number of Jews were peddlers and were offended on both ethno-religious and occupational grounds by Martin’s remarks. Martin made comments in the House of Commons about Jewish immigrants that were not only condescending, but shocking. Although his statements, reported prominently in Winnipeg’s three English-language daily newspapers, reflected the common Victorian attitude toward Jews, they were politically foolish. Martin questioned the Minister of the Interior, the Honourable Thomas Mayne Daly, who had defeated him in 1891, about the activities of his department in promoting immigration to Western Canada. Martin charged that the federal government had paid the expenses for transporting to the Calgary district “certain persons from Chicago who [were] not fit to become settlers and did not become settlers, being Jew [sic] peddlers.” He criticized the department for not making “a better selection of settlers” and asserted that its efforts were “not such as to bring credit, either to the Dominion ... or to the particular department ...” [23]

Daly responded that Martin had exaggerated the number of Jews assisted to travel to Calgary, and came to their aid, contending that 25 per cent of the people whom the Canadian government immigration agent had spoken to in Chicago were Jews, only one Jewish delegate had done “most of the talking”, and that 20 families, “who are as good subjects as it is necessary for us to get”, had immigrated to the Calgary area. Martin’s attack had longer range implications for his political future. W. F. Luxton, manager and editor-in-chief of The Daily Nor’Wester, a partisan Conservative newspaper founded in Winnipeg in 1894, which was no friend of Winnipeg Jewry, condemned Martin’s performance in the House of Commons, and his confrontation with Daly. [24]

In 1894-95, when Martin became embroiled in this controversy with Winnipeg Jews, their political sensitivities were acute because of concerns about how they were perceived and portrayed by the public and in the press and especially because of ongoing disputes with City of Winnipeg authorities over increases in peddlers’ fees, enforcement of municipal bylaws, and instances where Jews sought financial relief (social assistance) from the Market, License, and Health Committee. At a time when Winnipeg Jews were fearful about the fate of their co-religionists in Russia, increased anti-Semitism in Germany, France, and the United States, and the existence of an “open door” immigration policy in Canada, Martin’s comments served to increase their apprehension. [25]

As Donald Akenson has noted, the history of cultural minorities in Canada is comprehensible only if one understands the character of the Anglo-Celtic group which “formed the demographic majority for [a] long period of time ...” In late Victorian Canada, “Anglo-conformity remained the prime virtue, and those who were different found themselves condemned for it.” In this vein, throughout the mid-1890s, the Winnipeg daily press devoted considerable attention to the alleged misdeeds and court appearances of Jews. Jewish speech, dress, and “business methods” were parodied. The Daily Nor’Wester, for example, described William Moscowitz, a Jewish businessman who was charged with theft in 1895, as “a Hebrew with dark and thick whiskers all over his face; his shoulders are built somewhat on the Shylock plan, and his sharp eyes increase the Shakespearean effect.” Often, news reports about Winnipeg Jews simply identified nameless individuals as “a Jew”, “a Jewess”, “Jews”, “Jewesses”, “Hebrews”, “Israelites”, “Jew householders”, and “Jew peddlers” who lived in “New-Jerusalem” or “Jew town”; readers presumably would understand the implications of such identification. [26]

Front page news reports in Winnipeg about the activities of local Jews, accentuated the community’s uneasiness:

Detective Leach arrested a young man yesterday afternoon [May 10, 1894], named Fred Morrison, who had been going round among the Jews in the north end with several forged cheques ... He managed to Jew [sic] three ... Hebrew merchants to the extent of about $3.50 each ... [27]

An amusing scene was witnessed ... at ... Locan [sic] and Main streets. A son of Israel was driving a pony along the muddy road and striking a hole ... the beast slipped in and became almost covered with mud. The driver was greatly exercised ... as he was sure the horse was about to sink ... He danced around creating a great noise which attracted spectators. Two policemen .., set to work to rescue the fast disappearing animal, much to the owner’s relief The work of the stalwarts was closely watched by the Jew, and when one ... attempted to raise the pony by the bridle he again became excited and renewing his dances cried ‘don’t break the snap; don’t break the snap.’ The snap was not broken and ... it, with the horse and rig attached, went on down the street. [28]

Occasionally, Jewish-Gentile “incidents” became violent, which reinforced the anxieties of Winnipeg’s Jewish community. [29] One of the most serious occurred April 12, 1895, barely two weeks before Martin raised the “Jew peddlers” issue in the House of Commons. Two rowdy members of the Royal Canadian Dragoons entered a Jewish residence near the corner of Main Street and Dufferin Avenue in the North End. A fight ensued and several Jews were injured, including a Mr. Shragge who was hit over the head with a whip, and a Mr. Saleet who was punched in the head. The following report complete with its anti-Jewish bias, provided a vivid description of what occurred:

... The whole Hebrew colony were [sic] turned loose armed with pitch forks, wheel spokes, hoes and other agricultural implements, all advancing against the soldiers who kept up the fight against big odds. A man passing ... struck one Hebrew with a club, knocking him senseless ... Others who happened to be in the neighborhood thought the affair one-sided and came to take part [against the Jews] ... The enraged Jewish colony of men, women and half-dressed children started in pursuit, hurling unintelligible epithets, and lumps of earth after them ... Some ... [of] the disinterested neighbours ... say that the Jews should have been arrested ... [30]

The information sought by Martin was not presented for almost one year. The matter of “Jew peddlers”, however, remained in the public eye through January, 1895, as The Manitoba Free Press took up Martin’s criticisms: “So far we have had a few immigrants picked up at great cost in Chicago. Calgary is the richer by them but no outburst of gratitude has been heard from that city.” Loftus Fortier of the Department of the Interior replied to The Manitoba Free Press, defending Daly’s and his department’s activities, and a protracted debate, consisting of editorials and correspondence, ensued in the newspaper. [31]

On April 25, 1895, Martin once again moved the same resolution that he had a year earlier, this time referring to, and quoting some of, the Fortier - Manitoba Free Press debate, and also asking for “a statement showing what became of said Jew ped[dlers] and how many of them were committed to jail in Calgary, and for what offenses.” Martin described the Jewish immigrants at Calgary as “a lot of Jew ped[dlers] who were a far from desirable class” and “not settlers whom it is desirable to encourage to come to our North-west.” In reply, Daly apologized for not having tabled the information Martin had sought a year earlier, and promised to do so the following day. Although admitting a mistake in “having been deceived by these Chicago people”, Daly rebutted Martin, and condemned him for trying to score political points on the question of Jewish immigration. Daly offered a more stirring defense of Jews and Jewish immigration than he had a year earlier, contending that it was “a matter of indifference” to Martin how many Jews may have come to Calgary as long as he had an opportunity “to get a fling” at him and that Daly was “the Jew he is after.” [32]

The pugnacious Martin, in turn claimed that Daly had admitted his and his department’s culpability concerning the Jewish immigration to Calgary, that he, Martin, had been correct, and that Daly’s officials “had allowed themselves to be swindled and misled.” Furthermore, Molyneux St. John, the editor-in-chief of The Manitoba Free Press, did not allow the debate to die without a criticism of the Department of the Interior. He commented that the Jewish immigration “was a mistake and had to be admitted”, and “it was admitted on the department’s reply to the Free Press editorials ...” Winnipeg Jewry’s memory of Martin’s insulting comments was reinforced by the publication by The Daily Nor’Wester of a pamphlet entitled Hon. Mr. Daly’s efforts to promote immigration—Aspersions of the Winnipeg ‘Free Press’ and answers from an officer of the Department of the Interior in Ottawa. [33]

Martin’s renewal of the issue of “Jew peddler” immigration occurred very shortly after Alexander Macdonald, a wholesale grocer and the President of the Central Relief Association of Winnipeg, wrote to the Mayor and Council of the City of Winnipeg. The association worked closely with municipal officials in its charitable work, and its executive included the Mayor, the Chairman of the Market, License, and Health Committee, the City Medical and Relief officers, and the License Inspector, who was the organization’s Secretary. Perhaps because of the number of cases involving Jews seeking financial relief, and perhaps influenced by Martin’s remarks in the House and the subsequent newspaper debate, Macdonald urged the municipal government to appeal to its federal counterpart to pass legislation restricting the entrance of pauper immigration, which he termed “a burden on the community”. He claimed that the more other countries shut their doors, the greater would be “the diversion of the current of undesirable immigration” to Canada and that a “large percentage of the cases of poverty” handled by his association was “composed of newcomers from foreign lands, who can never become useful settlers and whose only claim upon us, is that they are here.” Macdonald’s views created considerable trepidation for Winnipeg and other Canadian Jews who were “quite sensitive to the debate about”, and “unanimously opposed” to, immigration restriction, because they were acutely aware of their persecuted and impoverished brethren in Eastern Europe who one day, they knew, might wish to join them in Canada. [34]

Martin’s remarks were also made at the time of the Dreyfus Affair in France, which resulted in a major outbreak of anti-Semitism that spread beyond that country. In Quebec, many French-language and Roman Catholic newspapers condemned Jewry and Jewish immigration to Canada, and some demanded laws discriminating against Jews. In Winnipeg and Western Canada, the local press’ coverage of the Dreyfus case proved, according to Phyllis Senese, that a “habitual, unthinking, vaguely articulated, but real antisemitism [sic] was sinking deep roots into the Canadian west” and “exemplified an Anglo-Canadian ethnocentrism that, for all its seemingly benign character, inflicted untold damage on many immigrants, among them Jews.” For many Winnipeg Jews, events in France must have signified the re-enactment of the terrors from which they had escaped. [35]

In Winnipeg, many Jews had become anxious because of the passage and enforcement of early closing and other municipal by-laws. Given the Victorian stereotype of Jews, and the highly visible presence of Jewish businessmen, fears must have been raised on the part of Jewish pawnbrokers who read a letter to the editor of The Manitoba Free Press from an individual identified only as “Justice”. The writer complained of strict stipulations and exorbitant interest (15 per cent and more), and labeled pawnbrokers as “usury leeches”. On this subject, a news report suggested that not all pawnbrokers were usurers, but noted “the fact ... that pawnbrokers are not restricted by regulations leaves an opening for a good deal of unfair charge ...” [36]

Alarm also was invoked by an editorial in The Tribune which noted the “not altogether baseless” demand by some French-language papers in Quebec to impose discriminatory laws against that province’s Jews. The editor commented that in Winnipeg, Jews were sometimes successful while often Christians failed, and that many Jews acquired wealth “in sharp dealings” and “by ways that are dark”. There was further uneasiness at the suggestion that by sending their children to public schools, Jews would pose a “lurk[ing] danger” to the Gentiles of Manitoba because in a generation or two “Jews may be filling the highest offices in the land. Jewish lawyers, Hebrew hakims and Israelitish M.P.’s may be the rule; Gentiles [will be] the exception ... [in] the most honourable and ... lucrative positions ...” These developments, in concert with Martin’s comments, helped sustain Winnipeg Jews’ state of continuous anxiety in the 1890s and reinforced their tendency to guarantee their communal and individual well-being by turning to political activity as a defense mechanism to avert enmity from the larger society. In doing so, Winnipeg Jewry demonstrated what sociologist Yaacov Glickman pointed out in describing the relationship between anti-Semitism and social cohesion in the Canadian Jewish community: “It is ... plausible to assume ... some functional contributions of external pressures to the corporate awareness of an ethnic collectivity and its capacity for organized actions ... External pressures may...enhance a group’s social solidarity by mobilizing large amounts of the members’ energies and maximizing their loyalties to the group norms which tend, under stress, to become more sharply defined.” [37]

The federal election campaign of 1896 generated enthusiasm and interest in Winnipeg, where the Liberals re-nominated Martin. He claimed that the sole issue in the election was the Manitoba School Question and he protested vociferously what he termed the federal government’s “coercion” of Manitoba through planned remedial legislation. Martin was opposed by the Conservative nominee, Hugh John Macdonald, who had been engaged in the practice of law in Winnipeg from the time of his resignation in 1893 until April, 1896 when he had become federal Minister of the Interior in the government of Sir Charles Tupper. Macdonald largely avoided the School Question, favouring limited redress of Roman Catholic grievances by the provincial government. He also emphasized Tupper’s promises to construct a Hudson Bay Railway and locks at St. Andrew’s Rapids, supported an alien labour law, and claimed that re-election of the Conservative government would mean prosperity for Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Western Canada. Tupper reiterated the economic arguments in Winnipeg when he officially kicked off the Conservative campaign before a crowd of thousands of people. [38]

Both the Liberal and Conservative parties recognized the political significance of the Jewish community. Like Icelandic-Manitobans and German-Manitobans, in Winnipeg Jews held political meetings and received special appeals from political parties. [39] Martin was keenly aware that he had severely damaged his political support among Winnipeg Jews by his remarks in 1894-95. Nevertheless, at a meeting of Jewish electors called on his behalf at his committee rooms, Martin denied that he was anti-Semitic, stating that the Conservatives and the pro-Macdonald Manitoba Free Press had willfully misrepresented him, basing their conclusions not on his comments, but on those of Dominion Government immigration agents in the North-West Territories. He said he had not “condemn[ed] the government for bringing out those people because they were Jews but because they were not farmers” and “defied his opponents to show anything he had said against the Jews as a nationality.” Martin contended that Canada needed farmers, and that non-farmers who wanted to immigrate to Canada should pay their own way. He also criticized Macdonald’s promise to establish a school of agriculture, and condemned the federal government for making a financial grant to an immigration association, while refusing to pay the City of Winnipeg an outstanding amount for the maintenance of a smallpox quarantine centre. [40]

Unfortunately for Martin, many Jews arrived after his speech was well underway. H. Kerchersky, a grocer, claimed that Jewish electors had been misled by Joseph Wolf and Dr. John Pennefather, Conservative Party activists, who told them that the election meeting was at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, and who allegedly bought kegs of beer for Jewish voters assembled there to consume. [41]

Political cartoon from The Daily Nor’Wester, June 23, 1896.
Source: Legislative Library of Manitoba

The accuracy of the report of Martin’s meeting in the partisan Liberal The Tribune was challenged by the staunchly Conservative The Daily Nor’Wester which claimed that The Tribune’s “garbled report of the supposed meeting of ... Hebrew electors ... had aroused the ire of the Jews” and that as “one of the most prominent of the Jews said, The Tribune is fighting ... a lost cause. It cannot undo for ... Martin what he ... had done in Ottawa ...” [42]

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the gatherings at the Shaarey Zedek and at Martin’s committee rooms, more Jews did not attend Martin’s meeting because they were at a Jewish assembly called in Macdonald’s interests in the Conservative committee rooms. The audience, consisting of Jewish and German Winnipeggers, was estimated to be “at least” 300, and created standing room only. Louis Wertheim, an unsuccessful candidate for mayor of Winnipeg in 1895, described as “one of Winnipeg’s foremost Hebrew citizens”, did not mention his support of Martin in 1893, opening the meeting by stating that he was and always had been “a true Conservative” and that he was “a strong supporter” of Macdonald and the “old policy”, which he urged his listeners to support. [43] Featured speaker Joseph Wolf castigated Martin, contending that in addition to placing Manitobans in the hands of the Canadian Pacific and Northern Pacific railway monopolies when he was a member of the Greenway government, that for “personal and party gains” Martin had “stigmatized the class of immigrants being brought to this country and grossly insulted ... the Jewish people” who were “struggling to make homes in the Northwest”. Reading from a speech by Queen Victoria in 1858 delineating religious liberty, Wolf claimed that her sentiments were shared by Tupper, Macdonald, and the Conservative Party, and that all religions in Canada received justice under Conservative administrations. Wolf also asserted that Macdonald, as Minister of the Interior, would have the influence to obtain the funding for capital projects needed in Western Canada. [44]

Jews participated in other political meetings during the 1896 campaign. Almost 100 electors were present when the Hebrew Independent Political Club met in Albert Hall on June 8, 1896, and was addressed by Benjamin Zimmerman, a jobber, clothier Simon Ripstein, Philip Brown, and Winnipeg alderman Elisha F. Hutchings, owner of a wholesale saddlery and harness company. About 150 attended a meeting on June 9 of the Independent Association of Hebrews, Germans and “Polanders” where speakers included Wertheim, Brown, Wolf, Colin Campbell, and two ex-mayors of Winnipeg, Thomas Gilroy and Thomas Taylor. At a meeting of Macdonald’s supporters on June 12, former Winnipeg alderman Sampson Walker delivered a rousing speeds, claiming that the “sons of Abraham” had provided the world with “eminent men and foremost statesmen”, which was “a grand augury for good in this election [because] they were for the Conservatives.” Another assembly of more than 100 Jewish electors was held toward the end of the campaign in a school room at the corner of Henry and Lily streets. Grocer Hiram Weidman acted as chairman, and, with Simon Ripstein, urged the audience to vote for Macdonald. [45]

The heated, vitriolic contest of 1896 was marked on both sides by the formation of ward committees, thorough organization, and enthusiastic workers, and was characterized by charges of fraud and corruption. Ultimately, the result was overturned in the courts. On election day Macdonald was elected, victorious at 14 of 24 polling sub-divisions. He received 2,961 votes to 2,835 for Martin, who, according to John Dafoe, had “fought a hard and almost winning fight ... against a most formidable opponent” who was “a great vote-getter in his own right, with the added strength of an illustrious name and a cabinet position.” Although the daily newspapers indicated the voting preferences of workers in the Canadian Pacific Railway shops and of “the Icelandic vote”, none referred to the preferences of the Jewish electorate. Martin himself noted only that he “got over 600 more votes than [he] had in ‘93 and was still defeated”. He also maintained that because of the Conservatives’ “very large” expenditures of money and Canadian Pacific Railway President William Cornelius Van Home’s order to company employees to support the Conservatives, the Liberal canvassers’ “big majorities” had become “small ones”, “especially ... among the Icelanders” and railway workmen. [46]

Martin was not successful in remedying the political damage he had created with the Jewish community by his remarks in 1894-95. Philip Brown had told Martin and an audience of Jewish and other electors that the “Jewish people were a stubborn people” and “they would not decide without the facts before them ...” For many Jews including Brown, however, Martin’s comments about “Jew peddlers” revealed his true attitude, and they refused to accept his explanations. Indeed, after many years as a devoted Liberal, Brown switched his allegiance to Macdonald and the Conservatives in 1896. Although no explanation was made for his change of political loyalty, it probably was the result of his outrage at Martin’s remarks. Brown took a very active part in Macdonald’s campaign, speaking at several meetings of Jewish voters, including the Hebrew Independent Club. It is quite probable that because of Brown’s change of loyalty, Martin and/or his chief supporters urged the Greenway government to politically punish Brown by rescinding his appointment as a Justice of the Peace. Brown’s appointment, along with Joseph Wolf’s appointments as Justice of the Peace and Police Magistrate in Winnipeg, were in fact rescinded by the government during the campaign. Furthermore, the perception of Martin as an anti-Semite was reinforced by private remarks and printed statements by Conservative canvassers among Jews in Ward 5. This view could explain why no Jews signed Martin’s nomination papers, and why few Jews were active on Martin’s behalf. [47]

The fact that successful businessmen and prominent community members such as Simon Ripstein, Hyman Miller, and particularly Philip Brown and Louis Wertheim, actively supported Macdonald was significant for the Jewish electorate. Miller and Wertheim were among the 2,085 voters who signed Macdonald’s nomination papers. The switch of political allegiance by Brown was especially noteworthy. Macdonald must have benefitted because of the new-found adherence of Brown, probably the most influential person in the Jewish community. [48]

In other circumstances, some occurrences during the campaign very probably would have weakened Conservative support among Jewish electors. These included the Shaarey Zedek “beer garden” incident, allegations that Elisha Hutchings and John Pennefather were anti-Semitic, and Macdonald’s failure to specifically address Jewish electors at a Jewish meeting, probably because he was on a Western Canadian tour on behalf of other Conservative candidates. However, these developments appear not to have made a dent in Macdonald’s support among Jewish voters. Nor were Martin’s efforts to redeem himself, and Liberal attributes in 1896, helpful to the Liberal candidate. Martin had won one of very few byelections for the Liberals in the period 1891-95; he was the only Liberal Member of Parliament from Manitoba and the North-West Territories, and was the unofficial “Western Canadian lieutenant” in Parliament to Wilfrid Laurier. [49]

Interior of the old Rosh Pina Synagogue, Winnipeg, no date.
Source: Archives of Manitoba

Indeed, Martin and his supporters made matters worse with Winnipeg Jews during the campaign, reinforcing the impression that they were rowdies. In one incident a Martin worker, Ed McKeown, attacked Benjamin Shragge, a Jewish “junk” dealer after a dispute over who had purchased the beer for the “beer garden”. McKeown was found guilty of assault and fined $10. In another incident, Elias Tapper, a clothing merchant, protested vociferously Martin’s and his followers’ “invasion” of, and “obstruction” and “trickery” at, a meeting called on behalf of Macdonald by the Independent Association of Hebrews, Germans, and Polanders”. [50]

A few Winnipeg Jews claimed that Jewish voters were divided or undecided in their electoral choice. If they wanted to demonstrate to the larger society that there was no “Jewish vote”, they were wrong. An accurate indicator of the election result in Winnipeg was the “hearty” endorsement by the Hebrew Independent Political Club of the “policy of the Dominion Government” and of Macdonald as “the best possible representative”, and the reports that Benjamin Shragge had joined Macdonald’s side as other Jews “who were wanted, had done recently ...” At a meeting of Jewish electors John Levin was forced to speak only briefly on behalf of Martin because “the audience was not in sympathy with his political views ...” [51]

On election day, June 23, an overwhelming majority of Winnipeg Jews cast their ballots for Macdonald, thereby continuing a tradition of support for the Conservative Party. The voting behaviour of Winnipeg Jews was unlike that of their co-religionists in Montreal who, in the 1896 federal election, transferred their allegiance to the Liberals because “Liberal economic and immigration policies were more congenial to them and because of a growing conviction that the Conservatives ... federally were allied with anti-semites. [sic].” In Winnipeg, the opposite occurred. Macdonald was victorious in six of eight sub-divisions in the area closest to the centre of the Jewish community in Ward 5. At three of the sub-divisions, Macdonald outpolled Martin by approximately 120 votes. This number was significant because Macdonald’s overall margin of victory was only 126, and although it cannot be proven conclusively, Martin may have been re-elected had he not offended Winnipeg Jews and had he obtained their support in 1896. [52]

Joseph Martin’s condescending and insulting remarks in the House of Commons in 1894-95 reinforced anxieties among Winnipeg Jews, hastening their process of political acculturation and strengthening their resolve that involvement in the political process—as voters, party members, supporters, and candidates—was the most effective means of guaranteeing their individual and communal well-being. Winnipeg Jewry turned to politics as a defense mechanism in order to gain recognition and acceptance from the majority society. To some degree this was achieved because by 1896, as one contemporary later noted, “both the Conservative and Liberal parties realized that they must secure the Jewish vote to win for their respective candidates.” [53]


Henry Trachtenberg is a historian with the Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship. This article is the product of independent research and is a revised version of a paper presented at the Northern Great Plains History Conference at Brandon in September, 1995. The author is grateful to the Department for making it possible for him to deliver the paper at the Brandon conference. For their helpful comments and suggestions, he thanks: Randy Rostecki, Winnipeg historical consultant; Samuel Trachtenberg, Winnipeg historical researcher, as well as Manitoba History co-editors Robert Coutts and Morris Mott. Thanks to Michael Trachtenberg for typing this paper.

1. Congregation Shaarey Zedek (Winnipeg), Minute Book 1889-1912, pp. 180,182; The Winnipeg Daily Tribune (hereafter WTr), 5 June 1896; Henry Trachtenberg, “‘The Old Clo’ Move’: Anti-Semitism, Politics, and the Jews of Winnipeg, 1882-1921” (PhD thesis, York University, 1984).

2. Gerald Friesen and Royden Loewen, “Romantics, Pluralists, Postmodernists: Writing Ethnic History in Prairie Canada”, in Gerald Friesen, River Road; Essays on Manitoba and Prairie History (Winnipeg: The University of Manitoba Press, 1996), p.183; H. J. Hanham, “Canadian History in the 1970s”, Canadian Historical Review, vol. LVIII, no.1, March, 1977, pp.4-5; Marlene Shore, “ ‘Remember the Future’: The Canadian Historical Review and the Discipline of History, 1920-95”, The Canadian Historical Review, vol. 76, no. 3, September, 1995, pp. 440-41, 460-63; W. L. Morton, “The Bias of Prairie Politics”, Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, series III, vol. XLIX, section two, June, 1955, p. 57; Michael Bliss, “Privatizing the Mind: The Sundering of Canadian History, the Sundering of Canada”, Journal of Canadian Studies, vol. 26, no. 4, Winter, 1991-92, pp.5-17; Gregory Kealey, “Class in English-Canadian Historical Writing”, and Linda Kealey, Ruth Pierson, Joan Sansgter, Veronica Strong-Boag, “Teaching Canadian History in the 1990s: Whose ‘National’ History Are We Lamenting?”, Journal of Canadian Studies, vol. 27, no. 2, Summer, 1992, pp. 123-29, 129-35; Franca Iacovetta, The Writing of English Canadian Immigrant History, Canada’s Ethnic Groups Series, Booklet no. 22 (Ottawa: The Canadian Historical Association, 1997), p. 2; Christopher Moore, “Writers of History: The Problem of the Hyphen”, The Beaver: Exploring Canada’s History, April/May, 1995, vol. 75:2, pp. 53-55.

3. Howard Palmer, Ethnicity and Politics in Canada since Confederation, Canada’s Ethnic Groups Series, Booklet no. 17 (Ottawa: The Canadian Historical Association, 1991), pp. 4, 6; Jean Burnet with Howard Palmer, “Coming Canadians”: An Introduction to a History of Canada’s Peoples (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd. in association with the Multiculturalism Program, Dept. of the Secretary of State and the Canadian Government Publishing Centre, Supply and Services, Canada, 1988), p. 155; Henry Trachtenberg, “Peddling, Politics, and Winnipeg’s Jews, 1891-95: The Political Acculturation of an Urban Immigrant Community”, Histoire sociale / Social History, vol. XXIX, no. 57, mai-May, 1996, pp. 159-186; Gerald Friesen, The Canadian Prairies: A History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984), p. 195; P. B. Waite, The Man from Halifax: Sir John Thompson, Prime Minister (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985), p. 406.

4. Arthur Chiel, The Jews in Manitoba: A Social History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1961), pp. 30-60, 68-81, 92-96, 108-112, 129-132; Abraham Arnold, “The Contribution of the Jews to the Opening and Development of the West”, Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba Transactions 1968-69, series 3, no. 25, May, 1970, pp. 26-27, and “The Earliest Jews in Winnipeg 1874-1882”, The Beaver: Magazine of the North, outfit 305, no 2, Autumn, 1974, pp. 4-11; Trachtenberg, “‘The Old Clo’ Move’ “, pp. 13-291; Donald Kerr, Wholesale Trade on the Canadian Plains in the Late Nineteenth Century: Winnipeg and its Competition , in Howard Palmer, ed., The Settlement of the West (Calgary: Comprint Pub. Co., University of Calgary, 1977), pp. 130-152; Gerald Friesen, “Imports and Exports in the Manitoba Economy, 1870-1890”, Manitoba History, no. 16, Autumn, 1988, pp. 31-41; Eugen Weber, Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France 1870-1914 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1976), p. xiii.

5. Donald Akenson, “The Historiography of English-Speaking Canada and the Concept of Diaspora: A Sceptical Appreciation”, The Canadian Historical Review, vol. 76, no. 3, September, 1995, pp. 378-79; Manitoba Free Press (hereafter MFP), March 23, July 25, 1892; Canada, Dept. of Agriculture and Statistics, Census of Canada 1890-91, vol. I (Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1893), pp. 14, 231; Louis Rosenberg, A Population Study of the Winnipeg Jewish Community, Canadian Jewish Population Studies Series (Montreal: Bureau of Social and Economic Research, Canadian Jewish Congress, 1946), pp. 10-12, 14, 23.

6. Stephen Speisman, The Jews of Toronto: A History to 1937 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1979), p. 246; Robert Harney and Harold Troper, Immigrants: A Portrait of the Urban Experience, 1890-1930 (Toronto: Van Nostrand Reinhold Ltd., 1975), p. 150; Harry Gutkin, Journey into our Heritage: The Story of the Jewish People in the Canadian West (Toronto: Lester and Orpen Dennys Ltd., 1980), pp. 41-50, 189; Irving Abella, A Coat of Many Colours: Two Centuries of Jewish Life in Canada (Toronto: Lester and Orpen Dennys Ltd., 1990), pp. 76-83; Gerald Tulchinsky, Taking Root: The Origins of the Canadian Jewish Community (Toronto: Lester Publishing Ltd., 1992), pp. 115-16, 153; Chiel, The Jews in Manitoba, pp. 29-42, 59-60; F. H. Schofield, The Story of Manitoba, vol. I (Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1913), p. 384; Irving Howe, World of our Fathers: The Journey of the East European Jews to America and the Life they Found and Made (New York, London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976), pp. 360, 366; Moses Rischin, The Promised City: New York’s Jews 1870-1914, Harper Torchbook ed. (New York: Harper and Row, Pubs., Inc., 1970), p. 221.

7. Daniel Elazar, “American Political Theory and the Political Notions of American Jews: Convergences and Contradictions”, The Jewish Journal of Sociology, vol. VIII, no.1, June, 1967, p. 13.

8. Trachtenberg, “‘The Old Clo’ Move’ “, pp. 155-61, 208-20.

9. N.A.C., Sir Wilfrid Laurier Papers, MG26 G, Series A Correspondence, microfilm reel C-739, Isaac Campbell to Honourable Wilfrid Laurier, November 8, 1893, pp. 2664-65; MFP, 24-26 October, 2, 8,14, 15, 17, 18 November 1893; Henry Guest, “Reluctant Politician: A Biography of Sir Hugh John Macdonald” (M.A. thesis, University of Manitoba, 1973), pp. 99-102; Keith Wilson, Hugh John Macdonald, Manitobans in Profile Series (Winnipeg: Peguis Pubs. Ltd., 1980), p. 31; Paul Crunican, Priests and Politicians: Manitoba Schools and the Election of 1896 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974), p. 39; Peter Brock, Fighting Joe Martin, Founder of the Liberal Party in the West: A Blow-by-Blow Account (Toronto, Vancouver: The National Press, 1981), pp. 168-69; J. S. Willison, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberal Party: A Political History, vol. 11 (Toronto: George N. Morang and Co. Ltd., 1903), pp. 201-03; Henry Morgan, ed., The Canadian Men and Women of the Time: A Handbook of Canadian Biography of Living Characters, second ed. (Toronto: William Briggs, 1912), p. 190; Manitoba Library Association, comp., Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba: A Dictionary of Manitoba Biography from the earliest time to 1920 (Winnipeg: Peguis Pubs., 1971), p. 42; Henderson Directory Co., comp., Henderson’s Manitoba and Northwest Territories Gazetteer and Directory for 1893 (Winnipeg: Henderson Directory Co., 1893), p. 619.

10. N.A.C., Sir Wilfrid Laurier Papers, MG26 G, Series A Correspondence, reel C-739, Isaac Campbell to Laurier (Private), November 1, 1893, pp. 2652-55, Molyneux St. John, editor, Manitoba Free Press, to Laurier (Confidential), October 30, 1893, pp. 2641-43, Campbell to Laurier, November 8, 1893, pp. 2664-65; Brock, Fighting Joe Martin, pp. 129-51, 160,169; John W. Dafoe, Clifford Sifton in Relation to his Times (Toronto: The Macmillan Co. of Canada Ltd., 1931), pp. 19-20, 26-28, 30, 36-41, 102; Crunican, Priests and Politicians, pp. 7-11, 24-25, 39; Lovell Clark, ed., The Manitoba School Question: Majority Rule or Minority Rights? (Toronto: Copp Clark Pub. Co., 1968), pp. 3-4, 32; D. J. Hall, Clifford Sifton: The Young Napoleon 1861-1900 (Vancouver, London: University of British Columbia Press, 1981), pp. 38-39, 44-45, 50-55, 117-18; W. L. Morton, Manitoba: A History, second ed. reprinted (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979), pp. 211, 230-38, 242-51; James Jackson, The Centennial History of Manitoba (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1970), pp. 13-36, 139-49, 163-86; W. Stewart Wallace, rev. by W. A. McKay, The Macmillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography, fourth ed., (Toronto: The Macmillan Co. of Canada Ltd., 1978), p. 562; Henderson Directory Co., comp., Henderson’s ... for 1893, pp. 443, 447, 724; MFP, October 26, November 2, 9, 10, 23, 1893; WTr, November 10, 24, 1893; The Morning Call, July 7, 9, 10, 1888; The Winnipeg Sun, July 12, 1888.

11. Friesen, “Imports and Exports in the Manitoba Economy, 1870-1890”, p. 39; N.A.C., Sir Wilfrid Laurier Papers, MG26 G, Series A Correspondence, reel C-739, Clifford Sifton to Laurier (Personal), October 14,1893, pp. 2634-35; Morton, Manitoba: A History, pp. 234-39; Hall, Clifford Sifton, pp. 38-39, 50, 155; Jackson, The Centennial History of Manitoba, pp. 131-33; Willison, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberal Party, pp. 181-85; Oscar Douglas Skelton, Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, vol. I (Toronto: S. B. Gundy, Oxford University Press, 1921), p. 458; Joseph Schull, Laurier: The First Canadian (Toronto: The Macmillan Co. of Canada Ltd., 1965), pp. 268-70; Peter Waite, Canada 1874-1896: Arduous Destiny (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1971), pp. 239-40; Brock, Fighting Joe Martin, p. 167; WTr, 10, 21, 23, 24 November 1893; MFP, 9, 13, 16, 17, 24 November 1893.

12. WTr, 25 April 1895.

13. James Henderson, comp., Henderson’s North-Western Ontario,Manitoba and Northwest Directory and Gazetteer for 1888 (Winnipeg: Henderson’s Directory Co., Ltd., 1888), p. 752; Henderson’s ... for 1893, p. 802; The Jewish Chronicle (London), 30 May, 6 June, 11 July 1884; The Daily Manitoban, 23 September 1885, 6 January 1886; Saskatchewan Herald, 6 September 1884; Manitoba Liberal, 15 May 1884; Moosomin Courier, 20 May 1886; WTr, 13, 21 November 1893; MFP, 13 November 1893.

14. WTr, 13, 15, 21 November 1893; MFP, 13 November 1893; Manitoba Library Association, comp., Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, pp. 31-32; Henderson Directory Co., comp., Henderson’s ... for 1893, p. 613.

15. MFP, 17 December 1890, 16, 17, 23, 26, 27 February, 6 March 1891, 9 April 1892, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 November 1893; WTr, 20 March 1890, 20 February 1891, 15, 21 November 1893; The Winnipeg Sun, 30, 31 December 1881; Winnipeg Daily Times, 10 March 1884; James Steen and W. D. Boyce, comps., Winnipeg, Manitoba and her Industries (Chicago, Winnipeg: Steen and Boyce, 1882), pp. 34-35; George Ham, Reminiscences of a Raconteur between the 40s and 20s (Toronto: The Musson Book Co. Ltd., Pubs., 1921), pp. 51, 63; Pierre Berton, The Last Spike: The Great Railway 1881-1885 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, Ltd., 1971), pp. 59-60; Chiel, The Jews in Manitoba, p. 21; Manitoba Library Association, comp., Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, p. 257; The Jewish Post, 23 April 1929, 22 May 1952; Henderson Directory Co., Henderson’s ... for 1893, p. 808; N.A.C., Sir John S.D. Thompson Papers, MG26 D, Political Correspondence Received, vol. 187, reel 30, Joseph Wolf to Right Honourable John Thompson, 7 October 1893, p. 23381.

16. WTr, 21, 22, 24 November 1893; MFP, 22 November 1893; Henderson Directory Co., comp., Henderson’s ... for 1893, pp. 630, 701, 760, 772, 801, 804.

17. WTr, 14, 24 November 1893; MFP, 13, 25 November 1893.

18. The Virden Chronicle and County of Dennis Advertiser, 23 Novemebr 1893; W. Kristjanson, The Icelandic People in Manitoba: A Manitoba Saga (Winnipeg: The Wallingford Press, 1965), pp. 289-91; WTr, 15, 17, 22, 23, 24 November 1893; MFP, 18, 20, 23 November 1893.

19. N.A.C., Sir Wilfrid Laurier Papers, MG26 G, Series A Correspondence, reel C-739, Joseph Martin to Laurier, November 25, 1893, p. 2693, 6 December 1893, p. 2696; WTr, 10, 16, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24 November 1893, 8 May 1894; MFP, 1, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25 November 1893; Crunican, Priests and Politicians, pp. 24-25, 39, 50; Hall, Clifford Sifton, p. 74; Rosenberg, A Population Study of the Winnipeg Jewish Community, p. 23. Under pressure from Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, and the Canadian Pacific Railway whose officials controlled the newspaper, the Manitoba Free Press supported Macdonald’s government in the election of 1891. Hall, Clifford Sifton, p. 50.

20. WTr, 22, 24 November 1893; MFP, 22 November, 12 December 1893; The Virden Chronicle and County of Dennis Advertiser, 23 November 1893. Part of the Chronicle editorial was reprinted in the Manitoba Free Press, 25 November 1893.

21. WTr, 23 November 1893.

22. WTr, 24 November 1893; MFP, 12 December 1893, 12 January 1894; Henderson Directory Co., comp., Henderson’s ... for 1893, p. 729.

23. Alan Artibise, Winnipeg: A Social History of Urban Growth 1874-1914 (Montreal, London: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1975), pp. 83-84; Brock, Fighting Joe Martin, pp. 2, 146-49; J. A. Gemmill, ed., The Canadian Parliamentary Companion 1891, p. 194; Canada, Official Report of the Debates of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada 1894, vol. XXXVI (Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1894), pp. 2414-422; MFP, 8 May 1894; WTr, 8 May 1894; The Daily Nor’Wester (hereafter DNW), May 7, 1894; Howard Palmer, “Politics, Religion and Antisemitism in Alberta, 1880-1950”, in Alan Davies, ed., Antisemitism in Canada: History and Interpretation (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1992), p. 168; Chiel, The Jews in Manitoba, pp. 169-70; Abraham Arnold and William Kurelek, Jewish Life in Canada (Edmonton: Hurtig Pubs., 1976), p. 51.

24. Canada, Official Report of the Debates of the House of Commons... 1894, p. 2421; DNW, May 7, 1894.

25. Hall, Clifford Sifton, pp. 38, 75; Trachtenberg, “Peddling, Politics, and Winnipeg’s Jews, 1891-95”, pp. 168-81; Abraham Sachar, A History of the Jews, fifth ed. rev. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1966), pp. 318-19, 342-46; Moshe Spiegel, trans., Simon Dubnov, History of the Jews: From the Congress of Vienna to the Emergence of Hitler, vol. V (New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1973), pp. 457-65, 476-511, 558-77, 600-05; Michael Marrus, The Politics of Assimilation: A Study of the French Jewish Community at the Time of the Dreyfus Affair (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), pp. 49-50, 99, 122-62; Fritz Stern, Gold and Iron: Bismarck, Bleichroder, and the Building of the German Empire (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977), pp. 458-541; Leonard Dinnerstein, Uneasy at Home: Antisemitism and the American Jewish Experience (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), pp. 33-34, 73-74, 90-91, and Antisemitism in America (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), pp. 42-57; Harold Troper, “Jews and Canadian Immigration Policy, 1900-1950”, in Moses Rischin, ed., The Jews of North America, (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987) pp. 44-50.

26. Akenson, “The Historiography of English-Speaking Canada and the Concept of Diaspora”, p. 409; Peter Newman, Canada-1892: Portrait of a Promised Land (Toronto: Penguin Books Canada Ltd. and McClelland and Stewart Inc., 1992), p. 25; DNW, 1, 2, 6 March, 30 April, 15 May, 10, 14, 22 August 1894, 27 February, 10, 20, 21, 24, 28 March 1896; MFP, 4 January, 24 March, 4, 25 July, 4, 5 August 1892, 3 March, 23, 30 April, 2, 11, 15 August 1894, 24 January, 3 March, 27 September, 17, 21 October 1895, 2 May 1896; WTr, 11 May, 14, 18, 21 August 1894, 31 January, 13 April, 27 September 1895.

27. WTr, 11 May 1894; also DNW, 1, 2, 6 March, 10, 14, 22 August 1894, 27 February, 1, 2 March, 13, 15 April, 31 October 1895; WTr, 11 May, 14, 18, 21 August 1894, 13 April 1895; MFP, 3 March, 11, 15 August 1894.

28. DNW, 11 May 1894.

29. Ibid, 5 June, 6 July 1894; MFP, 9 September 1894; WTr, 23 April 1895, 17 March, 5 June 1896.

30. DNW, 13 April 1895; WTr, 13 April 1895. The reference to Shragge may have been to Jacob J. Shragge, to Saleet, Louis, or possibly his father Leon Sallet, peddlers: Henderson Directory Co, Henderson’s ... for 1893, p. 772. Linda Mack Schloff, “Overcoming Geography: Jewish Religious Life in Four Market Towns”, Minnesota History, vol. 51, no. 1, Spring, 1988, pp. 2-4, 8

31. MFP, 5, 24, 29 December 1894, 4 January 1895.

32. Canada, Official Report of the Debates of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada 1895, vol. XXXIX (Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1895), pp. 241, 244, 248-51, 254-55.

34. Provincial Archives of Manitoba, Alexander Poison Papers, MG14 B38, The First Annual Report of the Central Relief Association of Winnipeg, and Constitution of the Central Relief Association of Winnipeg; City of Winnipeg Archives and Public Records Control (hereafter C.W.A.P.R.C.), Market, License and Health Committee Minute Book 6, pp. 6, 152, 157, 162, 172, 186, 208, 219, and Council Communications 1895, no. 2913; MFP, 2 August 1894, 19 February 1895; Michael Brown, Jew or Juif? Jews, French Canadians, and Anglo Canadians 1759-1914 (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1987), p. 237; Henderson Directory Co., comp., Henderson’s Manitoba and Northwest Territories Gazetteer and Directory for 1895 (Winnipeg)

35. Ralph Novek, trans., B.G. Sack, History of the Jews in Canada (Montreal: Harvest House, 1965), pp. 235-36, 243; WTr, 25 April 1895; Spiegel, trans., Dubnov, History of the Jews, p. 664; Egal Feldman, The Dreyfus Affair and the American Conscience, 1895-1906 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1981), pp. 97-99, 101-02, 110-11; Dinnerstein, Antisemitism in America, p. 47; Brown, Jew of Juif?, pp. 17-18, 129-30, 133-39; Michael Brown, “From Stereotype to Scapegoat: Anti-Jewish Sentiment in French Canada from Confederation to World War I”, and Phyllis Senese, “Antisemitic Dreyfusards: The Confused Western Canadian Press”, in Alan Davies, ed., Antisemitism in Canada: History and Interpretation, pp. 44-45, 94.

36. MFP, 26 April 1895; DNW, 26 April 1895.

37. WTr, April 25, 1895; David Rome, On Jules Helbronner, Canadian Jewish Archives, n.s., no. 11 (Montreal: National Archives, Canadian Jewish Congress, 1978); Yaacov Glickman, “Anti-Semitism and Jewish Social Cohesion in Canada”, in Rita Bienvenue and Jay Goldstein, eds., Ethnicity and Ethnic Relations in Canada: A Book of Readings, second ed. (Toronto: Butterworth and Co. (Canada) Ltd., 1985), pp. 263, 280.

38. MFP, 17 June 1896; WTr, 16 June 1896; DNW, 16 June 1896; Guest, “Reluctant Politician”, pp. 171-91; J. A. Gemmill, ed., The Canadian Parliamentary Companion 1897 (Ottawa: J. Durie and Son, 1897), pp. 157-58; Ellen Cooke, “The Federal Election of 1896 in Manitoba” (MA thesis, University of Manitoba, 1943), pp. 178, 187, 198; Wilson, Hugh John Macdonald, p. 34; J. M. Beck, “June 23, 1896, Eighth General Election: ‘Choose the Bishops or Barabbas Laurier”‘, in Beck, comp., Pendulum of Power: Canada’s Federal Elections (Scarborough: Prentice-Hall of Canada Ltd., 1968), pp. 77-79; Crunican, Priests and Politicians, pp. 204-05, 237-39, 247-49, 293-94, 313; Hall, Clifford Sifton, p. 111; E. M. Saunders, ed., The Life and Letters of the Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Tupper, vol. II (London: Cassell and Co. Ltd., 1916), p. 202; Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper, Supplement to The Life and Letters of the Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Tupper (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1926), pp. 136-37.

39. WTr, 5 June 1896; MFP, 4, 5 June 1896; DNW, 5, 6 June 1896; Arthur Grenke, “The Formation and Early Development of an Urban Ethnic Community: A Case Study of the Germans in Winnipeg, 1872-1919” (PhD thesis, University of Manitoba, 1975), p. 309.

40. MFP, 5 June 1896; WTr, 5 June 1896; Henderson Directory Co., comp., Henderson’s ... for 1896, pp. 703, 802; Crunican, Priests and Politicians, p. 294.

41. MFP, 5 June 1896; DNW, 6 June 1896; Henderson Directory Co., comp., Henderson’s ... for 1896, pp. 709, 780, 786, 830, 883; Gutkin, Journey into our Heritage, p. 45. “Kerchersky” may have been “Krechevsky”, a dealer in fruits, cigars, and tobacco whose business was on the east side of Main Street near the Canadian Pacific Railway depot. DNW, August 11, 1896.

42. Crunican, Priests and Politicians, pp. 294, 314; DNW, 6 June 1896.

43. DNW, 5 June 1896.

44. Ibid.

45. Ibid., 9, 10, 13, 22 June 1896; MFP, 13, 22 June 1896; WTr, 13, 22 June 1896; Henderson Directory Co., comp., Henderson’s ... for 1896, pp. 690, 709, 775, 787, 840, 877, 886. Albert Hall was located at 194 Market Avenue.

46. N.A.C., Sir Wilfrid Laurier Papers, MG26 G, Series A Correspondence, reel C-740, Martin to Laurier, 25 June 1896, p. 4662, 26 June 1896, pp. 4717-18, and reel C-741, 2 July 1896, pp. 5198-5200; Gemmill, ed., The Canadian Parliamentary Companion 1897, p. 203; MFP, 20, 24, 25 June 1896; DNW, 6, 11, 12, 24 June 1896; WTr, 22, 23, 24, 25 June 1896; Dafoe, Clifford Sifton in Relation to his Times, p. 102; Crunican, Priests and Politicians, pp. 204-05.

47. WTr, 5, 25 June 1896; MFP, 17 June 1896; DNW, 6, 10, 20 June 1896; Manitoba, The Manitoba Gazette, 20 June, 1 August 1896.

48. MFP, 17 June 1896; WTr, 16 June 1896.

49. N.A.C., Sir Wilfrid Laurier Papers, MG26 G, Series A Correspondence, reel C-739, Martin to Laurier, 6 December 1893, p. 2696, 24 January 1894, pp. 2817-18, 22 February 1894, pp. 2896-97, 2 December 1894, pp. 3399-3402; WTr, 5, 22, 23, 24, 25 June 1896; MFP, 20, 24 June 1896; DNW, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 20, 22 June 1896; Crunican, Priests and Politicians, pp. 39, 204-05, 247-48, 293-94; Brock, Fighting Joe Martin, pp. 169-79; Schull, Laurier, pp. 271-72, 284-85, 287-88; Hall, Clifford Sifton, pp. 74-75, 110; John Pennefather, Thirteen Years on the Prairies: From Winnipeg to Cold Lake, Fifteen Hundred Miles (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, and Co. Ltd., 1892), pp. 82-83; John T. Saywell, “The 1890s”, in J. M. S. Careless and R. Craig Brown, eds., The Canadians 1867-1967, (Toronto: The Macmillan Co. of Canada Ltd., 1967) p. 119; Manitoba, The Manitoba Gazette, June 20, August 1,1896; Hall, Clifford Sifton, pp. 75, 110-11, 113, 115, 118-19; Artibise, Winnipeg: A Social History of Urban Growth 1874-1914, pp. 83-84.

50. DNW, 10, 11, 13, 15, 20 June 1896; Henderson Directory Co., comp., Henderson’s ... for 1896, p. 864.

51. MFP, 22, 24 June 1896; The Globe, June 16, 1896; WTr, 15, 20, 22 June 1896; DNW, 10, 22 June 1896; Henderson Directory Co., Henderson’s ... for 1896, pp. 739-743; Moses Finkelstein, “Personal Reminiscences of an Early Jewish Settler in Western Canada”, The Reform Advocate (Chicago), The “Jews of Winnipeg” Edition, 1914, p. 5.

52. MFP, 24 June 1896; Gemmill, ed., The Canadian Parliamentary Companion 1897, p. 203; Brown, Jew or Juif?, p. 200.

53. Finkelstein, “Personal Reminiscences of an Early Jewish Settler in Western Canada”, p. 5.

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