M998.48.175 | Yet another Montreal bus strike, 1984

Yet another Montreal bus strike, 1984
Aislin (alias Terry Mosher)
About 1990, 20th century
Ink on paper - Photolithography
36.5 x 28.9 cm
Gift of Mr. Terry Mosher
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cartoon (19139) , Print (10661)
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Keys to History

"Cartoons can serve as a quick read of the social situation and attitudes in a given era. Montreal in the 1970s and 1980s was a hotbed for the labour movement and union activity. Strikes were commonplace, with the participants often displaying a cavalier attitude towards the affected public. No strikes proved more inconvenient to Montrealers than the seemingly annual transit strikes. Many Montrealers had to skidoo or snowshoe to work during the strike in 1978. So when yet another transit strike was announced in 1984, I drew this cartoon of a very happy bus driver who had just changed the destination on the display panel of his bus."

Terry Mosher (alias Aislin)

  • What

    In 1984, bus and métro drivers in Montreal went out on strike, and stayed out for thirty days. Aislin here suggests that during rush hour bus drivers did not, as required, always provide this essential service, and often for dubious reasons.

  • Where

    In most large cities, public transit is considered an essential service. In Montreal, during the mid-1980s, more than 600,000 people used the bus and métro service on a daily basis.

  • When

    Between 1970 and 1990, Montrealers frequently faced interruptions in public transit because of labour conflicts. In 1974 alone, there were four such interruptions. Exasperated, governments gradually limited the right to strike of workers in this sector.

  • Who

    The unions were particularly active in Montreal, and in the public transit sector at this time. Many people thought that the unions went overboard in promoting their demands.