Mairs Memorial set for Jan. 20 in Ladysmith

All are welcome at the 17th annual Joseph Mairs Memorial on Sunday, Jan. 20.

Joseph Mairs was a 21-year-old trade unionist and a coal miner who died in 1914 after being arrested by government troops during the Occupation of Ladysmith. (Citizen file)

Joseph Mairs was a 21-year-old trade unionist and a coal miner who died in 1914 after being arrested by government troops during the Occupation of Ladysmith. (Citizen file)

All are welcome at the 17th annual Joseph Mairs Memorial on Sunday, Jan. 20.

The event begins indoors at 1 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Hall in Ladysmith then moves outside for a walk to the graveyard.

This year’s keynote speaker is Doug Nesbitt, the founding editor of rankandfile.ca and Kingston, Ontario’s CUPE organizer. Nesbitt founded the Fight for $15 chapter in Kingston, and will talk about the big lessons learned from that three-year fairness campaign which inspired low-wage worker strikes and resulted in the first substantial gains in labour and employment rights in 25 years, according to the Joseph Mairs Memorial Committee.

“As always, we will hold a discussion after Doug speaks and we encourage everyone to participate,” said a release. “Through this event, we hope to provide an opportunity for all of us to advance our work to build serious struggle for workers rights and conditions across this province.”

Art Farquharson and Beverley McKeen and their friends will play live music at the event.

After the indoor event, a procession behind piper Frank Nichols will walk to the Ladysmith Cemetery to place flowers at the graveside of Joseph Mairs.

Mairs was a 21-year-old trade unionist and a coal miner who died in 1914 after being arrested by government troops during the Occupation of Ladysmith.

He was among the coal miners fighting for an eight-hour day, health and safety regulations and union recognition.

His grave is inscribed with: “A Martyr to a Noble Cause – The Emancipation of His Fellow Men”.

Cowichan Valley Citizen