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The Labour Press

Working people read newspapers voraciously, discussing current events with family or friends and even engaging in public debates over the topics of the day.  Newspaper owners, however, made no pretense of providing objective accounts of the stories they covered.  For example, many newspapers served as organs for one or another of the major political parties. Many workers were pleased when a new labour newspaper, The Ontario Workman, was born amidst the nine-hour agitation. Its masthead proclaimed: “The Equalization of All Elements of Society in the Social Scale Should be the True Aim of Civilization.”

Front page of the newspaper, Ontario Workman, announcing a grand demonstration by the Nine Hours Movement.

The Ontario Workman announces the Nine-Hour League in April 1872.

The Ontario Workman was not entirely free from political influence – it had received a start-up grant from Prime Minister Macdonald and the Conservative Party. But during its three year run, its focus on a variety of social reform issues – including mutual aid, the franchise, self-improvement, entertainment, and much more – made it an important voice for Ontario workers in the years following the rise of the Nine-Hour Movement.