James C. Watters

James C. Watters, coal miner, trade unionist, socialist (b at Edinburgh, Scot 1869; d at Victoria 1947).

Watters, James C.

James C. Watters, coal miner, trade unionist, socialist (b at Edinburgh, Scot 1869; d at Victoria 1947). As founding president of the BC Federation of Labour (1910), Watters played an important role in the Western Canadian labour movement, and briefly played on the national stage as leader of labour's 1917 anticonscription coalition. As president of the TRADES AND LABOR CONGRESS, he hoped to rally Québec, ethnic minorities, moderate Liberals and moderate socialists behind the campaign to stop the CONSCRIPTION law of Robert BORDEN's Conservative, later "Unionist", wartime administration. Socialists and trade unionists, especially in western Canada, did forge a common front with Sir Wilfrid LAURIER during the Dec 1917 national election. No Liberal-Labour candidate, however, was elected and at the 1918 TLC convention Watters lost the presidency he had held since 1911. By 1920 he was reduced to attempting to mediate between conservatives and socialists in the labour movement. When this failed, he drifted into obscurity.