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Open meeting with William Pritchard and Norman Penner July / August 1973 - Track 5
City of Burnaby Archives
This portion of the meeting pertains to William Pritchard's thoughts on Socialism and Revolution in their various incantations. He also discusses the political leanings of the arrested Winnipeg Strikers.
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City of Burnaby Archives
This portion of the meeting pertains to William Pritchard's thoughts on Socialism and Revolution in their various incantations. He also discusses the political leanings of the arrested Winnipeg Strikers.
Date Range
Photo Info
William A. Pritchard, Burnaby Reeve 1930-1932 and council member 1928-1930. Item no. 459-016
Woodsworth, James Shaver
Political Theories
Interview Date
July / August 1973
Scope and Content
Recording is of a open meeting with William Pritchard and writer Norman Penner. Norman Penner is the editor of the book "Winnipeg 1919" about the strike from the striker's perspective. William Pritchard wrote the speech that was included in the book. Audience members were invited to ask Pritchard questions. Major theme discussed is: The Winnipeg General Strike. To view "Narrow By" terms for each track expand this description and see "Notes".
Biographical Notes
William "Bill" Arthur Pritchard was born on April 3, 1888 in Salford, England, the son of a miner and factory worker. In May 1911, Bill moved to British Columbia and within a week of arriving became an active member of the Socialist Party of Canada. From 1914 to 1917, he served as editor of the Western Clarion – the SPC newspaper. He became such a well-known socialist figure that when he travelled to Winnipeg to participate in the General Strike in 1919, he was one of only seven people arrested and imprisoned for his participation in the event despite the fact that he was in no way directly involved in its planning nor development. In 1922, Bill and his family settled in North Burnaby in the Capitol Hill District. Almost immediately after his arrival, Bill began to advocate for change and a planned development scheme for the municipality. Pritchard ran successfully for the position of Reeve and held the post until the end of 1932. One of Reeve Pritchard’s highest priorities while in office was to attempt to provide work for as many unemployed as possible all the while trying to elicit more support from the provincial and federal governments. Bill was a strong advocate of the belief that relief work should be focused on projects that would see a comprehensive development scheme for Burnaby – including planned sewers, roads and water supply. Despite Bill's best efforts, however, Burnaby was forced into receivership and at the end of 1932, a Provincial Commission stepped in to take over the governance of the city. Reeve Pritchard, having done all he could as a champion of the unemployed, stepped down as Reeve but left behind an undeniable legacy of courage and determination. He was rewarded for his enormous contributions to the city in 1975 when he was chosen to be made a Freeman of Burnaby. William Pritchard died on October 23, 1981. Norman Penner was born in Winnipeg in 1921 to Rose and Jacob Penner and brother to Roland, Ruth and Walter. Their father Jacob was a leading member of the Communist Party and popular Winnipeg Alderman. Norman graduated from high school in 1937 but did not begin university until much later, preferring to begin his adult life from 1938 to 1941 as a full-time officer of the Winnipeg branch of the Communist Party of Canada. From 1941 to 1946 he served with the Canadian Army which included two-and-a-half years of overseas combat duty. On his return to Canada in 1947 he again returned to his duties as a full-time officer with the communist Labour-Progressive Party (formed in 1941 after the Canadian Communist Party was officially banned). After the abortive Hungarian revolution in 1956, Norman Penner resigned from the party and instead worked as a self-employed manufacturer’s sales representative until 1971. In 1964 he decided to go back to school part time and graduated with a BA from the University of Toronto in 1969. He took an MA in 1971 and a PhD in 1975 from the same institution. Penner was hired as a lecturer at York University's Glendon College in 1972 and soon became a professor, continuing to teach until 1995. He wrote extensively on the Canadian left. Penner edited and introduced "Winnipeg 1919: The Strikers' Own History of the Winnipeg General Strike" in 1973, published "The Canadian Left: A Critical Analysis" in 1977 and contributed three chapters to as well as editing "Keeping Canada Together Means Changing Our Thinking" in 1978. He published "Canadian Communism: The Stalin Years and Beyond" in 1988 and "From Protest to Power: Social Democracy in Canada 1900 to Present" in 1992 as well as numerous articles, reviews and book chapters. Norman Penner was married to Norma Lipes for sixty-seven years. The couple had four children: Steve (Mary Ellen Marus); Joyce (Herman Parsons); Gary (Marlene Kadar); and Bob (Shaena Lambert). Norman Penner died April 16, 2009 at the age of eighty-eight.
Total Tracks
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Interviewee Name
Pritchard, William A.
Penner, Norman
Burnaby Historical Society Community Archives collection
Oral History series
Item No.
100-13-02-2_ Track_5
Media Type
Sound Recording
Web Notes
Interview was digitized in 2010 allowing it to be accessible on Heritage Burnaby. The digitization project was initiated by the Community Heritage Commission with support from City of Burnaby Council and the BC History Digitization Program of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia. It was recognized by the Heritage Society of BC with an award in 2012.
Audio Tracks

Track five of open meeting with William Pritchard and Norman Penner

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