Profile: Jan Tarasoff grew up in a coalmining family in the Drumheller Valley. The United Mine Workers of America union organized May Day parades while the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians (AUUC) organized cultural events. Her husband, Jack Tarasoff, grew up in a farm family near Calgary that was active in the Communist Party and the associated AUUC. Jack’s father was the district farm representative for the Workers’ Benevolent Association, a voluntary insurance grouping. Jan and Jack both joined the AUUC in Calgary to promote socialism and to oppose the Cold War that they viewed as a Western capitalist effort to discredit the Soviet Union as a means of opposing the growth of socialism. In their interview, the Tarasoffs discuss the development of the Calgary labour movement. Jan also discusses the work of the Communist Party in Drumheller, the cultural activities organized by the AUUC in both Drumheller and Calgary, the political schools that were run in Sylvan Lake on land owned by Red Finns (Communist-allied Finns). Both discuss the impact of the Cold War on the Communist Party.
Keywords: Association of United Ukrainian Canadians; Calgary Labour Temple; Cold War; Communist Party; CUPE; Drumheller Valley; Federation of Russian Canadians; RCMP raids; United Mineworkers of America; Workers’ Benevolent Association.
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See also: Coal Mining