Steve and Liz Liska

LiskaYear: 2005
Location: Crowsnest Pass
Profile: Liz Liska was born in Taber, and moved to Bellevue when she was six years old where her father and brother mined coal. Steve Liska was born in 1914 in Saskatchewan and raised in Coleman. When they married in 1938, they raised three children in Coleman. Steve started coal mining in 1930 and worked underground for over thirty years. He describes the various jobs he held, from weighman, to bucking coal, to rip rider. He relays how miners worked as partners and the dangers of explosions, bumps, and faulty equipment. They explain how in the 1930s the single men on government relief built the highways for twenty cents a day. Liz describes her life as a miner’s wife: “You’re living in fear all the time while he’s underground.” She remembers the trials of dealing with constant coal dust, outdoor toilets, wood stoves, but also the good times at dances, and there always being berries or mushrooms to pick and fish to catch.
Keywords: Bellevue;  Crowsnest Pass; Coleman; Communism; Depression;  May Day; Mine accidents; Union benefits; Relief; Strikes.
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See also: Coal Mining; Health and Safety