James Dunsmuir (July 8, 1851 – June 6, 1920) was a British Columbian industrialist and politician.
James Dunsmuir (1914)
|14th Premier of British Columbia|
June 15, 1900 – November 21, 1902
|Lieutenant Governor||Thomas Robert McInnes
Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière
|Preceded by||Joseph Martin|
|Succeeded by||Edward Gawler Prior|
|8th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia|
May 11, 1906 – December 3, 1909
|Governor General||The Earl Grey|
|Preceded by||Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Wilson Paterson|
|MLA for Comox|
July 9, 1898 – June 9, 1900
|Preceded by||Joseph Hunter|
|Succeeded by||Lewis Alfred Mounce|
|MLA for South Nanaimo|
June 9, 1900 – October 3, 1903
|Preceded by||Ralph Smith|
|Succeeded by||district abolished|
July 8, 1851|
|Died||June 6, 1920
Cowichan Bay, British Columbia
|Political party||No party affiliation|
|Spouse(s)||Laura Miller Surles (m. 1876)|
|Relations||Robert Dunsmuir, father|
|Children||3 sons and 9 daughters|
|Alma mater||Virginia Tech|
|Occupation||machinist, entrepreneur, industrialist|
Son of Robert Dunsmuir, he was heir to his family's coal fortune. The Dunsmuir family dominated the province's economy in the late nineteenth century and were a leading force in opposing organized labour. Dunsmuir managed his family's coal business from 1876 until 1910 increasing profits and violently putting down efforts to unionize. In 1905 he sold his Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway to the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1910 he sold his coal mining company, Union Colliery of British Columbia and R. Dunsmuir and Sons to Canadian Collieries (Dunsmuir) Ltd (CCD).
Opposition to organized labourEdit
In the 42 years that the Dunsmuirs owned the collieries, they never recognized their employees' attempts to unionize or create better working conditions. Threats, spies, blacklists and scab labour were among the tactics sued by Dunsmuir to break strikes. When he could not break a strike with scab labour, he used his influence to have the provincial government call in the militia. Dunsmuir stated during a royal commission: "I object to all unions...They simply take the management of the mine...I want the management of my own works, and if I recognize the union, I cannot have that." 
Dunsmuir provoked further rage when he ordered workers to relocate their homes at a new pit.
Workers also resented low wages and the dangerous conditions that Dunsmuir imposed upon them. Mine owners at the time regularly ignored safety and sanitary conditions, and provincial inspectors were slow to bring them to justice. Dunsmuir contributed to the mines of British Columbia being among the most dangerous in the world. Between 1889 and 1908, twenty-three men were killed in the production of every million tons of BC coal; the average for North America as a whole was six deaths per million tons. In 1901, while serving as Premier, many men perished in his collieries.
Dunsmuir entered provincial politics in 1898 winning a seat in the provincial legislature and became the 14th Premier in 1900. His government attempted to resist popular pressure to curtail Asian labour and immigration not for humanitarian reasons but to ensure a cheap labour pool for business. It also promoted railway construction and accomplished a redistribution of seats to better represent population distribution in the province. Dunsmuir disliked politics and resigned as Premier in 1902. In 1906 he became the province's eighth Lieutenant Governor but retired in 1909 and lived out his years at the baronial mansion he had constructed at Hatley Park. James Dunsmuir founded the town of Ladysmith, British Columbia. He is interred in the Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria, British Columbia.
- McCormack, A. Ross (1977). Reformers, Rebels, and Revolutionaries: The Western Canadian Radical Movement 1899-1919. Canada: University of Toronto Press. pp. 6–7. ISBN 0-8020-5385-8.
- McCormack, A. Ross (1977). Reformers, Rebels and Revolutionaries: The Western Canadian Radical Movement 1899-1919. Canada: University of Toronto. p. 9. ISBN 0-8020-5385-8.
- McCormack, A.Ross (1977). Reformers, Rebels and Revolutionaries: The Western Canadian Radical Movement 1899-1919. Canada: University of Toronto Press. p. 8. ISBN 0-8020-5385-8.
- McCormack, A.Ross (1977). Reformers, Rebels and Revolutionaries: The Western Canadian Radical Movement 1899-1919. Canada: University of Toronto Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-8020-5385-8.