Alexander Whyte Wright

Alexander Whyte Wright, journalist, labour leader, politician (b at Elmira, Ont 17 Dec 1845; d c 1919). After some business attempts in southwestern Ontario, he became a journalist and newspaper editor in the 1870s.

Alexander Whyte Wright, journalist, labour leader, politician (b at Elmira, Ont 17 Dec 1845; d c 1919). After some business attempts in southwestern Ontario, he became a journalist and newspaper editor in the 1870s. Although a Conservative and prominent advocate of the national policy, he endorsed currency and labour reform. He believed in the primacy of workers, farmers and productive manufacturers, and in the 1880s became a prominent Knights of Labor leader, first in Toronto and then in the US, becoming secretary of the order and editor of the Journal of the Knights of Labor, 1889-93. Returning to Ontario after the order's virtual collapse in 1893, he served as a royal commissioner to investigate sweatshop labour for the Tory federal government (1895). He edited a Toronto Tory labour paper 1909-14 and later was made vice-chairman of the Ontario Workmen's Compensation Board. A talented writer and orator, Wright was both charlatan and reformer and undoubtedly the best Canadian example of a mediator between the working class and the traditional political party.