Born in northeast England, John Maclennan started work at 15 and emigrated to Canada in 1965, where he became active in the United Auto Workers while working at the McDonnell Douglas aerospace plant in Malton.

In 1973, he joined the Communist Party of Canada and later was an employee of the party as labour secretary.  In retirement, he became an unofficial photographer for the labour movement.  This series of five interviews highlights his wide-ranging activism.  Interviewed by David Kidd and Manda Vrkljan.

Interview #1

Maclennan describes his youth in Gateshead, England and his arrival in Canada, as well as his first involvement with the labour movement, as member of the United Auto Workers at McDonnell Douglas in Malton.

Interview #2

In this second interview, Maclennan describes his firing from McDonnell Douglas and his work with the Communist Party and various other groups, as well as in central labour federations.

Interview #3

This 3rd interview focuses on Maclennan’s work for the Communist Party, attempting to influence the labour movement’s policies, and on his activism in the 1990s.

Interview #4

Maclennan details the planning and execution of the Days of Action against the right-wing Harris government in 1996. 

Interview #5

Maclennan discusses his work in art, photography and website design, as well as LGBT issues, and women in the labour movement.


Oral History ProjectJohn Maclennan