Fitzgerald, Henry M. (1874–1918)

“Comrade” Henry M. Fitzgerald was a critic of the Canadian government’s treatment of the passengers of the Komagata Maru. He was a union activist, a radical socialist, fiery orator, a Canadian by nationality and perhaps birth, and a presser in the garment industry by trade. He rose to notice as a unionist in British Columbia, and then remarkably in New Zealand he played a critically important role in energizing that country’s incipient Socialist Party, touring as a speaker and orator for three years from 1907 to 1910 and returning to New Zealand in 1911 and 1912. While in New Zealand he married the daughter of a Bootmakers’ Union leader from Denedin, New Zealand. He was back in British Columbia by 1914; at a public meeting organized by the Khalsa Diwan Society, he stood alongside Balwant Singh, Rahim and others, speaking against the tactics of the immigration department. For years he suffered from tuberculosis, and in 1918 he died in the sanatorium in Tranquille B.C., north of Kamloops.

Sources: Synopsis of paper by Peter Clayworth, “Prophets from Across the Pacific: Canadian Influence on New Zealand Industrial Militancy in the Early Twentieth Century,” given at “Canada and New Zealand Conference” Wellington, New Zealand, 9 Feb., 1910; Vancouver City Archives, Stevens Papers, “Minutes of a Mass Meeting Held at Dominion Hall, Vancouver, 21 June 1914.”