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The Imperialist Massacre Behind Some Of Canada’s Most Prestigious Academic Prizes

Izaak Walton Killam, the richest man in Canada and namesake of prestigious scholarships, protected his business interests in El Salvador by helping facilitate one of the worst civilian massacres in this continent’s history.

The Imperialist Massacre Behind Some Of Canada’s Most Prestigious Academic Prizes
The Maple/Original Graphic.

By Cassandra Kislenko

It was January 1932, and the richest man in Canada had a serious problem.

Nova Scotia-born Izaak Walton Killam had made his millions through pulp, paper and hydro-electric projects across Latin America. His Montreal-based International Power company controlled a monopoly on electrical power in El Salvador and charged extremely high rates on the country’s exploited workers.

When these Indigenous peasants began an organized uprising, Killam called in a personal favour to protect his capital. This would end in a civilian massacre that would usher in decades of military dictatorship, and ultimately help establish prestigious cornerstones of Canadian arts, culture and academics.

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