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Saskatchewan socialist movement

Hongming Cheng

Subject History » Political History
Social History » Labor History

Place Northern America » Canada

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics human rights, labor movements, revolution, socialism, welfare

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01319.x


As a largely agricultural province in Canada, Saskatchewan has a well-deserved historical reputation for its agrarian democratic socialism. Its progressive tradition began even before the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), forerunner of the New Democratic Party (NDP), came to power in Saskatchewan in 1944, the first electorally successful North American socialist movement. The CCF regime pioneered Medicare and other social welfare programs in North America. The CCF-NDP has won 12 out of 17 elections and governed for 47 of the 63 years to 2007. While many historians and political observers consider it impossible to link electoral politics with social movements, the Saskatchewan socialist movement is unique in its effort to amalgamate popular struggles of the masses and political party objectives. In Saskatchewan and the other two Canadian Prairie provinces, the conditions that produced political radicalism were also the foundation for democracy. The vast areas in the provinces were rural and very sparsely populated. The onecrop wheat farmers would have to organize and develop solidarity in order to win a fair price for their wheat, since they were vulnerable to the precariousness of the climate and reliant to a large extent on world markets, bankers, and railways. Farmers were, therefore, driven to growing class consciousness by the practical knowledge acquired in their social ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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