The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) has assumed mythical status in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan's 1944 provincial election-the election that brought Canada's first social democratic government to power-is a defining moment in Canadian history. Still, it was not the radical break with the past that it has often been made out to be.
The CCF was operating well within the history and political culture of the Province of Saskatchewan. They were not the first party created in the West; the Provincial Rights Party had formed the opposition in 1905. Indeed, Saskatchewan's birth as a province was in part the result of a western protest movement against central Canadian political and economic dominance. The cooperative movement began in the 1890s and made up a significance part of the provincial economy by 1944.
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It was no accident that the CCF won in Saskatchewan in 1944. They tapped into a strong vein of cooperative movement, western protest against central Canadian institutions and a willingness to change the government's role in the economy.
The Beginning |
Farmer-Labor Party |
Regina Convention |
Social Democracy in the Depression | Election of 1944 | Conclusion | Acknowledgements | Educational Resources | Sources | Français