University of Saskatchewan
  Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF)


“No CCF government will rest content until it has eradicated capitalism and put into operation the full programme of socialized planning which will lead to the establishment in Canada of the Co-operative Commonwealth.”
- from the Regina Manifesto, adopted in 1933.

Social Credit Has Tried and Failed in Alberta The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) was a democratic socialist party founded in Calgary in 1932. It united supporters of progressive farm organizations, industrial workers, and leftwing intellectuals, determined to implement economic reforms to address problems caused or exacerbated by the Great Depression. At its second convention in 1933 the organization adopted a detailed manifesto, which committed the party to the nationalization of key industries and the establishment of new welfare programs including unemployment and health insurance, children’s allowances and seniors’ pensions. According to W.D. Young’s The Anatomy of a Party: the National CCF 1932-1961 (1969) CCF socialism was a “mixture of Christian, Fabian and Marxian socialism, shot through with progressive reformism. There was in the CCF….a strong underlying belief that man is both a rational and a social creature, capable of creating a perfect society by abolishing the corrupt social order.”

Coldwell for Canada . Democracy Security. Vote CCFAmong the prominent CCF founders were J.S. Woodsworth (1874-1942), a former Methodist preacher and leader in the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, M. J. Coldwell (1888-1974), a Regina teacher and leader of the Saskatchewan Farmer- Labour Party, and Frank Underhill (1889-1971), a historian at the University of Toronto.Its first federal campaign in 1935 returned seven CCF members to Parliament. Although the CCF never gained power at the federal level, its continuing electoral presence and effective caucuses, pressured both Liberal and Conservative governments to adopt many of its reform ideas. The CCF operated at both the federal and provincial levels until declining election fortunes lead it to ally itself with the Canadian Labour Congress in 1961 to create the New Democratic Party.CCF Means Progress: Vote Alex Kuziak.

Provincially the CCF was most successful in gaining power in Saskatchewan where in 1944 T.C. Douglas led it to a landslide victory. The Saskatchewan CCF won an additional four terms and pursued an ambitious reform agenda, including pioneering labour legislation, extensive new welfare programs, the introduction of both hospital and medical insurance and a dramatic program of rural electrification.

Women in Peace as in War: Protect Your Home. The various CCF wings and associated organizations were prodigious producers of political literature for use in membership education and election campaigns.  Their extensive production of pamphlets has been attributed in part to the difficulty the organization found in getting its ideas positively discussed in daily newspapers, many of which supportered the Liberal and Conservative parties.  Many CCF leaflets present a sharp contrast between their own hopes and plans for change and the incompetence and corruption they associate with the old-line parties. These CCF attacks provoked many heated printed responses from the Liberal and Conservative parties, some of which connected the CCF to Soviet Communism and German Nazism.

The University of Saskatchewan Library Special Collections Department holds an impressive collection of pamphlet literature of the CCF, and of its predecessors and successors on the Canadian left. The collection is complemented by many publications of the CCF’s political opponents.  Additional CCF literature can be found in the collections of John Diefenbaker (1895-1979) at the Diefenbaker Canada Centre and of Saskatchewan progressive and CCF activist Sophia Dixon (1900-1994) at the University of Saskatchewan Archives.

... whenever possible, local communities should seek the help of those who have some experience with the layout for newspaper ads. Effectiveness depends even more on the layout than it does on the contents.
- Advice from organizational guide from the CCF National Office.
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