University of Saskatchewan
  Social/Economic Issues


Advertising in mediums such as television, radio and large daily newspapers is expensive and disproportionately available to deep- pocketed governments and large corporations. Organizations and citizen’s groups that question and resist corporate interests, or press governments toward social and economic reforms, usually have more  limited funds and are more likely to use less expensive forms of persuasion to advance their goals.

The Klansman. 1930

Rapid change has been a constant theme of prairie history since the influx of immigrant settlers completely transformed the society and economy of the region at the beginning of the 20th century. Subsequent wars, epidemics, economic depressions, new communications and transportation systems, and scientific and technological discoveries have profoundly impacted prairies Canada. Social and economic developments spark changes to laws and regulations, and to government institutions and priorities.

Most changes to laws and government programs are the result of years of awareness raising, public education, lobbying and protest by interest groups, industries and individual corporations. Advocates for change and reform seek to build public support and pressure by promotional efforts including the distribution of print advocacy.  Their efforts inturn are likely to prompt advertising responses from those bodies or interest groups that support or benefit from the status quo.

Our sub galleries provide overviews of three types of advocacy advertising particularly well represented in collections at the University of Saskatchewan – advertising produced by trade unions, advertising relating to  Saskatchewan’s gay and lesbian rights movement, and promotional literature relating to healthcare and wellness.

The main gallery includes ads that address the legal and social status of women and minorities. The structure and direction of the Canadian economy has been fiercely debated in many brochures and pamphlets, free trade with the United States being a recurrent hot topic. Sasky, The Land of Living Skies Guy Sez.: let's have no further nuclear development in Saskatchewan. Geary, David, 2007.

Each decade can be defined by a number of controversial ideas or initiatives that keep printing presses and posterers busy. Advocates and opponents have produced both heat and light on dozens of topics including the future of Medicare, the decriminalization of abortion, the registration of firearms, fur trapping, same-sex marriage, the abolishment of the Crow transportation rate, the responsibilities of the Canadian Wheat Board and the nationalization and privatization of key industries.Questions and Answers About Nuclear in Canada. [1994?].

The protection of the natural environment is presently a focus of concern. Many citizen groups and industries advocate their own analyses of such issues as global warming, forestry practice, the environmental impact of the energy and mining industries, including the expansion or restriction of uranium mining and nuclear energy development.

You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements.
- Norman Douglas (1868-1952), English writer.
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