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Friday, July 25, 2008 

75th Anniversary Of The Founding Of The CCF

During the Great Depression, few places in Canada were harder hit than Saskatchewan. Not only did the free market economy completely collapse, but prairie people had to deal with a prolonged period of drought, wind and dust now known as the 'Dirty Thirties'.

In response to the failure of the free market system, political movements like the Social Credit Party and the CCF emerged in response to the desperation of the times.

75 years ago this weekend, in Regina, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation was formed. Their founding document, the Regina Manifesto is an interesting peek into the mood and attitude of the times. The fact that people were in such a desperate financial situation resulted in loss of faith in free markets and capitalism. Out of these conditions, the CCF began a large organizing drive that led to the election of the Tommy Douglas' CCF government in Saskatchewan in 1944.

Over the years, the position of the CCF softened as the world's economy came back from the brink. In the 1960's the CCF merged with the Canadian Labour Congress to form what we now know as the New Democratic Party.

The Regina Manifesto is an important Canadian historical document because it allows us to see and hear the desperation of the times in the words written 75 years ago.

The New Democratic Party is currently being attacked by some extremist right wing voices who want to spin the Regina Manifesto as the current philosophy of the New Democrats. What naive nonsense!

Some right wing thinkers refer to the document in the 'present' tense as opposed to the historical period it represents. Most progressive political observers have grown accustomed to the dishonesty or stupidity of the hard Right.

New Democrats are proud of their history (unlike the Reform Party that morphed itself into the Canadian Alliance Party and aftewards, into the Conservative Party of Canada).

We are today the product of the times that have come before us. When Canada's free market system failed Saskatchewan, the people responded. We have come a long way.

Happy 75th!

My grandpa is in the picture, somewhere. He was always so proud of what they accomplished with so little.

Thanks. Lest we forget, and repeat the past.

Happy 75th, Leftdog

Chad - I agree totally! Be proud of your families legacy ... we can't let the self centered hate mongers ply their stupidity.

Alison - Ditto ... it's an amazing history and herstory isn't it! I am proud to be part of a political legacy that believes in equal gender opportunities! Thanks for your comments!

Happy 75th!

Funny, I was just reading an article by James Laxer in 'This Magazine' about the history of the CCF and the NDP, and how far they have strayed.

Still, it's always nice to know that there was once a truly progressive party in this country that wasn't afraid to stand on principle and still managed to garner enough broad acceptance to truly change this country for the better.

I can't help but wonder how bad things will have to get before we see their likes again.

Thanks Jennifer! - "I can't help but wonder how bad things will have to get before we see their likes again."

It is unfortunate that we have seen such a rise of right wing proto-fascist behavior in Canada over the last number of years. What do I mean by 'proto-fascist behavior'? I use that term to describe the current tendency towards aggressive political bullying, intolerance and outright hatred displayed by the Right at this time in our history.

Harper and his Conservatives (and I include the puppet Saskatchewan Party) are very ideologically driven.
-They talk 'fiscal conservatism' yet run up deficits!
-They talk about democracy and then rig producer elections to try and dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board.
-They withhold funds for risk reduction amongst Canada's afflicted addicts in spite of medical advice and advice from senior police officials.
-They mock and belittle Canada's peacekeeping missions of the late 20th Century and yet crave and embrace active participation in George Bush's various aggressive wars.
-They lie ... because they are utterly dishonest - yet they appear to believe that they are guided and directed by some fundamentalist religious nonsense.

I'd say that we are at a critical period. Either they will succeed in bringing a 'proto-fascist' economic reality to the nation or they will be contained and hopefully exposed.

Thanks for the comments!

Was there even any acknowledgment on the part of Harper or the government about the NDP's 75th anniversary?

It seems to have gone by unnoticed just like the Constitution's 25th anniversary came and went with nothing at all.

Has there been any kind of stamp, or special coin or other special keepsake issued for the 75th?

I've waited until now to comment because it wouldn't have been right earlier on. I have nothing against the NDP; indeed I have a lot of high regard for it.

But it is a crying shame that a political force that has worked so long and hard for the people of Canada doesn't get acknowledged on its 75th anniversary.

And Harper is from the west but Alberta is populist territory.
How petty and churlish can one small mind be?

Harper reminds me of the psychiatric patient who proclaims he's Napoleon or whatever and the staff humour him in his conceit.

That's how I see Stephen Harper--a hollow pretender.

Alberta can keep him.

And like Napoleon ... I can hardly wait for him to meet his Waterloo!

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