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Cooperative Commonwealth Federation

The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (or CCF) was founded in 1932 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, by a number of socialist, farm, and labour groups. Its aim was to alleviate the suffering of the Great Depression through economic reform and public cooperation.

At its first convention in Regina, Saskatchewan it selected J.S. Woodsworth[?] (a Labour MP since 1921) as its leader and adopted the Regina Manifesto[?] as its policy program. The manifesto outlined a number of goals, including:

...and concluded that "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 Cooperative Commonwealth."

In its first election in 1935, the CCF elected 7 MPs to Ottawa, and the following election (1940) elected 8 members.

The party became torn with the outbreak of World War II as Woodsworth was an uncompromising pacifist and this upset many supporters of the Canadian war effort. A new leader, M.J. Coldwell[?], was elected and threw the party's support behind the war. The party won a critical York South[?] by-election in February 1942, and in the process prevented the Conservative leader, former Prime Minister Arthur Meighen, from entering the House of Commons. In the next federal election the CCF returned 28 MPs and won 15.6% of the popular vote[?].

However, the party was to have its greatest success in provincial politics. In 1943 it became the official opposition[?] in Ontario, and in 1944 it formed the first socialist government in North America in Saskatchewan with Tommy Douglas as premier. He would go on to introduce universal healthcare to Saskatchewan, a policy that was soon adopted by other provinces and implemented nationally by the Liberals under Lester B. Pearson.

Federally during this period of hysteria over Soviet communism the CCF was accused of having communist, dictatorial leanings. To quash these accusations the Regina Manifesto was replaced by a more moderate document, the Winnipeg Declaration[?], in 1956. Nevertheless, the party did poorly in the 1958 federal election and sent only eight MPs to Ottawa.

After much discussion, the CCF and the Canadian Labour Congress[?] decided to join forces to create a new political party, which could make democratic socialism more popular with Canadian voters. In 1961 the CCF became the New Democratic Party.



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