NDP Roots in Canada

In 1933 the “Regina Manifesto” was adopted by the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) at its first national convention in Regina Saskatchewan.  One of the stipulated goals of the manifesto was to destroy capitalism and replace it with a socialist system.  The League for Social Reconstruction (LSR), founded in Montreal and Toronto in 1931-32, largely written by Underhill and Scott, strongly influenced the CCF.

The Regina Manifesto called for “a planned and socialized economy in which our natural resources and principal means of production and distribution are owned, controlled, and operated by the people” and a nationalizing of everything, including the banking system. (1)

It also vowed that “No CCF Government will rest content until it has eradicated capitalism and put into operation the full program of socialized planning which will lead to the establishment in Canada of the Co-operative Commonwealth” (2)

In 1956, because of strong anti-communist sentiments, the CCF replaced the Regina Manifesto with a more moderate sounding declaration called the “Winnipeg Declaration”, (it is ironic that it was called a manifesto in the first place).   Its full name the “1956 Winnipeg Declaration of Principles of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation” was adopted at the 1956 national convention.

The CCF ostensibly chose to soften their image, however many of the same players remained.  The “Winnipeg Declaration” remained the statement of party principal, and that of their new founded party; “The New Democratic Party” (NDP) in 1961.  This declaration remained with the NDP platform until 1983 when they replaced it with a “Statement of Principals”.

This “Statement of Principals” appears much in the same vein as the other documents, but with fuzzy edges.  However, softening and re-wording does not change its central tenets.  Leopards cannot really change their spots.

(1)  Co-operative Commonwealth Federation preamble
(2)  Co-operative Commonwealth Federation Section 14

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