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

Heading Back to an Old System?

It would be very reassuring if all public sector meetings began with a recognition of the private sector of the economy.  For it is there where the wealth is created that provides the income on which taxes are levied to pay for all our well-paid public servants and their grandiose plans. There is likely no hope for this ever to happen anywhere in the Cowichan Valley, because our Federal and Provincial representatives, together with most of their municipal colleagues, seem to have never been members of this part of the economy. Few, if any, of them appear to have ever had a paycheque that the taxpayer did not sign. It is reminiscent of the time when an educated but unproductive elite needed the feudal system for their survival.

Alistair MacGregor’s private member’s bill to cut off access to the coastline for deep sea vessels awaiting berths at local ports is an example of legislation proposed to meet the convenience of very few people. That his new bill would have the result of providing yet another unneeded obstacle for our stumbling economy seems irrelevant to him.  It shows a complete lack of appreciation that west coast port operations are one of the few bright spots remaining in the national industrial establishment. Excessive taxes and inconsistent regulation have sent capital fleeing to other countries and not enough seems now available to improve the operations of the port in order to reduce or quell the need to moor expensive ships in remote locations.

Mr. MacGregor’s proposal is yet another reminder that once viable Canadian industries are now surviving on reduced revenues and curtailed markets. Our local, Provincial and National governments are very creative in finding ways to consume the wealth provided by taxpayers but seem utterly incapable of understanding what needs to be done to produce it.