How Socialism Came to Canada as an American Import

as the Socialist Party faded from the US political scene some of the farmers who had embraced its ideals would take their politics north to Canada today Americans think of Canada as a more radical more socialist place the irony is that Canada's first socialist politicians Canada's first socialist intellectuals are Americans and that is something that people today have forgotten socialism when it comes to Canada in an effective way is an American import between 1898 and 1915 nearly a million people emigrated from America to Canada lured by cheap farmland most settled in the Western Canadian provinces of Alberta Saskatchewan and Manitoba the last North American frontier they brought their knowledge of how to rest a living from the soil and a set of political convictions rooted in their experience farmers in the prairie provinces of Canada and the northern Great Plains of the United States all faced similar problems in the early 20th century they were all growing wheat they felt that they were being gouged by the railroads by the bankers they felt that the market conditions were working against them rather than seeing this in terms of impersonal market forces they personalized it and viewed bankers railroad men lawyers as the as the enemy the way you express your protest at the turn of the century is pay wait a minute why don't we nationalize these things and from that as the institutions resist you move fairly logically and pretty quickly towards radicalism and they're radicalized in Canada in the same way by the same people in the same organizations as they are in the United States but let me emphasize these organizations start not in Canada but in the United States every major US farmers organization would resurface in Canada in some form by the 1920s these organizations and their successors began to make their voices heard throughout the prairie provinces they were very soon able to influence electoral politics in Manitoba Saskatchewan Alberta simply by the power of their numbers but it's really not until the great depression begins on the prairies really in the 1920s not the 1930s with droughts with the collapse of the wheat market that farmers begin to contemplate forming their own independent political force in 1932 a new political party emerged from a conference in Saskatchewan the co-operative Commonwealth Federation the CCF the CCF is a kind of big bang among radical groups of radical farmers socialist labor unions and radicalized socialist intellectuals many and universities many also in the Protestant churches and they get together and they write a platform that calls for the socialization essentially of the means of production and the means of finance I mean it's it's it is a classic socialist platform the party would later moderate its platform to appeal to a broader base and 1944 the CCF swept the provincial elections in Saskatchewan becoming the first socialist government in North America and leaving a lasting imprint on Canadian politics well CCF stayed in power in Saskatchewan until 1964 and one of its last acts was to bring in a socialized medicine scheme for the province of Saskatchewan which they imposed in the early 1960s and which had such tremendous appeal that it actually pushed Canadian politics in that direction later in the 1960s the CCF's ideas were adopted by the governing Liberal Party of Canada and the Liberals were the ones who finally brought in national Medicare in in Canada socialism found more of a following in Canada than in the United States in 1961 the CCF became the new Democratic Party it is still largely socialist in its convictions and still a force in Canadian politics in America some of the ideas championed by socialists also found their way into the mainstream ideas like unemployment insurance Social Security and the 8-hour workday but socialism itself never took root be sure to join us for the second episode of heaven on earth the rise and fall of socialism for think-tank I'm Ben wattenberg

  1. LMAO … An import? We didn't want them in the US & now Canada's fascist elites are attempting to come to the US by saying it's changed & there are no dictators involved! You better ask what happened to your gold reserves. Trudy the Frog don't fool me! Pay attention MARXIST IDEOLOGIES KILLED MILLIONS!

  2. Go away socialism! Leave the entire continent, please. Stop taking my hard earned money! Stop controlling our thoughts! Stop wasting tax revenue! Leave!

  3. Bothwell's argument is incredibly misleading and disingenuous and pandering to the American audience of this PBS documentary. There was plenty of ideas and organizational influence across the border given the strength of American union, socialist and farmer organizations in the late 19th century, but the leaderships were rarely ever American and the rank-and-file base that gave these movements muscle were more heavily drawn from Europe in their backgrounds than the United States. This is elementary stuff in the history of Canada's urban working-class socialism in the first decades of the 20th century. As for the farmers' movements, their high point of independent political influence is during the late teens and 1920s before merging with labour to form the CCF, were influenced by American farmer initiatives like wheat pools but the leadership and base were not drawing upon American farmers in any decisive way.

  4. Not in my experience. As a democratic socialist in Canada & member of the N.D.P., I suggest Americans check out the works of people like Tommy Douglas, Ross Dowson & Naomi Klein, all Canadians.

  5. We send America actors and comedians. They send us the most repugnant of all political ideologies.

  6. The CCF did not form from a conference in Saskatchewan in 1932. Look at the photo, you’ll see it was dated 1933. The CCF was actually started in Calgary, Alberta, in 1932

  7. If you look for a document online called Humanity First! which was a newspaper insert outlining the CCF's programs in Saskatchewan, you'll see that it wasn't all that radical. It very much mirrored the New Deal & other socialized programs in the U.S. And they stayed in power for many years because their programs worked well.

  8. BS, socialism from the state ? So what about Norway … They imported it but they never done it, right ?

  9. SasKATchewAAAN… the narrator is obviously not from canada or simply has no idea how to pronounce it

  10. Socialism was obviously not an American idea of We the people did not support to elect officials to institutionalize it like many western societies there’s at least one person that will support one idea from another government Canada just ratified it.   II think to label something as American it needs to be agreed upon by 51% of the people and be a current policy.

  11. Uhhh, except that this video is largely bullshit.
    Here's why:
    1. The most salient point; when someone crosses the border from the US into Canada, they become Canadians,as do Ukrainians, Poles Scots, etc. My father's family emigrated from the US but never considered themselves anything but Canadian, therefore negating this spurious claim , although 1 million? ( don't think so..the population of Saskatchewan today is much less than one million) .Hence, saying the Canadian socialist movement is American is like saying the American Revolution is British, since the Colonials of the time came from there.

    2. Despite the smug and arrogant demeanor of the interviewee, the claim of American authorship of Canadian 'socialism' is unsubstantiated. So, factually:
    'The protest movement on the prairies was nourished by 3 dynamic traditions of radicalism: agrarian movements in eastern Canada, ( far and away the most influential) British coop movements, and the agrarian movements in the US..(P. F. Sharp, The Agrarian Revolt in Western Canada)
    3. Canada is not a socialist country, although it has elements of socialism in its structure.  It is a democracy, whereas the US is not and has not been so for some time.. ( Y'all don't wanna debate me on this because you simply have no platform)

  12. The Canadian CCF/NDP were not nearly as radical as is portrayed.  Medicare was huge, but a lot of the programs the established are still with us today.  I'm not giving a thumbs up to outright socialism, but some socialist ideas do have merit.  Just like outright capitalism, it has its flaws.  The key is balance.

  13. I'm trying to find a NBC Propaganda film from the Late 40's-Early 50's about the CCF Party in Saskatchewan.  The film was HILARIOUS because they used Black and White footage from the turn of the last Century to make Saskatchewan and the CCF party look Backward.  

  14. and what is the result!? herd upon countless herd of mcdonalds eating wal-mart zombies! burn in hell all you marxist sheeple!

  15. I love how if you hold a leftest philosophy you are automatically a dangerous irrational radical.

  16. Its nice to read more about communism from legitimate sources also take a read of the russian revolution from 1917 onwards and you will understand that it is not debated among historians specializing in the era that ussr did not stick to mainstream marxism and that of course was never the intension hence the reworking of marxism into marxism-leninism and that stalin went even further away from mainstream marxism for example by rejecting an internationalist approach to spreading socialism

  17. Pseudo-intelectuals like Noam Chomsky are libertarian socialist. It annoys me that such stupidty exists and some take it seriously.

  18. I have heard that your public debt is 90% of GDP… How can Canadians say that Canada is balanced? 14 years ago you were not balanced, too. Anyway, all rich countries are better than Latin America and Africa. 95% of Universities has strong Marxist philosophy. Seeing the rich falling is a disgrace because the Capitalist people here lose their hope in changing our own miserable policies and anti-profit feeling. Media says you have free-markets – which is a lie.

  19. Hitler used socialist rhetoric, certainly (remember, the Social Democrats were very popular in Hitler's day). But the five socialist points of the 25-point Nazi program (which weren't even put in by Hitler) were ignored entirely after Hitler got in power.

  20. socialism is only as as good as the people in the Countries mentality>back then people just wanted a safety net.Now a day people have no ambition anymore when you can just have kids and get a nice middle class house free dental etc.I think this just one example why the west is going down socialism makes people lazy.

  21. What you want to point out is the re-distributive justice, and these are two different things : they are private, but maybe not deserve to be private. I would have put more condition and kick some ass out of their cozy bonuses, but…

  22. a libertarian socialist ? to be honest with you I've never heard of such a thing, oh well I guess you learn something different every day, the next thing you know someone will tell me that they're a free market communist but anyway, that management you speak of that had a hand in destroying the auto industry were mostly union bosses that gave in to the unions demands making flawed decisions causing the companies to fail and that offshoring that you mentioned was due to finding low wage workers.

  23. wrong again einstein, taxation is public money and when other people's money is used to subsidize any private enterprise then it becomes the people's property and it is no longer a private enterprise nor is it a free market that is the very definition of socialism to begin with, such as the case with the bailouts of the failed auto makers by the government, such companies are not private enterprises and are not based on the free market due to the fact that the government dictates and runs them.

  24. First off, "BeverageGuzzler" I am not a Marxist but a libertarian socialist. Second, the car industry in America was destroyed by management offshoring jobs and making gas guzzlers. Third, I bet you're the kind of guy who believes everything he sees on the Teevee.

  25. Taxation is not a good mean to judge if a system is socialism or not, because it have nothing to do with socialism. Socialism is a term used to describe an organization producing, distributing and exchanging goods&service. It's based on collectivity. This could mean state ownership but it's not necessarily: a cooperative own by a sodality or a civil society could be call socialist. Canada&USA are market mixed economy, ergo not socialist in a strict sens and less socialist than the Italian mafia.

  26. no that's still socialism because, even if it is as you pointed out an intervention from the government the fact of the matter is that other people's money are taken out of their pockets via taxation to rescue and pay for failures and mistakes made by irresponsible people so there's no accountablity on their part, it would be different if a private investor offered his own money to help and put a failing business back on track but that's not the case here so you're wrong it is still socialism.

  27. What you've just stated demonstrates to people who know and understand reality how completely stupid and useless you are, if you believe in this little marxist fairy tale of yours that socialism is the answer then look at what the labor unions did to the automobile industry in the united states and for you to claim that socialism is based on self reliance well that just speaks for itself, I know that there are alot of stupid and useless people in this world.

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