PA-181423 | Co-operative Commonwealth Federation Party Leaders

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation Party Leaders
About 1940, 20th century
This artefact belongs to : © National Archives of Canada
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Keys to History

The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) took shape in 1932-33. Rooted in radical agrarianism and labour political action, it was also influenced by the intellectuals of the League for Social Reconstruction (LSR). The CCF's first leader was James Shaver Woodsworth (1874-1942), who had been a Winnipeg M. P. (Labour) since 1921.

At its founding convention in Regina in July 1933, the CCF adopted a platform whose first draft had been prepared by members of the LSR. During the next two years the new party grew rapidly in parts of the West. It got little support in Ontario, though, and even less in the Maritimes and Quebec.

In 1935, the party got almost 9% of the popular vote and elected seven members. One had defected by 1937, the year that Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002), who had established himself as a photographer in Ottawa in 1932, took this famous photo.

  • What

    The LSR's main publication was Social Planning for Canada (1935). Its first two presidents were the Toronto historian Frank H. Underhill (1889-1971) and the McGill law professor Frank R. Scott (1899-1985).

  • Where

    Of the seven seats the CCF won in 1935, two were in Winnipeg, two in rural Saskatchewan, two in Vancouver and one on Vancouver Island.

  • When

    The federal CCF reached its electoral high point in 1945, when it won 28 seats. In 1961, it transformed itself into the New Democratic Party (NDP).

  • Who

    From left to right: T.C. "Tommy" Douglas (1904-1986), Angus MacInnis (1884-1964), A.A. Heaps (1885-1954), J.S. Woodsworth (1874-1942), M.J. Coldwell (1888-1974), Grace MacInnis (1905-1991; caucus secretary) and Grant MacNeill (1892-1976).