N. America’s First Socialist Government

June 15, 1944 – In the Saskatchewan general election, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), led by Tommy Douglas, is elected and forms the first socialist government in North America.

The CCF aimed to alleviate the suffering that workers and farmers, the ill and the old endure under capitalism, seen most starkly during the Great Depression, through the creation of a Co-operative Commonwealth, which would entail economic co-operation, public ownership of the economy, and political reform.

The Co-operative Commonwealth was defined as a “community freed from the domination of irresponsible financial and economic power in which all social means of production and distribution, including land, are socially owned and controlled either by voluntarily organized groups of producers and consumers or – in the case of major public services and utilities and such productive and distributive enterprises as can be conducted most efficiently when owned in common – by public corporations responsible to the people’s elected representatives.”

Thomas ClementTommyDouglas, (October 20, 1904 – February 24, 1986) was a Canadian social democratic politician and Baptist minister. He left federal politics to become the Saskatchewan CCF’s leader and then the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961. His government introduced the continent’s first single-payer, universal healthcare program.

On June 29, 2012 Canada Post issued this domestic rate ($0.61) postage stamp honoring Douglas:

tommy douglas - canada

 

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