Prairie Liberalism: The Liberal Party in Saskatchewn 1905–71
Published: December 1975© 1975
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 364 Pages
Dimensions: 6.20 x 9.25
364 Pages, 6.20 x 9.25 x 0.75 in
Few prairie political parties can approach the Saskatchewan Liberals’ record of success and longevity. For much of its history the party was unrivalled in its mastery of organization, earning of the reputation of being a ‘machine.’ Yet until this book appeared relatively little scholarly attention had been paid to it.
Professor Smith examines the evolution of the Liberals in Saskatchewan from the period of their early dominance to the present, when they are part of the country’s most competitive two-party system. The old Liberal machine, which held office for thirty-four of the thirty-nine years between 1905 and 1944, succumbed over time to the onslaught of the Ku Klux Klan, the economic disaster of the thirties, and finally, to the rise of a vigorous opponent.
It took twenty years for the Liberals to return to power after their overwhelming defeat in 1944. Only when they had found a dynamic leader who was a renegade socialist, forsaken their progressive policies which had given Saskatchewan its first public utilities and public health programs, and accepted the role the CCF had defined for them as a free enterprise party, did they succeed in defeating the socialists.
Both scholarly and readable, this book will be useful to students of Canadian history and politics as a discussion of a provincial party’s adjustment to the changing nature of federal-provincial relations and as a case study in machine policies in Canada.
‘By his careful and judicious assembly of the party’s history of organization and management over sixty years, David Smith has written a case study which will henceforth be an indispensable source in Canadian political history.’ Denis Smith, Canadian Forum
‘a first-class work.’ Choice
‘Smith’s book is an excellent account of a political party and of the political history of a province. It has a good deal to tell us about federal-provincial party relations, about race and ethnicity, about party leadership and voting behavior in Canada as a whole.’ John Saywell, The Globe and Mail