Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 043
Canadian New Democratic Party, 043
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
For the concepts and variables below, use these links to Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey:
Governmental Status
Issue Orientation
Goal Orientation
Organizational Complexity
Organizational Power
Organizational Coherence
Membership Involvement
The "ac" code is for "adequacy-confidence"--a data quality measure ranging from 0 (low) to 9 (high)

Institutionalization Variables, 1.01-1.06
1.01 Year of Origin and 1.02 Name Changes
1932, ac9
8, ac9
The CCF was officially launched in August of 1932, and its founding convention followed promptly in 1933 in Regina. The CCF had one major name change since its origin in 1932. In 1960 plans were well under way at the Canadian Labour Conference Convention to form a "New Party" deriving from the CCF but involving greater organizational suport from trade unions than had been the case with the earlier party. The founding convention finally met in 1961 and adopted the name, "New Democratic" Party, thus rejecting any label that hinted at socialism or social democracy.
1.03 Organizational Discontinuity
0, ac9
There was no merger with any political party when the CCF changed to the NDP, only a reorganization with closer ties to the CLC, Canadian Labour Congress (Engelmann and Schwartz, 1975--162). This was a move to create an alternative force based on the needs of workers, farmers, and similar groups. The NDP emerged a little to the right of the CCF"s Winnepeg Declaration of 1956 . Most of the same people were present in the "New Party" so actually only the ideas were truly new.
1.04 Leadership Competition
16, ac9
In 1942 M.J. Coldwell was elected president of the party without contest in the convention. In 1958 the man selected by a margin of one vote, with three candidates seeking the office, was Hazen Argue. T.C. Douglas was chosen as leader of the NDP in 1961 by a vote of 1391 to 380 over argue on the first ballot. In 1971 at the NDP convention, David Lewis was elected leader of the party on the fourth ballot, defeating four challengers.
1.05 Legislative Instability
Instability is .38, ac9
The legislative representation of the CCF/NDP ranged from 9 to 3 percent of the seats in the lower chamber, with the high point occurring during the middle of the period.
1.06 Electoral Instability
Instability is .12, ac9
The CCF/NDP reached a maximum of 14 percent of the vote in elections during our period in 1962. In the 1953, 1957, and 1958 elections, the party ranged between 9 and 11 percent of the vote.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
 2.01 Government Discrimination
0, ac9
There was no discrimination for or against the CCF/NDP except for the normal problems that beset a third force in a two-party oriented system. These problems were lack of manpower, funds, and appealing programs. These were not imposed by the government.
2.02 Governmental Leadership
0 out of 7 for 1950-56, ac9
0 out of 6 for 1957-62, ac9
The CCF-NDP never held a majority in the house of commons and therefore never laid claim to government leadership.
2.03 Cabinet Participation
0 out of 7 for 1950-56, ac9
0 out of 6 for 1957-62, ac9
Although the progressive-conservatives held less than a majority of the seats after the 1957 election, there was no attempt to form a coalition cabinet with the CCF. A coalition was only tried once in Canada"s history, in 1917.
2.04 National Participation
4 for 1950-56, ac9
5 for 1957-62, ac9
The results from the election of 1953 indicate that the CCF was primarily a regional party, deviating an average of 13 percentage points from the distribution of the votes over the five political regions. The CCF"s poorest showing was in Quebec and the maritimes, but the party fared extremely well in the prairies and British Columbia. In 1962 possibly because of the Winnipeg Declaration of 1956, and its accompanying watering down of its socialist principles, the CCF/NDP found itself more evenly represented nationally. Although still quite weak in the Maritimes and Quebec, the CCF voter support was more indicative of its emergence as a national party. In 1962 the CCF/NDP deviated 9.4 percent from the regional distribution of votes.
2.05 Legislative Strength
Strength is .07 for 1950-56, ac9 and .05 for 1957-62, ac9
The legislative representation of the CCF/NDP ranged from 9 to 3 percent of the seats in the lower chamber, with the high point occurring during the middle of the period.
2.06 Electoral Strength
Strength is .11 for 1950-56, ac9 and .11 for 1957-62, ac9
The CCF/NDP reached a maximum of 14 percent of the vote in elections during our period in 1962. In the 1953, 1957, and 1958 elections, the party ranged between 9 and 11 percent of the vote.
2.07 Outside Origin
8, ac9
The CCF was formed in 1932 by a section of the Old United Farm Organization, along with oth existing Labour and Socialist Parties. In 1961 the CCF became allied to organized labour to form the NDP.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
 5.01 Ownership of Means of Production
5 for 1950-56, ac9
2 for 1957-62, ac7
In the CCF programs of 1949 and 1953 all forms of socialization--provincial, municipal, and federal--were advocated. The party defined socialization as the state assuming the ownership of those industries, or those segments of the economic structure whose direction under private ownership is believed to be deleterious to society as a whole. In 1953 Coldwell, the party leader, promised to nationalize the steel and iron industries. He also advocated an overall transportation policy based on national interests. This platform also, however, left a small segment in private hands. In 1956, the CCF revamped their program at their Winnepeg Convention, and hoped by doing so to attract a wider base of support. In the election of 1957 the CCF did not propose to nationalize or socialize any specific industry. It put more stress on "appropriate private ownership opportunities," but maintained the platform was merely a clarification rather than a departure from principle.
5.02 Government Role in Economic Planning
4, ac9
The CCF stressed the necessary role of economic planning. They advocated among other things the socialization of private banks, and setting up democratic machinery for controlling investment. They proposed to set up a National Planning Commission and a national investment board. They stressed the curbing of monopolies and combines, and specifically a government sponsored development program in the maritimes. In 1957 they specifically called for an economic planning commission, and a national fuel and energy policy.
5.03 Redistribution of Wealth
4, ac9
The CCF stressed a need for a major redistribution of wealth. They strongly advocated that taxes should be levied according to ability to pay. They were determined to put an end to the exploitation of the poor by the rich. Their plan was not to nationalize land, but to break up monopolies and spread the benefits of automation among all the people.
5.04 Social Welfare
5, ac9
The CCF promoted the issue of social welfare in all of their platforms from 1949-1958. They planned to provide a comprehensive well integrated social security program, supported by the state. Throughout the 1950s the CCF concentrated so heavily on the issues of old age pensions and above all of a national health plan, that these issues seemed to constitute the party"s central reason for existence.
5.05 Secularization of Society
0, ac7
The CCF throughout history has had problems getting votes in specific of Canada because of their image as a Socialist Party in the European sense and therefore godless, revolutionary and a threat to private property. The Roman Catholic Church in particular was active in opposing the CCF more than the CCF was in opposing the Church. In specific instances candidates attempted to shed this image. In British Columbia a candidate published a pamphlet called "we are not ashamed of gospel, resting the CCF squarely on Christian Foundations," (Meisel 1962, p.246). The CCF platforms stress the equality of all men no matter what religion.
5.06 Support of the Military
1, ac9
The CCF strongly supported a solid defence program but wished for the money to come from those best able to pay, and not at the expense of furthering poverty and exploitation. In 1957 the platform said there was too much reliance on outdated methods of defence. The party argued against wasteful spending on obsolete methods, but not specifically on the defense program.
5.07 Alignment with East-West Blocs
5, ac9
The party emphatically stressed their refusal to collaborate with the Communists, for they were constantly having problems being associated with the communist party. The CCF supported NATO as a collective security measure, but wanted to eventually make regional pacts unnecessary.
5.08 Anti-Colonialism
1, ac9
The 1962 platform of the NDP called for taxation and investment policies that would enable the government to direct an increasing proportion of the investment reserves of corporations in accordance with Canadian economic objectives. They stressed that foreign owned or controlled companies be compelled to conform to the laws affecting Canadian companies and subject to the policies of the Canadian Government and not to the policies of their foreign counterparts. These guidelines were directed toward all foreign countries, with special emphasis on the united states, but the party harbored ambivalent attitudes toward the US (Engelmann and Schwartz, 1975--85).
5.09 Supranational Integration
3, ac9
The CCF continually gave their wholehearted support to the United Nations, and also sought closer economic union within the British Commonwealth. They took pride in these organizations and wished Canada to help build peace programs through them as a middle power.
5.10 National Integration
1, ac6
The CCF believed in Canada"s federal system, in a properly applied spirit of national unity. Its platform of 1957 saw the sharing of decision making authority as a safeguard of the country"s national well-being, and at the same time a way to protect the traditions and constitutional rights of the provinces. Until the very end of our period, however, the CCF tended to be more centralist than the other parties.
5.11 Electoral Participation
5 for 1950-56, ac3
5 for 1957-62, ac9
From 1950 until the election of 1957 no word was mentioned in the platforms of the CCF on the extension of the franchise. The rhetoric concerning equality to all Canadians was ever present, but no specific call for the extension of the franchise to all Canadians eighteen years and older was made until 1957.
5.12 Protection of Civil Rights
5, ac9
The CCF platforms called for every person, regardless of occupation, sex, color, and creed to have full opportunity to share in the nation"s progress. They strongly supported a dynamic educational system to develop the capacities of every individual. The CCF in 1957 called for an advisory committee for planned immigration in a practical and humane manner. Education would be available to immigrants, who would be encouraged to become Canadian citizens. On the French Separatist question, the NDP supported equal protection of both cultures and both languages, but this was after our time period.
5.13 Interference with Civil Liberties
3, ac9
The Canadian Government has a unique relationship with its system of mass communication. Up to 1961 the cbc controlled all network facilities, and privately owned stations played to local audiences. This government ownership, however, did not negatively affect the freedom of speech of the population. The CCF specifically called for a bill of rights to protect the freedom of expression through press and radio. Throughout its history the CCF was in the forefront of the defence of civil liberties.
5.14 / 5.15 US--Soviet Experts Left-Right Ratings
US says 3, non communist left
Soviets say 2, dependent on the petty bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia, small and middle class farmers, and to a greater extent on workers organized in industrial unions.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
 6.00 Open Competition in the Electoral Process
4, ac9
Although not one of Canada"s two major parties, the CCF found the practice of relying on a system of open competiion the sole means for accomplishing their goals.
6.01-6.05--2, ac9. The CCF practices the activities of a party of open competition. These tactics are especially important because of their "underdog position" in the system.
6.10 Restricting Party Competition
0, ac9
The CCF, although a smaller national force, does not pursue a strategy of restricting party competition.
6.11--0, ac9. Cases against the CCF for deliberately falsifying voters" lists do exist, but such falsification is practiced only in isolated incidents, and is in no way a party policy.
6.20 Subverting the Political System
0, ac9
Subversion of the political system is in no way CCF policy.
26--0, ac9. Subversive tactics serve no purpose in the CCF election plans.
6.30 Propagandizing Ideas and Program
6.31--0, ac5. The CCF apparently published no general circulation newspaper. During the 1957 election, the CCF was considered a bonafide national party, and therefore received 20 percent of free programme time from the C.B.C.
6.32--0, ac9. The youth of Canada plays an important part in CCF policy, but no political school exists.
6.33--1, ac9. Platforms by the CCF are usually drawn up at the time of leadership selection and usually are comparable to the Winnipeg Declaration or the Regina Manifesto, the party"s charters.
6.34--2, ac9. The CCF is noted for its high degree of work in parliament, and this is correlated strongly with the party"s publishing of position papers. Being a smaller party, the CCF feels that greater exposure of views will help its cause .
6.50 Providing for Welfare of Party Members
6.51-6.55--ac1. There was no information concerning the CCF"s providing for social welfare.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
 7.01 Sources of Funds
7 for 1950-56, ac7
3 (sector 01) for 1957-62, ac7
In 1946 a national membership fee of $1 per member was instituted. This never yielded more than 30,000 from 1950-1960, (Paltiel, 1970--53). In 1949 the CCF attempted a " national three year expansion programme," with extensive membership drives, membership renewals, and financial appeals on a systematic basis. The plan was basically unsuccessful. Nonetheless, the CCF sought to develop a party financed by grassroots, by small contributors from a broad base of citizens, who would give freely as individuals. This method of political finance continually starved them of essential funds. One of the first steps away from this process was the establishment of the "Ontario 500 Club," in which affluent members gave some money, beyond their regular membership dues. This resulted in 10-15 percent of the party"s income. Gradually, the trade unions started to funnel more money into the system. In 1961 the party changed its form and name , and the Labour Movement emerged as the prime source of NDP funds, thus ending the chronic money shortage of the party. This advent of large sums of money en bloc, undermined the original CCF ideology, but may have saved the party"s life .
7.02 Source of Members
5, ac8
Relatively few CCF/NDP members belong to service clubs and similar organizations, with the exception of co-operatives and unions, where the membership is high, yet not a prerequisite for party membership.
7.03 Sources of Leaders
5, ac6
The CCF/NDP extends its leadership to almost all social sectors. In
1965 over 50 percent of NDP candidates were middle class while less than 20 percent were working class. Kornberg found in his study that 5 percent of the NDP candidates were lawyers (Kornberg, p.44). Leaders are recruited from trade unions, the party bureaucracy, and other sectors, but not one exclusively.
7.04 Relations with Domestic Parties
7, ac6
During the time period the CCF/NDP engaged in no electoral or parliamentary coalition, thus was considered totally autonomous. Indeed, the only government coalition in Canada was in 1917.
7.05 Relations with Foreign Organizations
4, ac6
The CCF/NDP is a member of the socialist international but because of Anti-Socialist sentiments in Canada, restricts its participation to merely attending meetings. The association of the CCF/NDP with the "European Socialist Model" has at times hurt their performance in national elections, therefore, ties are weak with the international organization, (Meisel, 1962, p.246).

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
 8.01 Structural Articulation
11, ac9
Because the CCF was not reorganized into the NDP until 1961, the organization of the CCF determines our coding on this variable. There are four discernible parts of the CCF national party organization--the convention, officers, council, and executive. The party meets in convention at least every two years. The selection of representatives is delegated to the local and provincial organization, with the national council stipulating the number from each affiliated organization. Members of the party caucus in the federal parliament, and members of the national council are also delegates to the convention. The officers of the party are elected at the convention. The council is elected in the following manner--twenty members elected by the convention, two members elected by federal members of parliament, two from each provincial party, elected by provincial convention, one member representing each of the twelve affiliated organs, certified by the secretary of the party. The council meets at least twice a year. The executive consists of the officers and twelve other members to be elected from and by the council. Because of the integrated nature of the organs, the functional responsibilities are relatively clear. The convention is the supreme governing body of the party, and has final authority in all matters of federal policy, program and constitution. The council is the governing body of the party between conventions. The executiveas the authority to conduct and administer the affairs and business of the party between council meetings, and issues statements in the name of the party.
8.02 Intensiveness of Organization
6, ac8
In the CCF/NDP, membership was especially important in the first half of the time period. The basic units in the CCF/NDP are called variously local committees, clubs, study groups, and discussion groups. These clubs were designed for learning the CCF ideology. Member participation was more active than the other parties.
8.03 Extensiveness of Organization
3, ac9
The support of the CCF/NDP is more regional than class based, therefore it has less extensive coverage than the two older parties. The western provinces give the greatest support to the CCF/NDP. However, the CCF/ NDP remains largely without support in Quebec, the maritimes, and large sections of ontario.
8.04 Frequency of Local Meetings
5, ac6
The local clubs were organized not only, nor even mainly, for work at elections. The local groups of the CCF attempted to meet at least monthly.
8.05 Frequency of National Meetings
3, ac9
The council met twice a year, according to the CCF Constitution. The executive met not more than once a month.
8.06 Maintaining Records
16, ac9
The party was noted for its publishing, both at election time, and in off years. The CCF had standing committees on literature and research and membership. These committees were thorough and attempted to keep not only an outstanding research division, but membership lists that would enable them to keep in close contact with all members. In a mass participation party like the CCF, keeping members interested was essential. Therefore, knowing who was identified with the party was a paramount consideration.
8.07 Pervasiveness of Organization
12, ac9
Many labour and agrarian ancillary organizations were involved with the CCF during our time period. These affiliated organizations were very active in the party organization. This activity is evident not only in labour financial contributions, but also in the prevalence of agricultural policies in the party"s 1957 campaign. Major support from the powerful trade union movement on the west coast is also indicative of labour"s association with the CCF/NDP. These trade unions when affiliated with the party are given a collective membership.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
 9.01 Nationalization of Structure
5, ac9
CCF/NDP members, at the lowest levels, are apt to be more outspoken and critical of the national party than the two older parties. However, the national organs have greater control than it may appear. At the 1940 convention, the party constitution was amended so that the national council had more authority than the provincial parties. At the same convention it was decided that any conflicts between national and provincial bodies would be resolved in favour of the national body. In the Inter-Provincial Conferences which were held every two years from 1943-1952, the coordination of policy under central direction and subordination of provincial officials to the direct influence of national officials, were the main accomplishments. The CCF was constantly concerned with organization. Although provincial governments were established in the western provinces, the national party had to establish its network throughout the country, therefore, these governments found themselves subordinate.
9.02 Selecting the National Leader
4 for 1st half, ac9
3 for 2nd half, ac9
The selection of the national leader is done at biennial national conventions. The leaders are chosen afresh at each convention, however, it usually is merely a vote of confidence for the incumbent leader. J.S. Woodsworth and M.J. Coldwell of the CCF were chosen by the parliamentary group and ratified by successive biennial conferences. T. C. Douglas was chosen as NDP leader by the founding convention of the party over Hazen Argue, the choice of the small group of party MPS (Smiley, 1968--378 ).
9.03 Selecting Parliamentary Candidates
6, ac9
Candidates are nominated in accordance with the procedures laid down in the constitutions of the appropriate provincial party. The council of the federal party shall have authority to intervene with respect to a federal nomination if the interests of the federal party are involved. No cases of federal intervention were cited in the 1957 election.
9.04 Allocating Funds
2, ac9
In the campaign of 1957, contributions from provincial parties were the basis for the expenditures incurred by the national CCF organization. The provincial parties raised their funds in various ways, primarily through individual and trade union contributions. Provincial organizations not only contributed to the national fund, but also spent money on their own provincial campaign (Meisel, p. 216).
9.05 Formulating Policy
2, ac9
In the 1948 convention resolutions came from three sources primarily-- the clubs and constituencies, provincial executives and councils, and the national executive and council. The latter organizations had the greatest success in having resolutions passed (Young, p. 155). Resolutions submitted by constituencies in the cff conventions amounted to more than half in a number of cases. In 1948--54 out of 105, 1952--69 out of 107, and 1956--43 out of 65. Eventually a resolutions committee was appointed by the national executive. " even in the resolution committee, which was carefully chosen as a rule to reflect regional and doctrinal variation in the party, there was a good deal more membership participation and control in the CCF than in the other political parties in Canada, although not quite as much as party propaganda made out." (Dawson p. 577). It still was the case that the crucial policy decisions were those taken by the national executive or council or based on resolutions from those two bodies.
9.06 Controlling Communications
6, ac9
In 1943, in an effort to further centralize the power into the National CCF Organization, the provincial governments were instructed to send all literature published to the national offices immediately after publication. In the 1950 convention, the national executive was given the power to chastize and correct provincial party newspapers for editorials considered to be inconsistent with party policy (Young p. 150). In addition to censorship, the unity of the party was in part provided by the national membership bulletin " across Canada," and the research journal "news comment." the national office was without question the center for research and publishing.
9.07 Administering Discipline
4, ac7
In 1950, an amendment was added to the CCF constitution which gave the national council the power to take disciplinary action "where the interests of the national movement are involved." provincial parties are responsible for discipline of individual and affiliated members of the party, in accordance with the provisions of the appropriate provincial constitution.
9.08 Leadership Concentration
3, ac6
Although M.J. Coldwell was the party's choice for prime minister from 1950 until 1958, hazen argue held the position of national leader from 1958 until 1961, and t.c. Douglas became the NDP"s choice in 1961, it still can be argued that david lewis headed the party from 1950 until 1961 and was directly responsible for the shape it took. Lewis was the administrative and ideological leader of the party, and Young contends that in many ways lewis was the party leader (p. 166), even though only holding the post of national secretary. In any event, no single person dominated the council sufficiently to control it to his wishes.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
10.01 Legislative Cohesion
1.0, ac3
Judging from the available data, it was evident that the CCF members always voted together in the Canadian house of commons. Parliament provided an opportunity for the CCF/NDP to display its unique political offerings, and only by voting together could the party stress its opinions.
10.02 Ideological Factionalism
4 for 1950-56, ac9
5 for 1957-62, ac9
The history of the CCF/NDP is marked with internal dissension. In 1950 a division of left wing "purists" formed the Ginger Group in Ontario, asking all CCF members in the province not to stray from the strict socialist principles on which it was founded. However, this group failed to attract any substantial membership. Ideological debates were common since the party"s inception, and this battle culminated in 1956 with the division between party men and movement men. The movement men saw the Winnipeg Declaration as a significant shift to the right when compared to the party"s original Regina manifesto. The party men considered this new declaration a rethinking of policy, a modernization and clarification of the regina document, not a departure from it. The left wing felt that by changing the document, that they would become too similar ideologically to the two older parties. This change alienated many CCF members, and to many it was a "watering down of socialism"--therefore, a death to their cause.
10.03 Issue Factionalism
2, ac6
The de-emphasis of public ownership which was one of the controversial factors of the Winnipeg Declaration of principles, caused a notable dispute in the ranks of the CCF. However, this argument was basically ideological in nature, therefore, it was scored lower in degree of intensiveness.
10.04 Leadership Factionalism
1, ac6
Although ideological factionalism existed throughout the CCF"s lifetime, leadership control was basically always secure in the hands of the party leader. "the continuity of leadership was essential to enable the CCF/ NDP to establish itself as a unified political movement," (Young, p. 156).
10.05 Strategic or Tactical Factionalism
1, ac7
There were minor disagreements in strategy but factional tendencies were not evident. There were discussions on whether the party should only run candidates in ridings where they have had relative success, and not those where failure was inevitable. However, to keep the movement national in scope, the party opted for the national strategy.
10.06 Party Purges
0, ac9
No mass exclusion of members was evident in the time period. Minor expulsions, however, did occur infrequently, but they were nowhere near being labeled a purge. (in April 1955 the ontario provincial party expelled 14 members, accusing them of being Troskyites.)

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 Membership Requirements
3, ac9
The CCF/NDP has special membership requirements, which include paying dues rising to almost five and one-half dollars by 1960, (Zakuta,p. 107).
11.02 Membership Participation
5 for 1950-56, ac9
3 for 1951-62, ac9
The CCF/NDP was noted for the active participation of its members. "the party devoted a great deal of time and money to finding things for the membership to do and on membership activity," ( Young, p.151). Before the Winnipeg Declaration, the movement aspect provided many members who would work unstintingly for the party. However, when the party continually suffered losses, and the winnipeg document compromised many members" socialist principles, activity dwindled. For many, the commitment to the party lessened as the "raison d"etre" was lost. The growth of union support also reduced the need for individual support. The loosening of the CCF "s control over individual members was not total. In the ridings where the CCF appeared to have a prospect of victory, support swelled. When this prospect evaporated, however, the supporters departed.
11.03 Material Incentives
0, ac3
Few party militants seem motivated by material incentives. Some members did devote time in constituency activities in hopes of earning an office, but these were few in number.
11.04 Purposive Incentives
4 for 1st half, ac5
3 for 2nd half, ac3
Although the number of party militants noticeably decreased during our time period, the incentive was basically purposive in nature. The militants were committed to establishing the party"s socialist ideology nationwide.
11.05 Doctrinism
2, ac9
The regina manifesto, and later the Winnipeg Declaration, embody the CCF"s doctrines. The party altered the strength of the regina manifesto in
1956, but the new document was as important as its predecessor to most party members.
11.06 Personalism
0, ac3
Young contends that "dominance by the party leaders was inevitable because the CCF retained some of the characteristics of a movement and required personalities for focus," (p. 168). The party militants, however, were more concerned with purposive incentives and saw the party leader as basically only an important part in their overall plan.