Social Democracy, the Left and the CCF/NDP in Canada: Past, Present, and Future

Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta
May 12-14, 2017

From pacifism to peacekeeping, from socialism to social democracy, the CCF/NDP has had its share of successes and disappointments in Canadian federal and provincial politics. Despite the almost 85-year existence of the CCF/NDP, however, there has been relatively little academic work done on Canada’s party of the Left and its history, especially in the last 20 years. This is particularly noteworthy in comparison to the extensive body of work that exists about Canada’s other two national parties.

This conference seeks to remedy this imbalance. We will examine the state of the NDP and the extra-parliamentary Left from the vantage point of the past and provide a critical historical and current-day basis from which the cause of social democracy in Canada can continue to advance.

The choice of Calgary in 2017 is significant because it connects our conference with the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation in Calgary in 1932 as a political coalition of progressive, socialist, and labour groups that wanted economic reform to help Canadians affected by the Great Depression. Holding a conference in Calgary is also a recognition of the second anniversary of the provincial NDP’s defeat of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta after close to 44 years in office and Alberta’s status as the only province currently governed by the NDP.

We welcome historical and contemporary submissions on topics including, but not limited to:

  • the Left in war and in peace
  • the Social Gospel and Christian Socialism
  • social democracy and socialism
  • the early history of organized labour in Canada
  • pacifism and war resistance; the National CCF/NDP
  • Provincial CCF/NDP sections in opposition and in power
  • the Communist Party of Canada and other radical Left parties
  • the Great Depression and labour activism
  • regional Left movements and parties
  • Canadian women and the Left
  • indigenous activism and the Left
  • party structures and the Left
  • social democratic and other Left politicians and activists
  • Activism and the State
  • the role of the NDP in Canadian politics
  • current debates within the NDP and the Left
  • the future of the NDP and/or social democracy in Canada

Papers from established scholars, emerging scholars, graduate students, and those outside of academia are encouraged.

Panel and roundtable submissions should include a session title, a brief description of the panel or roundtable, abstracts for each paper of no more than 300 words, and a brief biography or one-page c.v. for each presenter. Individuals should submit a title, a 300-word abstract plus a brief biography or one-page c.v. Please send your proposal to [email protected] by December 15, 2016. Applicants will be notified of the acceptance of their proposal in January 2017.

Papers accepted for this conference may be requested for subsequent publication in a collection to be published by Between the Lines.

This conference is receiving significant support from the following organizations; Mount Royal University and The Broadbent Institute.

Conference Organizers

Jon Weier, Department of History, Western University: [email protected]
Roberta Lexier, Department of General Education, Mount Royal University: [email protected]
Stephanie Bangarth, Department of History, King’s University College [email protected]

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