Dream No Little Dreams

Dream No Little Dreams: A Biography of the Douglas Government of Saskatchewan, 1944-1961

A.W. JOHNSON
With the assistance of Rosemary Proctor
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 434
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt1287srz
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  • Book Info
    Dream No Little Dreams
    Book Description:

    Dream No Little Dreamsoffers rich insight into the initial planning stages of Medicare and details the protracted struggle with the medical profession that followed as Douglas fought to implement it.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2091-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xv-xxxii)
    Gregory P. Marchildon

    Much has been said about Tommy Douglas’s vision of a New Jerusalem and his provincial government’s ability to turn a relatively isolated and poverty-stricken province into Canada’s most important social policy laboratory from 1944 until the early 1960s. At the same time, virtually nothing has been written on how this was actually accomplished. The one exception was a Harvard Ph.D. dissertation completed in 1963.¹ Its author was A.W. Johnson, a Saskatchewan civil servant on educational leave from the provincial government.² While difficult to obtain, Johnson’s thesis filled such an important gap in the literature that it was actively sought out...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xxxiii-xxxvi)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxxvii-2)
  6. 1 The Roots of the CCF in Saskatchewan and Canada
    (pp. 3-35)

    On 15 June 1944 North America’s first socialist government was elected in Saskatchewan. The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, as it was called, won 53 per cent of the popular votes and forty-seven of the fifty-two seats in the legislature. The opposition Liberal Party was left with only five members. Friends of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation greeted the victory as the opening of the door to the promised land. The CCF newspaper proclaimed:

    Saskatchewan is now all set to make history. The people in the province have left no doubt in anyone’s mind that they are ready for a new kind of...

  7. 2 Planning the Program for a CCF Government
    (pp. 36-58)

    The 1944 election platform of the CCF, entitledProgram for Saskatchewan,set forth a sweeping set of positions and commitments to the province. Its origins, of course, were to be found in the CCF’s philosophy and its economic and social theories: they served quite naturally as the reference point both in diagnosing the problems Saskatchewan had experienced, and in prescribing the remedies to these problems.

    In its essence, theProgramreflected the CCF’s conception of a post- Depression, post-war state: one in which government would play an active role in creating the economic and social conditions under which individual freedom...

  8. 3 The First Months of the CCF Government: Innovation and Ferment
    (pp. 59-93)

    Election day 1944 started a new phase in the life of the Saskatchewan CCF when ten years of planning and organizing came to fruition with a decisive electoral victory. The CCF had won forty-seven of the fifty-two seats in the Legislative Assembly, leaving the Liberals with only five. Only eight of the CCF MLAs had served in the legislature before. Fewer than half of them were known as active party leaders, and many were strangers to one another.

    The next phase was to be a period of frenetic activity, as newly elected Premier Douglas formed a cabinet and with his...

  9. 4 New Wine in Old Vessels
    (pp. 94-116)

    Beyond the sweeping changes in policy during the first eighteen months of the CCF government, it became evident that important adjustments were called for in other aspects of governance. In particular, the role and the influence of the CCF Party and of its leaders had to be adapted to the new constitutional role of its elected leaders – now ministers in the cabinet and members of the Legislative Assembly. Simply put, the ministers were now responsible to the Legislative Assembly and through it to the public at large, and all of the CCF MLAs were responsible to their respective constituencies: what...

  10. 5 Transforming the Functioning of Government: 1946–1948
    (pp. 117-149)

    A virtual transformation in public policy characterized the government and the environment of governance generally during the CCF’s first eighteen months in office, as the government introduced many of the policies and programs in theProgram for Saskatchewan.In the same few months, the government engaged in many of the fundamental adjustments in relationships associated with becoming a government – notably the relationships with the CCF Party and the government caucus, with the public service, and with both federal and municipal governments. The experience the ministers gained during those months provided a growing understanding of the importance to governance of the...

  11. 6 Forging a New Equilibrium in Governance: 1948–1952
    (pp. 150-180)

    The first real test of the CCF government came when the electorate went to the polls on 24 June 1948 to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with CCF policies. The results startled both the party and the government. The voters, with a turnout of 83 per cent of the electorate, returned the government to power, but with thirty-one seats instead of forty-seven. Moreover, two members of the cabinet had been defeated, Oak Valleau and the controversial minister of natural resources, Joe Phelps. The Liberal opposition won twenty seats, and one Liberal-Progressive Conservative coalition candidate was elected. He was A.H. (Hammy)...

  12. 7 A Mature Government in Its Third and Fourth Terms
    (pp. 181-204)

    By 1952, as we have seen, the government was reaching its maturity. It was more experienced, better integrated, and more proficient in the making of policy and the delivery of programs and services. Too, it was more cognizant of the impact of its policies and their effectiveness, not only in achieving the CCF’s goals, but also in their effect on Saskatchewan society generally. At the same time, the fundamental values of the CCF remained unchanged and these values continued to be the wellspring of the government’s policies.

    The ideology of the CCF, however, and the articulation of that ideology, had...

  13. 8 Policy Implementation and Reassessment in the 1950s
    (pp. 205-232)

    Having described the functioning of government in Saskatchewan through most of the 1950s – given the thoroughgoing changes that had been made or were in the course of being made in public administration and the machinery of government – I turn now to the policy and program changes during this same period, 1952–60. They were in no small measure incremental in character – whether in the development of infrastructure, or in the fields of health, education, and welfare, or in the field of resources and industrial development. But they were accompanied by a number of new and significant measures – even if these...

  14. 9 Reflections on the 1950s and Renewal in the 1960s
    (pp. 233-258)

    Lurking behind all of these accomplishments in the last half of the 1950s were, as we have said, the election results of 1956. With a decline in public support for the CCF, it was clearly a time for self-examination, for reflection as to the underlying causes for this measure of discontent. Such reflections were indeed a kind of backdrop to political and policy discussions as the government engaged in the fulfilment of its 1956 election commitments. And clearly they were the focal point of the government’s pre-election planning sessions in 1959.

    A number of hypotheses, or theories, were advanced as...

  15. 10 Medicare
    (pp. 259-301)

    The story of the government during the CCF’s fifth term of office in Saskatchewan – 1960 to 1964 – was the story of medicare. All the rest of policy and of administration seemed frozen in time. The medicare story began, after the June election, with a period of paralysis for the government, as it awaited a report from the Advisory Planning Committee (roughly June 1960 to June 1961). It was followed by a burst of renewed government activity culminating in the passage by the Legislative Assembly of the Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Act (introduced 13 October 1961, receiving royal assent 17 November...

  16. EPILOGUE: The Legacy of the Douglas Government
    (pp. 302-310)

    In the final pages of this history of the Douglas government, I want to write in somewhat more personal terms, to address what I think to be the more important and lasting legacies of the Douglas government in Canadian public policy and in Canadian governance. I want, as well, to speak to some of the challenges we now face in maintaining that legacy.

    The first of the legacies of the Douglas government clearly was medicare. It was not long before the medical care model so painfully brought into existence in Saskatchewan was to become a model for medicare across Canada...

  17. ANNEX: Financing a CCF Program within the Canadian Federation
    (pp. 311-336)
  18. Notes
    (pp. 337-382)
  19. Index
    (pp. 383-394)