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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

CCF Colonialism in Northern Saskatchewan

Battling Parish Priests, Bootleggers, and Fur Sharks

Saskatchewan’s Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the forerunner of the NDP, is often remembered for its humanitarian platform and its pioneering social programs. But during the twenty years it governed, it wrought a much less scrutinized legacy in the northern regions of the province. Until the 1940s, churches, fur traders, and other influential newcomers held firm control over Saskatchewan’s northern region. Following its rise to power in 1944, the CCF made aggressive efforts to unseat these traditional powers and install a new socialist economy and society in largely Aboriginal communities. The next two decades brought major changes to the region as well-meaning government planners grossly misjudged the challenges that confronted the north and failed to implement programs that would meet its needs. Northerners lacked the voice and political clout to determine policies for their half of the province, and the CCF effectively created a colonial apparatus, imposing its own ideas and plans in those communities without consulting residents. While it did ensure that parish priests, bootleggers, and “fur sharks” no longer dominated the north, it failed to establish a workable alternative. In an elegantly written history that documents the colonial relationship between the CCF and northern Saskatchewan, David Quiring draws on extensive archival research and oral history to offer a fresh look at the CCF era. This examination will find a welcome audience among historians of the north, Aboriginal scholars, and general readers interested in Canadian history.

376 pages

Table of Contents



Part One: At the Crossroads

1 Another Country Altogether

Part Two: Building the Colonial Structure

2 From the Top

3 The Ultimate Solution

4 A Deterrent to Development

Part Three: The Segregated Economy

5 Never Before Have We Been So Poor

6 At the Point of a Gun

7 Just One Jump Out of the Stone Age

8 A Pre-Industrial Way of Life

Part Four: Poverty-Stricken and Disease-Ridden

9 Scarcely More Than Palliative

10 Dollars Are Worth More Than Lives

Epilogue: We Will Measure Our Success





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