Visionaries, Crusaders, and Firebrands
The Idealistic Canadians Who Built the NDP
As an idealist and a visionary, Jack Layton connected with millions of Canadians who saw that he was a different kind of political leader. So did Tommy Douglas, chosen as the greatest Canadian ever by CBC’s television audience.
The New Democratic Party and its predecessor, the CCF, have often chosen leaders who resonated with the Canadian public. In fact, the vision and the ideals of the leaders of the NDP and the CCF have been key to its strength and appeal. Their commitment to these values in their personal as well as their political lives has earned them admiration and support far beyond the votes they have attracted at election time. Even though these politicians have never succeeded in forming a government in Ottawa, they are seen to stand for values the whole country cherishes.
As a historian, Lynn Gidluck noted that the story of the CCF/NDP has often focused on events, policies, programs, and electoral campaigns. In this book, her emphasis is on the leaders who have defined the party, its vision, and its policies. This tradition of selecting distinguished leaders who share and refine a vision of a better Canada is as important as the policies they have promoted. By focusing on leaders, this book offers fresh insight into the NDP and its appeal to Canadians.
LYNN GIDLUCK lives in Regina with her husband and three children. She is currently working on a PhD in public policy and history through the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Regina. She is a former director of the Saskatchewan office of the Centre for Policy Alternatives.