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Co-operative Commonwealth Federation/
Parti Social Democratique du Canada

Winnipeg Declaration Of Principles (1956)

The aim of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation is the establishment in Canada by democratic means of a cooperative commonwealth in which the supplying of human needs and enrichment of human life shall be the primary purpose of our society. Private profit and corporate power must be subordinated to social planning designed to achieve equality of opportunity and the highest possible living standards for all Canadians.

This is, and always has been, the aim of the C.C.F. The Regina Manifesto, proclaimed by the founders of the movement in 1933, has had a profound influence on Canada's social system. Many of the improvements it recommended have been wrung out of unwilling governments by the growing strength of our movement and the growing political maturity of the Canadian people. Canada is a better place than it was a generation ago, not least because of the cry for justice sounded in the Regina Manifesto and the devoted efforts of CCF members and supporters since that time.

Canada Still Ridden by Inequalities

In spite of great economic expansion, large sections of our people do not benefit adequately from the increased wealth produced.

Greater wealth and economic power continue to be concentrated in the hands of a relatively few private corporations. The gap between those at the bottom and those at the top of the economic scale has widened.

Thousands still live in want and insecurity. Slums and inadequate housing condemn many Canadian families to a cheerless life.

Older citizens exist on pensions far too low for health and dignity.

Many too young to qualify for pensions are rejected by industry as too old for employment, and face the future without hope. Many in serious ill-health cannot afford the hospital and medical care they need. Educational institutions have been starved for funds and, even in days of prosperity, only a small proportion of young men and women who could benefit from technical and higher education can afford it.

In short, Canada is still characterized by glaring inequalities of wealth and opportunity and by the domination of one group over another. The growing concentration of corporate wealth has resulted in a virtual economic dictatorship by a privileged few. This threatens our political democracy which will attain its full meaning only when our people have a voice in the management of their economic affairs and effective control over the means by which they live.

The Folly of Wasted Resources

Furthermore, even during a time of high employment, Canada's productive capacity is not fully utilized. Its use is governed by the dictates of private economic power and by considerations of, private profit. Similarly, the scramble for profit has wasted and despoiled our rich resources of soil, water, forest and minerals.

This lack of social planning results in a waste of our human as well as our natural resources. Our human resources are wasted through social and economic conditions which stunt human growth, through unemployment and through our failure to provide adequate education.

The Challenge of New Horizons

The C.C.F. believes that Canada needs a program for the wise development and conservation of its natural resources. Our industry can and should be so operated as to enable our people to use fully their talents and skills. Such an economy will yield the maximum opportunities for individual development and the maximum of goods and services for the satisfaction of human needs at home and abroad.

Unprecedented scientific and technological advances have brought us to the threshold of a second industrial revolution. Opportunities for enriching the standard of life in Canada and elsewhere are greater than ever. However, unless careful study is given to the many problems which will arise and unless there is intelligent planning to meet them, the evils of the past will be multiplied in the future. The technological changes will produce even greater concentrations of wealth and power and will cause widespread distress through unemployment and the displacement of populations.

The challenge facing Canadians today is whether future development will continue to perpetuate the inequalities of the past or whether it will be based on principles of social justice.

Capitalism Basically Immoral

Economic expansion accompanied by widespread suffering and injustice is not desirable social progress. A society motivated by the drive for private gain and special privilege is basically immoral.

The CCF reaffirms its belief that our society must have a moral purpose and must build a new relationship among men--a relationship based on mutual respect and on equality of opportunity. In such a society everyone will have a sense of worth and belonging, and will be enabled to develop his capacities to the full.

Social Planning for a Just Society

Such a society cannot be built without the application of social planning projects; financial and credit resources must be used to help maintain full employment and to control inflation and deflation.

In the cooperative commonwealth there will be an important role for public, private and cooperative enterprise working together in the people's interest.

The CCF has always recognized public ownership as the most effective means of breaking the stranglehold of private monopolies on the life of the nation and of facilitating the social planning necessary for economic security and advance. The CCF will, therefore, extend public ownership wherever it is necessary for the achievement of these objectives.

At the same time, the CCF also recognizes that in many fields there will be need for private enterprise which can make a useful contribution to the development of our economy. The cooperative commonwealth will, therefore, provide appropriate opportunities for private business as well as publicly-owned industry.

The CCF will protect and make more widespread the ownership of family farms by those who will till them, of homes by those who live in them, and of all personal possessions necessary for the well-being of the Canadian people.

In many fields the best means of ensuring justice to producers and consumers is the cooperative form of ownership. In such fields, every assistance will be given to form cooperatives and credit unions and to strengthen those already in existence.

Building a Living Democracy

The CCF welcomes the growth of labour unions, farm and other organizations of the people. Through them, and through associations for the promotion of art and culture, the fabric of a living democracy is being created in Canada. These organizations must have the fullest opportunity for further growth and participation in building our nation's future.

In the present world struggle for men's minds and loyalties, democratic nations have a greater responsibility than ever to erase every obstacle to freedom and every vestige of racial, religious or political discrimination. Legislation alone cannot do this, but effective legislation is a necessary safeguard for basic rights and a sound foundation for further social and educational progress.

Therefore, the CCF proposes the enactment of a Bill of Rights guaranteeing freedom of speech and of expression, the right of lawful assembly, association and organization, equal treatment before the law, freedom to worship according to one's own conscience and the enjoyment of all rights without distinction of race, sex, religion or language.

Basis for Peace

The solution of the problems facing Canada depends, in large part, on removing the international dangers which threaten the future of all mankind. Therefore no task is more urgent than that of building peace and of forging international policies which will banish from the earth the oppressive fear of every part of the world is free from the fear of aggression and domination, can progress be made toward a lasting settlement of outstanding differences.

Throughout the years the CCF has maintained that there has been too much reliance on defence expenditures to meet the threat of communist expansion. One of the urgent needs for building a peaceful world and for extending the influence and power of democracy is generous support of international agencies to provide assistance to under-developed countries on a vast scale.

The hungry, oppressed and underprivileged of the world must know democracy not as a smug slogan but as a dynamic way of life which sees the world as one whole, and which recognizes the right of every nation to independence and of every people to the highest available standard of living.

Support of United Nations

The CCF reaffirms full support for the United Nations and its development into an effective organization of international cooperation and government. The world must achieve a large measure of international disarmament without delay and evolve a system of effective international control and inspection to enable the prohibition of nuclear weapons.

The CCF believes in full international cooperation which alone can bring lasting peace. The practices of imperialism, whether of the old style or the new totalitarian brand, must disappear. The CCF strives for a world society based on the rule of law and on freedom, on the right to independence of all peoples, on greater equality among nations and on genuine universal brotherhood.

Confidence in Canada

The CCF has confidence in Canada and its people who have come from many lands in search of freedom, security and opportunity. It is proud of our country's origins in the British and French traditions which have produced our present parliamentary and judicial systems.

The CCF believes in Canada's federal system. Properly applied in a spirit of national unity, it can safeguard our national well-being and at the same time protect the traditions and constitutional rights of the provinces. Within the framework of the federal system the CCF will equalize opportunities for the citizens of every province in Canada. True national unity will be achieved only when every person from the Atlantic to the Pacific is able to enjoy an adequate standard of living.

Socialism on the March

In less than a generation since the CCF was formed, democratic socialism has achieved a place in the world which its founders could hardly have envisaged. Many labour and socialist parties have administered or participated in the governments of their countries. As one of these democratic socialist parties, the CCF recognizes that the great issue of our time is whether mankind shall move toward totalitarian oppression or toward a wider democracy within nations and among nations.

The CCF will not rest content until every person in this land and in all other lands is able to enjoy equality and freedom, a sense of human dignity, and an opportunity to live a rich and meaningful life as a citizen of a free and peaceful world. This is the Cooperative Commonwealth which the CCF invites the people of Canada to build with imagination and pride.

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