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As the Second World War drew to a close Mackenzie King's Liberal government had determined that the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation platform of social programs such as old age security, unemployment insurance and, under Tommy Douglas, Medicare, were all popular and attractive public policy options. King who considered himself a reformer during his political career, began to bring in these programs as Liberal initiatives. The CCF was left with little to offer the voters as policy that would differentiate themselves from the Liberals.

By the late 50's CCF support had fallen and the accusation that they were supporters of the communists and the Soviet Union, regardless of how unrealistic that was, were being made by many conservative groups. The 1956 CCF convention passed what was known as the Winnipeg Declaration which proclaimed a more centrist philosophy of working with business, accepting restricted government intervention and appealing to the middle class as well as other sectors. This shift helped them hold their support in 1957 as the electorate waffled but by 1958 when a decisive turn to the Conservatives occurred, many supports shifted to the Diefenbaker landslide and the CCF was almost wiped out. Diefenbaker had swept the west and absorbed most of the support for change from the incumbent Liberals. The1958 election was a turning point which saw the CCF win only 8 seats. Support in Quebec and many other parts of the country refused to grow as a traditional bias against the CCF remained entrenched in the electorate.

The CCF decided to retrench and return to its roots as well as expand its base to by appealing to labour. The Canadian Labour Congress was approached about forming a new national party which would bring in the support of labour and the remaining pieces of the CCF.

In 1961 the New Democratic Party or NDP was founded and Tommy Douglas, the dynamic premier of Saskatchewan was chosen as it's first leader. Douglas who pioneered Medicare in Saskatchewan was an eloquent and effect speaker and managed to bring the CCF back from near extinction. By the 1962 election the NDP more then doubled their 1958 seats and by 1972 had grown to 31 seats and a share of the power during the Liberal minority government.



Election Liberals Conservatives CCF/NDP Others
1949 191 41 13 17
1953 169 51 23 22
1957 105 112 25 23
1958 48 208 8 1
1962 99 116 19 31
1963 128 95 17 25
1965 131 97 21 16
1968 154 72 22 14
1972 109 107 31 17