Opening Keynote

Avi Lewis, Social Democracy and the Left in Canada

What does social democracy look like in Canada? What is the future of the left in Canada? Join Avi Lewis for a discussion of the past, present, and future of social democracy and the left in Canada.

This event celebrates the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation at the Royal Canadian Legion in Calgary. Avi Lewis, activist and son of former Ontario NDP Leader Stephen Lewis and grandson of former NDP Leader David Lewis, will share his thoughts on the legacy of the CCF/NDP and the future of social democracy in Canada.

This event is also the opening keynote address for the Social Democracy and the Left in Canada: Past, Present, and Future conference.

Avi Lewis is an award winning documentary filmmaker and long-time television journalist. His films include The Take and This Changes Everything. He is one of the co-authors of the Leap Manifesto and one of its leading advocates.

Opening Keynote Tickets

Conference Tickets

May 12-14, 2017


Friday May 12th

7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Keynote – Avi Lewis “Social Democracy and the Left in Canada: Past, Present, and Future”
Location: Royal Canadian Legion Branch #1
Saturday May 13th

8:30 to 9:00 a.m.


Grey Eagle Casino

Conference Welcome Address

9:00 to 9:15 a.m.

A. Plenary Session: Evolution of the CCF/NDP: Calgary and Beyond

9:15 to 10:45 a.m.

Session Chair: Jack Lucas University of Calgary
James Naylor, Brandon University, “Misunderstanding the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation of the 1930s”
Nathan Smith, PRAXIS Research Associates, “The Other Calgary Resolution: Veterans and the Politics of Reconstruction at the end of the First World War”
Murray Cooke, York University, “The CCF/NDP and Populisms of the Left and the Right”
Nutrition Break

10:45 to 11:00 a.m.

B1. The CCF/NDP and the Regions

11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Session Chair: Kirk Niergarth

 Mount Royal University

Corey Slumkoski, “Mount Saint Vincent University, Clarence Gillis, the CCF, and Atlantic Canada, 1940-1957″
Charles Deshaies, University of Maine, “The Long Journey to Nowhere; The History of the CCF in Quebec”
B2. Foreign Policy and Government Oversight     

11:00 to 12:30 p.m.

Session Chair: David Crane, Douglas-Caldwell Foundation
Rhonda Hinther, Brandon University, “Criminalizing the Left in World War II”
Asa McKercher, McMaster University, “New Party, New World, New Policy: The NDP and Alternative Visions of Canadian Foreign and Defense Policies in the 1960″
Stephanie Bangarth, King’s University College, “The Left at Home and Abroad: Broadening the Dominant Narrative of Canadian History”

12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Keynote Speaker: Jonathan Sas, Broadbent Institute

“Change the Game: A Path to Social Democratic Renewal”

C1. Social Democracy as Theory and Practice

3:00 to 4:30 p.m.

Session Chair: Karim Dharamsi

 Mount Royal University

Ken Collier, Athabasca University, “Social Democracy – In the Absence of Theory”
Sean Carleton, Mount Royal University, “A Long View of the Left: Examining Canadian Dimension’s Fifty Years of Left Publishing”
C2. Leadership 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Session Chair: Keith Brownsey

Mount Royal University

Robert McDonald, University of British Columbia, “Modernity and the Progressive Left in BC Provincial Politics, 1930s-1960s”
David McGrane, St. Thomas More College, “Laytonian Social Democracy: The Political Theory Behind the Orange Wave”
Christo Aivalis, Queen’s University, “Tommy Douglas, David Lewis, Ed Broadbent, and the Legacy of Democratic Socialism in the Federal New Democratic Party, 1968-1984″

5:00 to 6:00 p.m.


6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Keynote: Bill Blaikie, “From Contender to the Margins and Back – The NDP and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Neo-liberalism, Constitution, Culture Wars, and Social Movements”
Sunday May 14th

Breakfast Seminar

John Brewin, former NDP MP from Victoria, “Religion and the Rise of the CCF/NDP: The Invention of Modern Canada”

D1. Critiques of the NDP

9:00 to 10:30 a.m.

Session Chair: Joel French

 Public Interest Alberta

Kevin Anderson, University of Calgary, “McCarthyism in Canada: The Case of John Horne Blackmore”
Roberta Lexier, Mount Royal University, “Challenge from Within: the Waffle and Leap Manifestos”
David Blocker, Western University, “Waffling in Winnipeg and London: Canada’s New Left and the NDP, 1965-75″
D2. Unions and Activists

9:00 to 10:30 a.m.

Session Chair: Nancy Janovicek

 University of Calgary

Jennifer Hassum, United Steelworkers, “The Labour-Academia Nexus in Canadian Social Democracy”
Peter Graham, McMaster University, “People over Power: Jack Layton, the NDP and Radical Municipalism in the 1970s”
Nutrition Break

10:30 to 11:00 a.m.

E1. Neo-liberalism and the NDP 

11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Session Chair: Roberta Rice

 University of Calgary

Matt Fodor, York University, “Third Way Realignment? An Assessment of NDP Platforms Since 1980″
Jim Harding, University of Regina, “Whither Saskatchewan Today?”
E2. Handicapping the NDP Leadership Race

11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Session Chair: Jarrett Henderson

Mount Royal University

Jillian Ratti

NDP Calgary Centre Candidate 2015

Gurmit Bhachu

NDP Organizer – Calgary

Charles Deshaies

University of Maine


12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

Keynote Speaker(s):
Julia Smith & Sean Carleton, “Drawn to Change: Art, Activism, and the Graphic History Collective”
F. Closing Plenary: The Future in Print and Beyond

2:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Stephanie Bangarth, King’s University College
Roberta Lexier, Mount Royal University
Jonathan Weier, Western University