Social Democracy - The Past, Present and Future

From May 12 to May 14, the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation participated in Social Democracy and the Left in Canada: Past, Present, and Future, a conference held in Calgary.

The choice of Calgary in 2017 is significant because it connected the conference with the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation at the Royal Canadian Legion in Calgary in 1932. The CCF was a political coalition of progressive, socialist, and labour groups that wanted economic reform to help Canadians affected by the Great Depression.

From pacifism to peacekeeping, from socialism to social democracy, the CCF/NDP has had its share of successes and disappointments in Canadian federal and provincial politics. Despite the almost 85-year existence of the CCF/NDP, however, there has been relatively little academic work done on the movement and its history. That is especially true in the last 20 years. This is particularly noteworthy in comparison to the extensive body of work that exists about Canada’s other two national parties.

Organized by historians Jon Weier (Western University), Roberta Lexier (Mount Royal University), and Stephanie Bangarth (King’s University College), the conference aimed to look at this imbalance, examine the state of the NDP and the extra-parliamentary Left and provide a critical historical and current-day analysis of the state of social democracy in Canada.

 The conference featured several papers on the history of the CCF-NDP and left-wing organizations in Canada. A wide range of topics were covered from the criminalization of left-wing dissent in the first half of the 20th century in Canada to the evolution of the CCF-NDP’s ideology to “Laytonian social democracy” and the LEAP manifesto. An edited collection of the papers is expected to be published as a book sometime in the future.

 The Douglas-Coldwell Foundation was proud to have been able to take part in the conference. David McGrane, one of our Board Directors, chaired a session of the conference on our behalf. The conference proved to be an ideal setting to promote and encourage academics studying social democracy in Canada. The DCF’s presence was noted by the participants and we were able to provide more information about what we do.

Please consider contributing $20 today so that we can continue our work to promote research and education into social democracy in Canada.

Courage, my friends; 'tis not too late to build a better world.

Broadbent Institute and Douglas-Coldwell Foundation launch reflection on status of social democracy in Canada

MARCH 13, 2017                                                                              



Broadbent Institute and Douglas-Coldwell Foundation launch reflection on status of social democracy in Canada

OTTAWA — The Broadbent Institute and the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation are partnering to convene a national discussion on social democracy in Canada, on the occasion of our nation’s 150th birthday in 2017.

As the country looks to this milestone, Canadians will be reminded of the role played by the thought and practice of social democracy in fashioning much of what generations have held most dear about Canada, whether it is public health care, protection of workers’ rights, or a generous system of social provision.

“Social democracy transformed daily life in Canada and most other advanced economies in the 20th century, as governments delivered virtually full employment, rising wages and access to social programs and public services. The result was much greater equality of both condition and opportunity, enhanced security for all, and broadly shared economic progress in a still market based economy,” said Ed Broadbent, Chair of the Broadbent Institute.

“As we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, it is vitally important to reflect on this historical experience, and to re-examine the intellectual sources of social democratic achievement. An important first step is to take a closer look at Canada’s rich progressive traditions and their significant accomplishments for Canadians,” stated Karl Bélanger, President of the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation.

The initiative is being launched with the publication of a discussion paper, Reflections on the Social Democratic Tradition by the Broadbent Institute’s Senior Policy Advisor, Andrew Jackson. The paper, available here, provides a political history, overview and critical evaluation of the social democratic project in Western politics - and in Canada in particular - in this moment of upheaval, inequality and decline in democracies around the globe.

Since the 1980s, the market-restricting structures of social democracy have been under attack. As David Frum has pointed out, in launching this attack Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan deliberately set out to destroy social democracy.

“The result,” said Mr. Broadbent, “has been an increase in environmental degradation, the financial crisis of 2008 and especially the alarming increase in inequality - culminating in the rise of right-wing populism.”

Reflections on the Social Democratic Tradition will set the stage for the Broadbent Institute’s project Change the Game – an in-depth reflection on not only what history teaches us, but on what might constitute genuinely progressive policy advocacy in the months and years ahead.


For more information please contact:
Willy Blomme, Program Director at the Broadbent Institute 
[email protected] (514) 699-4636

Karl Bélanger, President of the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation
[email protected] (613) 232-1918



MARCH 9, 2017 


OTTAWA - The Douglas-Coldwell Foundation is proud to announce that the Canadian Roots Exchange has been awarded a grant to support the 5th Annual National Youth Reconciliation Conference, being held from March 27th to 29th in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

This year, the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation is awarding $1,000 dollars to the Annual National Youth Reconciliation Conference.

“The Foundation is proud to support the CRE National Youth Reconciliation Conference, stated DCF President Karl Bélanger. Their missionto build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in Canada is inspiring in many ways.”

Since 2013, Canadian Roots Exchange’s conferences have united over 600 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth from all provinces and territories through interactive youth-led dialogues to develop a national network of youth leadership to promote reconciliation between all Canadians.

The Canadian Roots Exchange was founded in 2009 by a group of youth who believed that to realize reconciliation in Canada, it would need an education and dialogue between youth to foster a wide understanding of Canada's rich indigeneity.

The Canadian Roots Exchange believe in a Canada where youth stand in solidarity to promote respect, understanding and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. It is built on the hope that a new generation of leaders can redefine and strengthen relationships between Canada's peoples.

In the past decade, the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation has provided more than $300,000 in financial aid to different ventures. Established in 1971, the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation is a registered charity.


For more information, please contact:

[email protected] 

(613) 232-1918


The Story of Mouseland Renewal Project

*The Douglas-Coldwell Foundation is proud to announce we are undertaking a renewal project for the animation of the Story of Mouseland.  Join us in ensuring this renewal happens by becoming a member or donor of the DCF today. EVERY donation made will be entered into a draw for one of two of the claymation mice used in the new animation and anyone becoming a LIFETIME member of the DCF will have their name added to the credits of the new animation. *Must be received by December 31, 2016 to qualify.

We'll be posting updates as the project progresses.

Any questions please don't hesitate to contact us.

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