Tag Archives: Social Democrat

Allan Blakeney & The New Politics

The New Politics

Blakeney was a maverick, The Arab of Potash and indefatigable. Blakeney didn’t believe in Made-in-Canada (Ottawa) oil prices. The Tories were emerging once again with business donations. Blakeney was on vacation in 1978 when Trudeau declared he would wait until 1979 for an election. The polls were Tory Blue. Blakeney had to go in 1978 for fear of a tidal was of blue support. The Liberals had collapsed in 1975. Collver had leadership issues. He had a Swiss bank account. Knight learned negative campaigning for the US. It was an all out negative campaign calling Collver the “Nixon of the Prairies”. The Toronto Star called Blakeney Canada’s best premier. Blakeney ran against Trudeau on resource and Collver on trust. The NDP won 48 percent of the vote in 1978. In an incident in Regina, a very bitter Collver congratulated Wes Robbins on winning the campaign. On the steps of the legislature, Collver insulted Robbins’ mother and Robbins – a mild-mannered man – delivered a haymaker, sending the Tory leader tumbling down the steps. Collver resigned as leader of the Tories and stood as an independent advocating Canadian annexation into the US. He then moved to Arizona. The NDP did extensive polling during the election. The NDP farm vote was seriously dying by this point. The Crow Rate was a major policy issue he would forward later.

Based on: Promises to Keep

Allan Blakeney Uranium in Saskatchewan

Uranium in Saskatchewan

The CCF had a longstanding social cleavage of supporters against nuclear-proliferation. Uranium was discovered in Saskatchewan’s north in 1935. Uranium went bust once the US stockpile was exceeding in 1959. It was largely military demand but Blakeney didn’t see Saskatchewan as participating in nuclear war; rather he believed international law was the problem not mining for uranium. A uranium refinery was built in the 1970s near Warman. Peter Prebble was an anti-nuclear participating at the UN summit on the aggressive expansion of nuclear power technology. Blakeney shuffled cabinet when there was disagreement there was questions over the environmental impact of Amok’s Cluff Lake project. Blakeney avoided a moratorium on the issue but promised an inquiry. There was a leak at Cluff Lake. The CCF was created to create institutional protection for farmers against the 19th century capitalism of banks railroads and grain merchants. Blakeney was never compelled by this philosophy. Blakeney and the middle generation were keen while the Prebble generation was staunch environmentalists. While an inquiry net on the pieces fell to place. Blakeney promise 3 billion in revenue and royalties. In 1978 uranium was not an election issue and Blakeney won a majority. Church religious groups opposed nuclear refineries in Warman. Blakeney asked how it was moral to deprive the world of new energy when it was in short supply. The uranium debate was an annual ritual at the NDP conventions throughout this period. Prebble was anti-nuclear and angered Blakeney at the NDP federal convention where the pro-nuclear faction was crushed in policy discussions.

Based on: Promises to Keep

Allan Blakeney on the North & New Deal ’75

The North

Half of Saskatchewan is forest and lake. This northern half is largely populated by First Nations (formerly referred to as Indians). By the 1950 and 60s, the life expectancy of aboriginals had risen as well as their population. They way of life was changing, there wasn’t much they or government could do about it. Thatcher, Lloyd and Douglas all believed in integration for native peoples in order to share the wealth and prosperity of all Saskatchewanians. By the 1970s, Métis and aboriginal nationalism was emerging. Blakeney helped establish aboriginal programs to support social services. Blakeney wanted the southern rural model of governance in one department for the north. The Department of Natural Resources would lose some turf. Young academics were brought into to administer the new department. They had little faith in aboriginal people. Blakeney’s relationship with Métis leader Jim Sinclair was touchy. The aboriginals in Fort Qu’Appelle had been pushed off their land and into welfare, but Sinclair felt there was hope in the north. Blakeney’s government accused Sinclair of stealing from the Métis Society for a vacation to Mexico. The Métis Society had a deficit well over their annual budget. Sinclair blamed the government when he refused to hold a general meeting for the Métis Society. Sinclair threatened violence. Blakeney had an easier time with the First Nations. Their relationship was one of “treaty-trust relationship.” The NDP was prepared to respect the treaty rights BUT since the Métis had not treaty rights, the NDP were not willing to give them special rights because this conflicted with the socialist-egalitarian philosophies. Blakeney’s government hardly dealt with the problems of First Nations in cities.

New Deal ‘75

The economy was doing very well in 1974-75. New growth was occurring with the price of commodities rising in wheat and oil. Secondary industry was not moving fast enough and the 71 promise of nationalization had not occurred. Several factories that were supposed to be built in Saskatchewan didn’t get off the drawing board during this period. Many civil servants moved into elected politics for the NDP. The opposition changed from Liberal to Conservative dominance. Bill 42, which would tax oil companies, the Land Bank program as a communist project was points of attack for both the Liberals and Conservatives. Blakeney campaigned on anti-Liberal government of Ottawa, improving rural life, diversification of the economy. The Liberals fought a hard-nosed, fear-mongering campaign. The NDP fought hard but lost six seats, three belonging to cabinet ministers and dropped 15 percentage points compared to 1971. His opposition was split. Blakeney figured that he should slow the introduction of policies and that Pierre Trudeau’s lack of popularity made him a perfect target for Blakeney.

Based on: Promises to Keep

Allan Blakeney & The Farm

The Farm & Allan Blakeney

Allan Blakeney has to assuage rural farmers in order to secure their support. During the 1971 campaign, he criticized the federal Liberal’s policy on farm subsidization. He was interested in protecting the small capitalist farmer against the interests of the Bay street bullies. The left wing of the NDP wanted a Land Bank as an alternative to private ownership with long-term leases on publicly-owned land. In the New Deal for People it was on the table. In 1972, the Land Bank was created. By 1975, the commission had 600,000 acres of land, and it had 1,300 lessees. The suspicion of patronage frequently accompanied the distribution of land. Many farmers applied while only a handful received leases. This angered many rural supporters. The Land Bank was also undermined by farming prosperity in the mid-1970s. The program was perceived as a socialist program where farmers were mere tenants to government and not a transfer system. Blakeney attempted to improve the quality of transportation and rural infrastructure. Saskatchewan farmers have made the CCF a government and yet they opposed the Land Bank program. Blakeney was not able to revitalize the farming communities of Saskatchewan and the NDP became an exceedingly urban party.

Based on: Promises to Keep

Allan Blakeney & The Premier Politician

Premier Politician

Blakeney is a shy man. He doesn’t like campaigning. He is far more engaged with administration and policy. He is not interested in organizing a candidate slate or campaign strategy. He was very precise with people. He did not appreciate sycophantic staff. He listened to what people were saying not what they were conveying: he dissected conversations. Blakeney had trouble remembering faces. Blakeney used to talk to himself publicly. Blakeney did not appreciate the anti-native sentiment growing in rural and urban Saskatchewan. Blakeney knew that he needed to expand the NDP tent in Saskatchewan. He delegated internal party organizing and campaign planning to others. Blakeney controlled the NDP conventions agenda tightly and manipulated panels and plenary session to come up with their policy ideas. The Waffle was being pushed out of the party in the early 1970s. The Federal NDP had removed Jim Laxer from wining the nomination. Blakeney never pushed them out but they were diminished until they no longer existed. Blakeney was a great administrator but not a great politician. He could move from issue to issue easily but never convey the message that effectively. He was not a populist leader and many unfairly compared him to Douglas.

Based on: Promises to Keep

Allan Blakeney on the New Deal ’71

New Deal ‘71

Ross Thatcher called an election for June 23rd, 1971. Thatcher was a grandiose, bombastic public speaker fighting against “little Allan in wonderland”. Blakeney was not TV friendly so the NDP played up the team strategy. Allan conferred with teachers, trade unionists and native leaders who were alienated by Thatcher. The New Deal for People was 21 pages dealing with Agriculture, Values of Rural Life, Labour, Taxation, Resource etc & attacks on Liberal mismanagement and sell outs. There were over 100 promises in it. There were not costs or figures. As expected, Thatcher attacked it which Blakeney claims would move the NDP forward. Thatcher painted the campaign as another round in the battle between free enterprise versus socialism. It was a one man show with banners reading “Saskatchewan is Proud of Ross Thatcher.” His healthy was already weakening. Blakeney charges that Saskatchewan’s population had dropped since 1964 by 17,000 people. The NDP did not use poling but canvassers placing voters in the supporter, undecided and hostile categories. Blakeney tied Thatcher with the federal liberals famously stating “A Liberal is a Liberal is a Liberal.” Allan promised low interest loans to young farmers. The NDP attacked on selling out Saskatchewan resources to Americans on potash. On June 23rd, 1971, the NDP won 45 of 60 seats and grabbed 55 percent of the popular vote.

Based on: Promises to Keep

Allan Blakeney on Leadership

Leadership & Blakeney

Blakeney announced his candidacy in April of 1969. His campaign would be unexciting and modest. Roy Romanow declared his candidacy in May at age 31. Romanow lied about his age claiming he was 34. He had the support of some heavy hitters in Regina. He was blamed for Lloyd’s removal. He was the right wing faction’s choice. He was photogenic, charismatic, inspiring + ready for TV. The two agreed not to attack each other during the campaign. Blakeney spoke like a Rhodes Scholar. He didn’t have many loyal supporters within the party. He was far more experienced however. His campaign called for a) uniting the party, b) defeating the anti-NDP factions. On the perennial issue of farming, Blakeney promised the Land Bank idea which was to buy land and lease it back to farmers. Romanow opposed this policy. The centre piece of the campaign was a series of town-hall meetings. The Waffle candidate imploded during the race. The convention saw a first ballot *R: 320 and B: 286 with George Taylor Waffle: 187. On the third ballot Blakeney gaining 100 votes, largely from the Waffle faction he didn’t upset as much as Romanow.

Based on: Promises to Keep