The Saskatchewan New Democratic Party (NDP) is a social democratic political party in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.
The party's origins lie in the Farmer-Labour Group, a political organization created by the United Farmers of Canada (Saskatchewan Section) in 1932. The FLG won 24% of the vote but only five seats in the 1934 provincial election. Following the election, the Farmer-Labour Group and the province's Independent Labour Party merged to become the Saskatchewan branch of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). The national CCF party had been founded in 1933.
In the 1944 election, the Saskatchewan CCF, led by Tommy Douglas, swept to power, forming the first socialist government in North America. The CCF/NDP has governed the province with only two interruptions since 1944.
The party's greatest accomplishment was the introduction of North America's first comprehensive system of public medical insurance or Medicare (sometimes referred to as socialized medicine). The fight to introduce Medicare in the province was intense due to the opposition of the province's doctors, backed by the American Medical Association. The AMA feared that public health care would spread to other parts of the continent if introduced in one part. The doctors staged a 23-day strike. But despite a concerted attempt to defeat Medicare, the program was introduced, and became so popular it was soon adopted across Canada.
Douglas resigned as party leader and Premier in 1961 to become the founding leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada. The NDP had been formed by a coalition of the CCF and the Canadian Labour Congress. The Saskatchewan CCF followed suit, and adopted its current name after a transitional period as the NDP-CCF.
The turmoil of the Medicare fight took its toll, however, and the NDP-CCF government of Douglas' successor Woodrow S. Lloyd was defeated at the hands of Ross Thatcher's Saskatchewan Liberal Party in the 1964 election. The party dropped the "CCF" name shortly before the 1967 election.
The NDP rebuilt itself, and returned to power in the 1971 election, under Allan Blakeney. His government was defeated in the 1982 election by the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan, led by Grant Devine.
The party returned to office in 1992, and has governed since then under the leadership of Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert.
The Romanow government was more conservative than previous CCF/NDP governments, and instituted a program of hospital closures and program cuts in order to eliminate the budget deficit inherited from Grant Devine's PC government. Romanow later quipped that he was a supporter of Tony Blair's Third Way concept before it even existed, and there were many who doubted the party's continued commitment to democratic socialism. The NDP's fiscal conservatism alienated some of its more left wing members, who left the party and merged with the Green Party supporters to form the New Green Alliance.
Romanow almost lost the 1999 election, and his government only stayed in office by forming a coalition government with the small Liberal party. Following the 2003 general election, the NDP, now under Lorne Calvert, was able to form a government on its own with a majority in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan of only one.
- M.J. Coldwell (July 27, 1932-July 17, 1936)
- George Williams (July 17, 1936-February 12, 1941)
- John Brockelbank (February 12, 1941-July 17, 1942) (leader in the legislature)
- Thomas C. Douglas (July 17, 1942-November 3, 1961)
- Woodrow Lloyd (November 3, 1961-July 4, 1970)
- Allan Blakeney (July 4, 1970-November 7, 1987)
- Roy Romanow (November 7, 1987-January 27, 2001)
- Lorne Calvert (January 27, 2001-)
See also: Saskatchewan New Democratic Party leadership conventions
- Saskatchewan NDP caucus site (http://ndpcaucus.sk.ca/)
- Saskatchewan NDP (http://www.saskndp.com/)