Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Doug Taylor, 1956 - 2014

Dear friends:
I am sorry to have to report that Doug Taylor passed away on January 13, with his family at his bedside. I visited him just hours before he left us. He was in very good spirits, was not at all afraid of death, and still had his sense of humour and hearty laugh. We discussed books we liked. His funeral was held at Lakeview United Church on January 17. Doug spent his adult life doing everything he could to help those less fortunate, to expand the democratic movement, and to try to save the environment from human destruction. We will surely miss him.
John W. Warnock

Friday, November 22, 2013

James McCrorie Obituary


What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

- Robbie Burns

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of James Napier McCrorie on November 17, 2013. Jim (though always James to his mother) was born in Montreal Quebec in 1936 to Thomas and Margaret McCrorie, immigrants from Scotland. Jim is survived by his beloved wife and best friend Elaine (nee Cameron), and his children and their spouses whom he loved: Ian, Ann (Alistair Mackenzie), and Aaron (Carmen Abela). Jim was the very proud and loving grandfather of Nicole, Liam, Jenna, Kennedy. Reuben and Keira. An only child, he gained a clan-ful of siblings through the Camerons of Moore Park Manitoba - Don and Joyce Cameron, Niel and Marianne Cameron, Jean and Leo Kristjanson, Hector and Leonora Cameron. He is fondly remembered by all his nieces, nephews, dear friends and comrades of all ages and those who have described him as a second father. 

Growing up in Montreal, Jim learned to speak joual and remained proud throughout his life of his ability to speak the working man's French. He became a life long fan of the Habs and taught us all that Maurice "the Rocket" Richard was the greatest hockey player ever. Montreal remained dear to his heart throughout his life. Growing up he also learned to play the piano, and while he regretted that lessons and practice kept him from mischief with his pals, we all appreciated the magic his playing brought to many occasions.

All who knew Jim, will remember his love of the sea and trains. He came by it honestly - sailing across the Atlantic to visit his "ain falk" in Ayrshire at 16, working in the dining cars for CP Rail after high school and proudly serving in the Royal Canadian Navy. Throughout his life Jim would take the train while others would fly or drive and he had just booked his next big trip, Ottawa to Melville, when he passed away. 

Jim studied sociology at McGill University and got his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The opportunity to work with the Saskatchewan Farmers Union brought this city boy to the prairies which he came to love and provided the subject of his doctoral thesis - "In Union is Strength". It was while working in Saskatoon that Jim's friend and colleague Leo Kristjanson introduced him to Elaine Cameron. She eventually forgave Leo and married Jim in 1964 with a memorable reception at the Wright farm south of Saskatoon. Thanks to their love for each other (and Elaine's patience) they enjoyed almost 50 years of happy marriage. 

The chance to help build a new and teaching-centric program brought Jim to the newly established University of Regina in 1965. It was in Regina that Jim and Elaine raised their family - with two memorable yearlong sojourns in Scotland. As a father Jim instilled an appreciation of honest hard work, love of life and family and a social conscience in his children. And while life was busy he always found time to watch the kids play hockey, volleyball or football. The outcome did not matter, it was the effort that mattered. And as a grandfather Jim continued to teach these lessons and adored spending time with all of his grandchildren.

Jim combined a love of teaching and academia with the passion and conviction to change the world. For Jim, social activism and teaching were inseparable efforts to make the world a better, more socially and economically just place. There were victories and defeats, but the progressive struggle continued – in the classroom, through distance education and on the NDP convention floor. And where Jim wasn't active, those he taught and mentored were. 

As an academic, Jim took a particular interest in the social effects of North Sea oil development, the life and career of Scotland's Roderick MacFarquar ("The Highland Cause") and the experience of Canada's Spanish Civil War vets. Jim was among those who played a leading role in establishing the Spanish Civil War memorial in Ottawa. 

In the 1980's, Jim took a break from teaching and became Director of the Canadian Plains Research Center. The job combined his deep love of the prairies with the opportunity to continue learning and teaching by reaching out to similar social and ecological regions as far flung as Nebraska and Kazakhstan. Jim finally retired in 1996, but remained active intellectually ("The Man in the Green Truck"), politically and socially. 

Jim loved to talk with, not to, everyone. No matter where you came from, what you did, or how old you were he wanted to hear your story and learn from you. And while he was passionate in his convictions, he was respectful of those who viewed the world differently. Red-Clyde Marxists, Spanish Civil War vets, musicians, wary teenagers and former Progressive Conservative cabinet ministers were all welcome at the McCrorie dinner table. 

Jim loved to tell stories, sometimes more than once. And he had a great sense of mischief and fun. Supper time, hogmanay, the Brigadier's lunch, family reunions, visits and all those other occasions that Jim loved so much will sadly be a touch more sedate without his stories, gentle jokes and infectious laugh. 

We loved Jim and he will be missed. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Dr. Paul Schwann Centre's Cardiac Rehabilitation and Chronic Disease Prevention, Management and Risk Reduction Program at the University of Regina (3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, SK S4S 0A2) or the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (500-251 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON K2P 1X3).

Family and friends are invited to sign the online obituary and tributes page at www.regina-memorial.ca. Arrangements entrusted to - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/montrealgazette/obituary.aspx?n=james-mccrorie&pid=168122304#sthash.YvwW1aLR.dpuf

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

James N. McCrorie: 1936 - 2013

Remembering Jim McCrorie

It was a very sad moment to hear of Jim’s passing.

Jim was truly a mentor to all of us who had the privilege of being his friend through his life.

As young students he taught us what radical sociology and critical thinking were all about. Jim reflected the struggles of people from the crofters of Scotland, to the farmers of Canada as social movements for us to learn from, and to appreciate as people’s histories.

With a wry Jim McCrorie smile and humour, he would tell us what really happened in the governance of the land from Tommy Douglas to today.

He was unremitting in his socialism – but with a Scottish pragmatism – looking at outcome as well as theory.

Jim was an inside out person. He lived what he believed – never forgetting his class background – recognizing the education of many to understand the economic and social forces that shape us... as the road to a better world.

Thanks Jim for what you gave us. And as you said and wrote ..In Union Is Strength. Viva Jim!

In Solidarity

Don Kossick in Mozambique, November 18th, 2013

A Celebration of James Napier McCrorie


A traditional Gaelic social gathering, which involves, music, dancing and story telling.

In honour of James N. McCrorie

Saturday, November 30th 2013


Edna May Forbes Lecture Theatre
2900 Wascana Drive
Regina, Saskatchewan


Buy Jim's memoir "No Expectations" HERE.

"I was born on a Tuesday, at 07:40 hrs.on April 21, 1936 at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. The hospital had been founded in the late 19th century by two business adventurers (i.e. rogues) from near Craigellachie, Banffshire, Scotland. The building had been built on the northern slope of Mount Royal, just above the James McGill estate – now a university. It resembled, in style, the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. It was therefore a fitting venue for the son of Scottish immigrants to enter the world and although I was present at the event, I have no recollection of it." - From the Introduction.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Reflections on an Historic Election: Argentina Enters a New Crisis

Historic vote: The Argentinian Workers Party newspaper celebrates 1.2 million votes for the Workers and Left Front in the October mid-term elections. Credit: http://prensa.po.org.ar
By Bob Lyons
New Socialist Webzine
November 3, 2013

The historic Argentinean mid-term elections of 27 October resulted in a breakthrough for the revolutionary left, and has exposed more clearly the outline of the tendencies emerging at the time of the primary votes held in July. The political, economic and social fissures revealed by the vote can be grouped around three themes:
1.    the end of the Kirchnerist experiment and the resulting strategic incoherance of the Argentinean bourgeoisie as a whole;
2.    the radical deepening of the economic and fiscal crises of the Argentinean state expressed as a loss of political legitimacy, and a series of policy cul-de-sacs;
3.    the growing presence of a workers and social vanguard determined to resist the consequences of the global crisis as expressed locally.
In what follows we will attempt to situate the election, and especially the results for the revolutionary left, within the context of the above themes.
The Defeat of Kirchnerism
That Kirchnerism, the political strategy of first Nestor and then Cristina is over is evidenced by the vote total obtained by the Front of Victory, the electoral apparatus of a renovated Peronism. In 2011 at the time of the presidential elections, Cristina Kirchner won with 54% of the national vote. Now a brief two years later she struggled to reach 33%. At a regional level, where the byzantine web of alliances between mayors, governors and national figures are expressed, Kirchner was defeated in the all-important province of Buenos Aires by the Renovation Front of Sergio Massas, the exponent of the neo-liberalism of the industrial and agrarian establishment, by a margin of more than 10%.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Regina Labour Poster

I would guess this poster to be from the  late 1940s to early 1950s. Note Henry Baker, mayor of Regina from 1959 - 1979 and Bill Beeching, Saskatchewan leader of the Communist Party of Canada and Hub Elkin. Any more identities you can let me know about? - NYC.

Click image above to enlarge

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Privatizing health care, piece by piece


It now appears certain that Premier Brad Wall and his Saskatchewan Party government have decided to stop being so timid about the privatization of our province's health system.

Sources say the Wall government is now in serious discussions with business and health regions about contracting out or privatizing all services in our publicly funded health system that do not provide direct patient care. It looks as though many of our fellow citizens who work in maintenance, housekeeping, food services, laboratories, diagnostic imaging and health records in health facilities across our province are going to have their jobs taken over by private sector companies and their employees.

Monument: Cold War throwback

On the so-called “Monument to Victims of Communism”

Issued by the Central Executive Committee,
Communist Party of Canada
September 3, 2013

The Communist Party of Canada is appalled that the federal Conservative government will provide a massive taxpayer donation of $1.5 million under Citizenship and Immigration’s Inter-Action program, to help build a so-called “monument to victims of communism” in Ottawa. Despite opposition, approval has previously been
granted by the National Capital Commission for a site between Library and Archives Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada.

The monument project is a throwback to the sordid era of the Cold War, which resulted in a wave of anti-communist frenzy, RCMP spying, witch-hunts, blacklisting, social ostracism, imprisonment and deportations against many progressive-minded Canadians. Such policies had a terrible “chilling effect” on public discourse and sharply curtailed the freedom of expression and associated democratic and trade union rights of all Canadians. The sponsors of this monument are now attempting to revive this tragic McCarthyist era of red-baiting, which had been tossed into the dustbin of history.

Monday, September 2, 2013

More CCF Posters for Sale!

"Humanity First" CCF Poster. Professionally matted and framed. $150.00 plus S&H. No S&H and free delivery in Regina though. Click image to enlarge.

M. J. Coldwell poster. National leader of CCF. Professionally framed. $105.00 plus S&H. No S&H and free delivery in Regina though. Click image to enlarge.

Email doug.taylor@sasktel.net to order.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Regina Riot - Video

A Documentary by Ben Lies. (Badlands Productions, 2010).

Produced in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the On-to-Ottawa Trek.

CCF Posters for Sale

I tried selling these to local antique dealers. Two didn't know what the CCF was and weren't interested. The third one did but said they were too political and that "politics in this province can be dangerous" and also wasn't interested. I think I responded by stating that we don't have politics in Saskatchewan  anymore but the posters were from a time when we did. - NYC

FOR SALE -  $50.00 each or both for $90.00. Free delivery within Regina, otherwise s&h added.

To order, email doug.taylor@sasktel.net

Click image to enlarge

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of the Waffle

JUNE 25, 2012

This past weekend, June 24, marked the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of the Waffle from the NDP.

The Waffle, (actually the Movement for an Independent Socialist Canada), for those who do not know it, was a grouping of socialists, nationalists, feminists and activists that was formed in 1969 within the NDP. It was, broadly speaking, led by James Laxer* and Mel Watkins.

The Waffle was ahead of its time in many respects. In one instance, spearheaded by Krista Maeots*, the Waffle was the first group to propose the notion of gender equity within the governing structures of the NDP. Even though it was only proposed in a limited form, it was opposed and voted down by the party hierarchy, including the eventual Lewis leadership.

The Waffle also fought for the nationalization of much of Canada's resource sector and American-owned industries, sought to fight continental economic integration and sought to work towards a radically socialist Canadian economic and social strategy.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dr. Margaret Mahood fought for Medicare in Saskatchewan

Just in case you missed this fine obituary in the Globe - NYC

Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Jun. 17 2013

Dr. Margaret Mahood was the deputy superintendent of the North Battleford Mental Hospital when she was recruited to work at the new Saskatoon Community Clinic. As a socialist and a psychiatrist, Dr. Mahood supported the Medicare plan and relocated to Saskatoon. She put on her general practitioner’s hat and set up her practice at the so-called “commie” clinic.

The idealistic psychiatrist joined forces with Dr. Joan Witney-Moore, and on July 3, they opened the doors to the clinic with only their medical bags, and folding tables topped with mattresses employed as examining tables.

Socialized medicine in Canada was ahead of its time, and the Medicare program wasn’t granted an easy birth. Neither was the wife of Allan Blakeney, the health minister. He scrambled to get services for his very pregnant wife, Anne. But her Medicare-supporting doctor wasn’t afforded hospital privileges, so their baby was born at home.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Harper: Helping the rich get richer around the world

By Yves Engler
May 25, 2013

If the Harper government were honest about its policies, it would proclaim for all to hear: “Our goal is to make the rich richer.”

Many Canadians would agree that has been the effect of Conservative domestic policies, but may be surprised to learn it is also true in international affairs.

“Austerity should not be abandoned, says Canada’s finance minister,” blared a headline in London’s Financial Times earlier this month. Before recent G7 meetings Jim Flaherty told the international business paper he was worried that some officials were “pulling back” from slashing public spending and pursuing deficit targets.

A Cuban Spring?

By Roger Burbach
Apr 29 2013

This is a fruitful period of experimentation and debate in Cuba. It is now almost seven years since Raúl Castro replaced his brother Fidel, first as interim president in 2006 and then as president in 2008. Under Raúl, the country is taking steps to transform the economy, and a critical discussion is erupting over the dismantling of the authoritarian Communist model. Julio Díaz Vázquez, an economist at the University of Havana, declares: “With the updating of the economic model, Cuba faces complex challenges . . . in its social and political institutions. . . . The heritage of the Soviet model makes it necessary to break with the barriers erected by inertia, intransigence, [and] a double standard.” He adds, “These imperfections have led to deficiencies in [Cuba’s] democracy, its creative liberties, and its citizens’ participation.”1

Among the most important changes that have echoed internationally is the decree that took effect January 14 allowing Cubans to travel abroad without securing a special exit permit. Also, homes and vehicles can now be bought and sold openly, recognizing private ownership for the first time since the state took control of virtually all private property in the early 1960s.

The government is distributing uncultivated land, which constitutes about half of the countryside’s agriculturally viable terrain, in usufruct for 10 years in 10-hectare parcels with the possibility of lease renewal. To date there are 172,000 new agricultural producers. Beyond agriculture, 181 occupations filled by self-employed or independent workers such as food vendors, hair stylists, taxi drivers, plumbers, and shoe repairmen can now be licensed astrabajo por cuenta propia—self-employment. As of late 2012, about 380,000 people are self-employed in a work force of 5 million.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dr. Margaret Charlotte Mahood Passes

Published in The The Star Phoenix on May 16, 2013

Dr. Margaret Mahood (nee Fisher), 94, died peacefully May 11, 2013. Receiving loving care in the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Sally Mahood and John Conway, Margaret's last year of decline was enriched by many visits from her son, Robbie Mahood of Montreal, her many grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, and a few close friends. She was born June 14, 1918, and raised in Alameda, Saskatchewan. The eldest of three daughters who maintained close lifelong relationships, Margaret excelled academically and went on to university.

Margaret was among a small number of pioneering feminists, contributing to the early shattering of many glass ceilings faced by the women of her era. She began her career as a teacher, and while teaching in Rockglen, Saskatchewan, met fellow teacher Ed Mahood. They married in 1942 and had two children, Robbie in 1946 and Sally in 1950. With the devoted support of Ed, Margaret later studied medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and then McGill, one of a handful of women in the graduating class of 1955. She went on to specialize in psychiatry.