Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan
In May of that year, a second meeting of eighty representatives from fifty organizations established an “interim planning group” in order to initiate the process of organizing the coalition and planning an event to protest the fiscally conservative provincial budget. The result brought out some 7,000 people to march on the Saskatchewan Legislature on June 20, 1987—the largest demonstration in the province’s history. Shortly thereafter, the SCSJ was officially founded in October 1987 and held its first “Peoples Convention” at Saskatoon in April 1988. By that time it had also associated itself with the Pro-Canada Network, a national anti-free-trade coalition, and thus became involved in the effort to sway public opinion against the proposed Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement. Many members of the group campaigned against the Devine government in the provincial election of 1991 as well, in which the Progressive Conservatives were defeated by the New Democratic Party led by Roy Romanow.
Despite the early enthusiasm generated by the SCSJ, the organization had a turbulent history over the next years. A number of commentators have hinted that “coalition movements” such as the SCSJ were little more than an expedient association of leaders from various social and political organizations, which had neither significant input from the membership of its constituent groups, nor the ability to mobilize large numbers of people except for the occasional short-term event that might temporarily energize their membership. An even more serious problem, as might be expected in such a broad collection of groups, was that conflict and suspicion soon emerged, particularly between the more moderate members of the labour and farm groups, and other more left-leaning activists.
Also read Saskatchewan and the New Green Alliance