Friday, August 13, 2010

Saskatchewan: Pink Ink Record

Time Magazine
June 24, 1946

With no fuss or fanfare Saskatchewan last week passed its second anniversary as Canada's only socialist province. Next week, with plenty of fuss and fanfare, the voters of Morse constituency, in a critical by-election, will pass judgment on the record of their CCF Government.

Provincial Premier Thomas Douglas believes that CCF needs four years to round out its program. At the halfway mark its program looked more than halfway impressive. Saskatchewan's publicly owned industrial empire already comprises eleven Crown corporations: printing and brick plants, a woolen mill, box factory, etc.

Except for the box factory (taken over in a trade-union dispute) and an expropriated bus line, all of these were acquired by friendly negotiations with owners.

Something for All. Most of the industrial planning is done by a commission headed by an imported British socialist, George W. Cadbury (TIME, Jan. 14), who thinks all Canada will go socialist some day. Working with him is energetic Joe Phelps, head of CCF's Natural Resources Department.

They have not neglected some shrewd vote-getting, socialistic tactics. The government has planned 1) a longterm program of socialized health-&-hospital service that will cost taxpayers $5 a head per year, 2) community-housing schemes. Teachers get a minimum of $1,200 a year ($400 more than the Dominion average).

But Saskatchewan's socialism is not cheap. In its two socialist years Saskatchewan's budget (on revenue account) has soared from $30,000,000 to a proposed $40,000,000 for 1946-47, though it still boasts a small surplus. Revenues have gone up enough, thanks to good business conditions, to meet the budget boost. The trouble will come when business slackens.

Out Private Companies? Lack of money (even though the province's credit is good) may become a prime obstacle to further expansion. Private companies, watching the spread of socialized industry, are already talking of moving out of the province. Intensifying the talk: CCF's plan to impose a tax on absentee ownership.

This will make the province even less inviting to private capital. Actually, Saskatchewan has never attracted much industrial capital, one of the great reasons behind CCF's industrial policy. So far it looked as if Saskatchewan's pinks had done a good job in keeping socialism out of the red.

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