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Imperfect Union Series

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A four-part series examining the relationship of orgainzed labour and political parties of the left in Canada. Imperfect Union: Canadian Labour and the Left - Part 1 - International Background - Canadian Roots: A look at the Industrial Revolution and the birth of trade unions and democratic socialism. The influence of British, American and European immigration, American unions, World War I and other events provide a backdrop to the evolution of the Canadian labour-socialist alliance (54 min. 30 sec.). Imperfect Union: Canadian Labour and the Left - Part 2 - Born of Hard Times: R.B. Bennett refuses to combat the Great Depression with unbalanced budgets and government spending. Many turn to communism. The 1937 General Motors strike in Oshawa gives the Congress of Industrial Organizations a toehold, but Canada's unions remain blocked by restrictive labour laws and, like the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), locked in struggle with communist rivals (51 min. 32 sec.). Imperfect Union: Canadian Labour and the Left - Part 3 - Falling Apart and Getting Together: World War II turns Canada into an industrial power, and creates a mass trade-union movement. Mackenzie King responds with unemployment insurance and full legal status for unions. In 1944, the CCF comes to power in Saskatchewan, under Tommy Douglas. The Canadian Labour Congress is formed in 1956, the New Democratic Party is formed in 1961 (53 min. 19 sec.). Imperfect Union: Canadian Labour and the Left - Part 4 - New Party, Old Problems: The NDP under its first three leaders: Tommy Douglas, David Lewis and Ed Broadbent. Labour support for the NDP is weaker than expected. Between 1979 and 1988, the Canadian Labour Congress mounts major election campaigns for the NDP, with disappointing results. Another falling-out with labour occurs after the 1988 'free trade' election, and Broadbent steps down as leader (58 min. 8 sec.).

1996, 217 min 29 s

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