Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
Geography: 1914-1929 Geography: 1914-1929 Geography: 1930-1939

National Progressive Party

The National Progressive Party was formed in 1920 when Thomas Crerar led dissident federal Liberals to unite with Ontario and prairie farmers from the Canadian Council of Agriculture. The party campaigned on a platform of public ownership of railways, free trade and direct democracy. During the 1921 federal election, the Progressive Party won 65 seats, allowing it to make deals to support the minority Liberal government in exchange for passing some legislation that reflected the Progressives’ ideals. For example, the party had campaigned on a reduction of the federal tariff on imported farm machinery and a reduction in freight rates and, in 1922, Prime Minister Mackenzie King eliminated the tariff on farm machinery and lowered freight rates to their 1897 levels. Although the Progressives steadily lost influence during later decades, until their collapse in 1942 due to lack of party unity, their success showed that many Canadians were dissatisfied with the two existing political parties, and illustrated how power-sharing could work in a minority government.

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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010