The Prairie Populist
George Hara Williams and the Untold Story of the CCF
George Hara Williams was the most successful of the early leaders of the CCF in Saskatchewan. But his role in the party was undermined by Tommy Douglas and M. J. Coldwell, and now he is almost forgotten.
The populist who mobilized farmers of the province to support a socialist platform, he was one of five MLAs elected in the 1934 election, becoming Leader of the Opposition. He firmly supported socialists participating in the struggle against fascism, including military action, a position not held by everyone in the party. While Williams was serving overseas, a campaign to replace him as leader, led by Coldwell and Douglas, was successful.
The full story of Williams’ role in building the CCF and bringing it to the threshold of power, and the party machinations leading to his defeat as leader, has until now, been never fully documented.
"Why did a socialist party emerge in Saskatchewan, and how did it become so deeply entrenched in an overwhelmingly agricultural province? Why did Saskatchewan become Canada's CCF province?. ... In this important book, Conway argues. .. that the CCF in Saskatchewan at its heart was a rural phenomenon. Its radicalism was rural; it was the farmers who turned to democratic socialism. And, John Conway shows that George Hara Williams was at the centre of what occurred. " —Labour / Le Travail