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Eliason, Frank (1883–1956)

Frank Eliason.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-A10415

Frank Eliason was born January 13, 1883, in Sweden. In 1902 he emigrated to the United States and lived in Minneapolis until 1910. His American experiences led him to conclude that the producers of wealth, the labourers and the farmers, should unite to build a co-operative society. In 1910 Eliason came to Wynyard. Soon he was secretary of the Saskatchewan Grain Growers Association local. He coordinated bulk buying for local farmers, supported the organization of the wheat pool and in the 1920s was active in the Progressive Party. In 1929 Eliason became the provincial secretary of the United Farmers of Canada (Saskatchewan Section), the successor to the SGGA. From its office in Saskatoon he administered the UFC during the Great Depression. His salary, with which he supported eight children whom he raised alone after the tragic death of his wife in 1921, was greatly reduced. In 1932 the UFC and the Saskatchewan Independent Labour Party met in Saskatoon and created the Farmer-Labour Party, the forerunner of the Saskatchewan CCF. Eliason served a dual role as secretary of both the new party and the UFC and directed day-to-day activities from UFC headquarters. The CCF was created at the 1932 Calgary conference, and Eliason’s draft document was accepted as the basis for the program the party adopted. At the first CCF convention in 1933 Eliason moved the motion that the Regina Manifesto be adopted as a whole. Eliason continued as secretary of the UFC until it was reorganized as the Saskatchewan Farmers Union in 1949. He died March 22, 1956.

George Hoffman

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Further Reading

Eliason, Frank. n.d. “Biography of a Swedish Emmigrant” [sic]. Typescript. Saskatchewan Archives Board; Hoffman, George. 1979. “The Saskatchewan Farmer-Labour Party, 1932–1934: How Radical Was It at Its Origins?” Pp. 210–24 in D.H. Bocking (ed.), Pages from the Past: Essays on Saskatchewan History. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books.
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