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“Waffle” designates an organization of New Left political activists who sought to transform the New Democratic Party (NDP) during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The group originated out of a collection of Ontario academics who were concerned about the growing Americanization of Canada and the lack of a strong left-wing party to incorporate the growing youth movements of the 1960s. Believing the NDP provided the best vehicle for their reforms, the Waffle released its platform “For a Strong Socialist Independent Canada” (Waffle Manifesto) at the 1969 federal NDP convention in Winnipeg. The document was highly controversial and was defeated by convention. However, the Waffle received support from some within the Saskatchewan NDP, particularly winning over some in the old populist wing of the party. A loose group of Waffle supporters contested the provincial party executive election at the 1969 provincial NDP convention and won a majority; but the Waffle became embroiled in a variety of conflicts with the party, and they gradually lost influence. The group had difficultly winning party nominations, but managed to nominate and then elect John Richards as an NDP MLA from Saskatoon-University. The Waffle left the NDP in 1973; divided by internal ideological strife, the organization withered slowly until its dissolution in the early 1980s.

Brett Quiring

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Further Reading

Gruending, D. 1990. Promises to Keep: A Political Biography of Allan Blakeney. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books.
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