"There is no land suitable for agriculture": progress and agriculture in post-World War II Saskatchewan
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This thesis is an examination of the relationship between ideology, public policy and environmental reality. This examination is set in the context of post-World War II Saskatchewan and the policies established to accommodate returned veterans and reconstruct the province's society and agricultural economy. Canadians believed that the Allied victory symbolized the rightness of the North American way of life. Canadians also believed that technological innovations achieved during the Second World War would translate into prosperity for the country's citizens. The belief that technology could create prosperity is one that this work calls the ideology of progress. From this ideology of progress grew what political scientist and anthropologist James C. Scott calls high modernist ideology. High modernist ideology was characterized by technocratic planning and organization of society and the economy. The federal Veterans' Land Act and the provincial Carrot River project are policies that can be studied through the framework of high modernist ideology. Both policies involved planning and organization of agriculture as well as government supervision of veterans' farming operations. This thesis argues that policy reflects ideology, often with no regard to environmental factors. The case study of the Carrot River project gives evidence to the fact that planning and organization cannot change the natural environment in which policies function.