W. M. Martin and the Farmer's Movement in Saskatchewan 1916-1922
Since its creation in 1905 Saskatchewan, unlike its immediate neighbours, has been characterized by a political continuity represented by the Liberal Party which dominated the government until 1944 and has subsequently dominated the opposition. No party in western Canada, of any political persuasion, has a better record of longevity or electoral support. The Liberals survived numerous crises which weakened or destroyed their counterparts elsewhere: the agrarian unrest of the 1920's, the great depression, the rise of a protest movement, and twenty years of opposition. William l1elville Martin, Premier of Saskatchewan from October 1916 to April 1922, was important in enabling the Liberals to overcome their first major challenge; the entry of the farmers' movement into pol itics. During his term the Progressives made their spectacular federal debut, capturing sixty-five seats and sweeping the prairies. Provincially. farmers toppled the governments of Ontario (1919) and Alberta (1921); the Manitoba government fell in March 1922 after a 1920 election had reduced it to a minority position. In Alberta the Liberals never recovered from this collapse, while in Manitoba their identity was blurred by coalition politics. Saskatchewan Liberals escaped this turbulence intact, despite contesting an election in 1921, the worst year of discontent. Through a combination of shrewd policies and fortuitous circumstance, Martin was able to guide his party through the crisis. This thesis intends to ascertain the reasons for his success at a time when his counterparts elewhere failed.
Master of Arts (M.A.)