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Political Science Communism & Socialism

Social Planning for Canada

The 1935 classic of Canadian socialist thought

edited by Michael Bliss

University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Initial publish date
Dec 1975
Communism & Socialism, Social Policy, History & Theory, Canadian, Economic Policy
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 1975
    List Price

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The League for Social Reconstruction was formed in 1932 to provide an analysis of the capitalist system and to define the social goal toward which political action should be directed. Early in its history the need was seen for a comprehensive book bringing together important pieces of individual research and spelling out in some detail a plan of social and political action based on the LSR Manifesto, the declaration of the League's principles and plan of action.


Social Planning for Canada, published in 1935, was the result of this perception and marked a turning point in Canadian political history. It was the first comprehensive democratic socialist book about Canada. The authors, who freely admitted their debt to Fabianism, provided a historical and critical survey of Canadian conditions and applied the ideas of planning and social democracy to the Canadian scene, attempting throughout to write in 'specifically Canadian terms.' The first part of the book surveys and analyses the economic system, documenting the LSR Manifesto statement that 'the present capitalist system has shown itself unjust and inhuman, economically wasteful, and a standing threat to peace and democratic government.' The longer part of the book 'What Socialist Planning Really Means,' deals with the application of the principles and policies of social reconstruction.


Social Planning for Canada exerted great influence on policies and platforms of the CCF and indirectly on those of the other parties. It is the most comprehensive study by the Canadian left of an economic and social alternative to Canadian capitalism.

About the author

Michael Bliss was a Canadian historian and a University Professor Emeritus in the Department of History and the History of Medicine Program at the University of Toronto. He was the author of numerous award-winning books in business and political history as well as the history of medicine, including popular biographies of Sir Frederick Banting, Sir William Osler, and Harvey Cushing. He was an Officer of the Order of Canada, an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the first historian to be inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

Michael Bliss' profile page

Other titles by Michael Bliss