Doctoral candidate examines the creation of the NDP

Jul 17, 2013

Lynn Gidluck
Lynn Gidluck, author of Visionaries, Crusaders and Firebrands: The Idealistic Canadians Who Built the NDP, examines the roots of today's official opposition party. Photo: U of R External Relations

Eighty years ago this summer, the Regina Manifesto was crafted, and later became a building block in the creation of the Commonwealth Co-operative Federation (CCF), the forerunner of today’s New Democratic Party. A new book by Lynn Gidluck entitled Visionaries, Crusaders and Firebrands: The Idealistic Canadians Who Built the NDP, examines the roots of the official opposition party.

Gidluck, who earned a BA in history and an MA in political science from the University of Regina, is a fourth-year PhD student at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

“During my first year of university, I was fortunate to take classes from some of the best teachers at the University of Regina — people who were passionate about the subjects they were teaching. More importantly, they challenged me to be a better writer and researcher, and to develop critical thinking skills,” Gidluck says.

Her idea for the book began in 2004, and she found an abundance of material about the key players in the CCF and NDP, but “very little had been written in a publicly accessible format about the party’s founding principles and its official policy framework, the Regina Manifesto.”

Writing the book took longer than expected because of an increase in the topic’s popularity.

“With the historic breakthrough for the NDP in the election of May 2011 and the subsequent passing of Jack Layton, interest in the NDP was at an all-time high,” Gidluck explains.

Since its release a year ago, Visionaries, Crusaders and Firebrands has received positive reviews. Robin Sears explains that Gidluck’s “finely detailed work reflects her training as a researcher, and her breezy style makes this a far more accessible history than most.” Echoing Sears’ praise, Francis Lankin says, “Gidluck makes a valuable contribution to the chronicling of Canadian political history.”

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