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Postwar Prosperity, The Welfare State

family allowances, public acceptance, Liberal Party, support payments, Medicare

King continued in power after the war, retiring in 1948 as Canada’s longest-serving prime minister. His Liberal Party stayed in power until 1957. During this period Canada moved toward vigorous federal intervention in the economy, following the theories of British economist John Maynard Keynes, who proposed that government spending should be used to create jobs when business investment was insufficient. Job creation and prosperity became state commitments, and many new social programs such as tax incentives, veterans’ benefits, and family allowances (support payments to families with children) were introduced. The way had been paved for public acceptance of these programs during the war, when the federal government had begun some of them under its sweeping authority for wartime economic measures.

These programs were developed partly to help the Liberal Party hold off left-wing challenges. The socialist CCF, particularly, was innovative in devising social programs. The first government formed by the CCF was the provincial government that was elected in Saskatchewan in 1944. Led by Premier Thomas C. “Tommy” Douglas, Saskatchewan pioneered several social policy initiatives, particularly Medicare, a system of universal government-funded medical insurance. Medicare was introduced nationwide in 1966.

Article key phrases:

family allowances, public acceptance, Liberal Party, support payments, Medicare, Tommy, government spending, prosperity, Douglas, provincial government, business investment, social programs, Job creation, tax incentives, prime minister, Saskatchewan, federal government, King, economy, families, children, power, way, jobs


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