Dream No Little Dreams - The Book

About the book   Foreword by Greg Marchildon  


About Dream No Little Dreams

A.W. Johnson with the assistance of Rosemary Proctor

In 1944, the people of Saskatchewan elected the first socialist government in North America. Dream No Little Dreams is the biography of that government, led by the great Tommy Douglas of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF, later the New Democratic Party). It is a history of the life of the CCF and a case study in the art and practice of governing; partly a study in the policy decisions of the government, and partly an insider's view. A.W. Johnson – a senior public servant in Saskatchewan during most of the Douglas years – begins by introducing the government's central mission – the transformation of the role of the state – and describes how it achieved this goal over some seventeen years.

Johnson analyses the roots of the CCF in Saskatchewan history and prairie politics, and its philosophy as it prepared to govern. He describes the policies and programs introduced by the Douglas government, the changes to the machinery of government and the processes of governing, and the creation of a professional public service.

Medicare is viewed by many as the greatest achievement of the Douglas government. Dream No Little Dreams offers rich insight into the initial planning stages of Medicare and details the protracted struggle with the medical profession that followed as Douglas fought to implement it. Johnson also addresses the question of how socialists were going to pay for all their ambitions, and situates the answer in the context of developments in national policy and in federal-provincial fiscal arrangements from the war years through to the 1960s.

A.W. Johnson was a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto and a deputy minister for various provincial (Saskatchewan) and federal government departments.

Praise for Dream No Little Dreams:

'In its PhD dissertation form, Dream No Little Dreams has been something of an underground “classic” among prairie historians and public administration scholars who have used it for years. This new version makes this important story available to a much wider audience and will be of special interest as the growth of scholarly debate around the founding of Medicare heats up. A.W. Johnson's meticulous and close reading of the archival data is both a hallmark of good historical scholarship and a useful source of information for scholars in the field.'

- Ken Rasmussen, Faculty of Administration,
University of Regina

This description is reprinted with permission from the University of Toronto Press Catalogue



Foreword to Dream No Little Dreams

By Greg Marchildon
Canada Research Chair in Public Policy and Economic History
Graduate School of Public Policy
University of Regina, Saskatchewan


To read the foreword to Dream No Little Dreams, click on the PDF icon here pdf icon

Reprinted with permission from Dream No Little Dreams: A Biography of the Douglas Government in Saskatchewan, 1944-1961 by A.W. Johnson. Published by University of Toronto Press, 2004.