Waffle

Waffle, a group established in 1969 as a caucus within the New Democratic Party. Its members' choice of name was self-consciously ironic. It issued a Manifesto for an Independent Socialist Canada which demanded that Canadian public ownership replace American private ownership; subsequent Waffle statements called for Québec's right to self-determination and for an independent Canadian labour movement. Its politics were militantly socialist and nationalist, a Canadian manifestation of widespread and diverse political ferment, which included opposition to the Vietnam War, the support of New Left politics on the campuses of N America and Europe, and a burgeoning women's movement. University professors Mel Watkins and James Laxer were the Waffle's national leaders; in 1971 Laxer was the runner-up to David Lewis for the leadership of the federal NDP. The Waffle was also organized provincially, particularly in Ontario and Saskatchewan. Purged from the Ontario NDP in 1972, it became a separate political group. It disintegrated in 1974, except for a surviving remnant in Saskatchewan. Many of its members slowly drifted back into the NDP.