M.J. Coldwell

As MP for Rosetown-Biggar (Sask) 1935-58, he was a polished performer in the House of Commons from the first. He disagreed with Woodsworth (who was a pacifist) on the war in 1939, and Coldwell and the majority of the CCF supported Canada's participation in WWII.
As MP for Rosetown-Biggar (Sask) 1935-58, he was a polished performer in the House of Commons from the first. He disagreed with Woodsworth (who was a pacifist) on the war in 1939, and Coldwell and the majority of the CCF supported Canada's participation in WWII.


Coldwell, Major James William

Coldwell, Major James William

 Major James William Coldwell, "M.J.," teacher, politician (b at Seaton, Eng 2 Dec 1888; d at Ottawa 25 Aug 1974). One of the founders of the CO-OPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH FEDERATION, he succeeded J.S. WOODSWORTH as national CCF leader, 1942-60. Coldwell came to Canada as a teacher in 1910; he stayed briefly in Alberta and then moved to Regina. He first achieved national prominence as a leader in teachers' organizations, 1924-34. Also a popular alderman in Regina, he developed strong links with socialist labour and farm organizations. When the Great Depression came, he was a natural choice for leader of the new Saskatchewan Farmer-Labour Party in 1932 (which became a part of the CCF) and fought a strenuous campaign in the Saskatchewan general election of 1934, attracting enormous crowds; but the party sent only 5 members to the legislature against 47 Liberals. Himself defeated, Coldwell moved to the national scene.

As MP for Rosetown-Biggar (Sask) 1935-58, he was a polished performer in the House of Commons from the first. He disagreed with Woodsworth (who was a pacifist) on the war in 1939, and Coldwell and the majority of the CCF supported Canada's participation in WWII. His support of collective security was reinforced and he was a member of the Canadian delegation to the founding of the United Nations in 1945. He presided over both the peak of CCF support in the mid-1940s and its slow decline throughout the 1950s, leading the party in 5 general elections. His views seemed to moderate as more of the CCF's social welfare program was implemented by other governments, but he remained convinced of the need for a democratic socialist party. He was named to the Privy Council of Canada in 1964 and made Companion of the Order of Canada in 1967.


Further Reading

  • M.J. Coldwell, Left Turn, Canada (1945).

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