J. S. Woodsworth

James Shaver Woodsworth (July 29, 1874 – March 21, 1942) was a pre–First World War pioneer of the Canadian Social Gospel, a Christian religious movement with social democratic values and links to organized labour. He was a long-time leader and publicist in the movement and was an elected politician under the label, serving as MP from 1921 to his death in 1942. He helped found the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), a forerunner of today's New Democratic Party (NDP), in 1932.


J. S. Woodsworth
1st Leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
In office
August 1, 1932  March 21, 1942
Preceded bynew party
Succeeded byMajor James Coldwell
1st National Chairman of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
In office
1932–1938
Preceded bynew party
Succeeded byMajor James Coldwell
Member of the House of Commons of Canada
In office
October 29, 1925  March 21, 1942
Preceded bynew constituency
Succeeded byStanley Knowles
ConstituencyWinnipeg North Centre
In office
December 6, 1921  October 29, 1925
Preceded byGeorge William Andrews
Succeeded byconstituency abolished
ConstituencyWinnipeg Centre
Personal details
Born
James Shaver Charleston Woodsworth

(1874-07-29)July 29, 1874
Etobicoke, Ontario
DiedMarch 21, 1942(1942-03-21) (aged 67)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Political party
Spouse(s)
Lucy Staples
(m. 1903)
ChildrenGrace MacInnis
Alma mater
OccupationAuthor, lecturer, minister, secretary, social activist, teacher

While studying at Oxford, he became interested in social welfare, and upon his return to Canada as a minister of the Methodist church he preached the Social Gospel to the poor and the working classes of Manitoba. As the superintendent of the All People's Mission in Winnipeg and the secretary of the Canadian Welfare League he focused on investigating social conditions, worked with immigrants, and campaigned for social welfare.

Woodsworth's focus on social issues and inequality led him to become active in the political labour movement in Canada. He led the protest campaign following the brutal police action which caused one person to be killed during the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919 and helped to organize the Manitoba Independent Labour Party (ILP). He ran and was elected to the House of Commons as a member of the ILP in 1921. In 1932 during the Great Depression, Woodsworth and the ILP along with other socialist and labour groups founded the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), with Woodsworth as its leader. The CCF, Canada's first socialist party, evolved into today's New Democratic Party.[1] Woodsworth influenced many of Canada's contemporary social programs including social assistance, pensions and medicare.