The Education Policy of the Dufferin Roblin Administration, 1958-1967
Cousins, Maureen E.
Cousins, Maureen E. The Education Policy of the Dufferin Roblin Administration, 1958-1967; A thesis submitted to the University of Manitoba in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts [in History]. Winnipeg, February 1998.
Politics and education are two of the most important, albeit controversial, institutions that make up the framework of Canadian society. Both national institutions underwent a series of dramatic changes during the Cold War Era of the late 1950s and the early 1960s, and the situation was no different in Manitoba. Because of the rapid economic, political and social changes of the post-war period, governments found themselves trying to grapple with education policy in the most cost-effective and results-oriented manner possible. The government administered by Progressive Conservative Premier Dufferin Roblin (1958-1967) inherited an education system that had not kept pace. The Roblin administration, which was on of the most active in Manitoba history, has undergone surprisingly little examination by academics, be they economists, historians, political scientists or educational analysts. Throughout its time in office, Roblin's administration made a number of significant changes to the education system, three of which will be examined at greater length in this thesis: school consolidation, the provision of enhanced public financing for private and parochial schools and the extension of Manitoba's university system. The purpose of this thesis will be to determine how the Roblin government addressed education, a policy area which generated considerable public debate. Various methods have been employed to analyze the Roblin government's education policies, including an extensive examination of primary documents such as legislative debates and proceedings, members of the legislative assembly's private papers and the unpublished memoirs of Dufferin Roblin. It is a major contention of this thesis that although the Roblin regime's policies were not always received favorably by the opposition parties, educators and educational administrators or the electorate, they were necessary to the modernization of the province. Further, this thesis asserts that the Roblin administration was more liberal than the so-called Liberal administration it had replaced. In fact, Roblin's administration often took a radical approach, given the provincial context, when trying to revitalize this key Manitoba institution.