The strength of community and dangers of isolation are lessons that
Saskatchewan residents learned early. The economics of agriculture in Saskatchewan
have led to the rise of co-operative movements such as The Saskatchewan Grain Growers
Association (1901), the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool (1924), the Municipal Hail Insurance
Association (1917), The Co-operative Elevator Company (1917) (Stirling 17). The
socio-political landscape of this province has been unmistakably co-operative in nature.
The CCF/NDP were the first socialist government elected in North America in 1944. But
Saskatchewan public institutions such as publicly owned utilities, the Saskatchewan
Transit Company (STC Buses, 1946), Saskatchewan Government Insurance (1945), and
Medicare (1960s) were, for most of the twentieth century, maintained by provincial
governments of various political stripes (eb.com/eb/article-43201Government policies).74
The arts community in Saskatchewan has also benefited from efforts to relieve
isolation. The University of Saskatchewan’s Extension Division began outreach to the
province soon after the U of S was established in 1907. The Saskatchewan Arts Board,
founded in 1948, was the first organization of its kind in North America. It continues
working to enhance artistic opportunities for amateur and professional artists. Today,
many arts organizations continue to work to support Saskatchewan artists, for example
the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild and the Saskatchewan Playwrights’ Centre.
The historic danger of isolation has bred an awareness of the value of community
in endeavours beyond mere survival. Cooperation and community are a part of the ethos
of Saskatchewan which percolates through the themes and subject matter of plays written
for Saskatchewan radio listeners. Thus isolation and the struggle to relive it have
continued to be an important and recurring theme of Saskatchewan radio plays written
See Appendix E: Timeline for more.