Keeping Canada British
308 pages, 6 x 9
16 b&w photos
Release Date:01 Jan 2014
Release Date:03 Jun 2013
Release Date:31 May 2013

Keeping Canada British

The Ku Klux Klan in 1920s Saskatchewan

UBC Press

The Ku Klux Klan had its origins in the American South in the post-Civil War period. It was suppressed but rose again in the 1920s when it enjoyed widespread support throughout the United States and spread into Canada, especially Saskatchewan, where it took root and flourished. There it won widespread support and helped bring down the Liberal government and elect the Conservative party in the 1929 provincial election.

James Pitsula offers a new interpretation for the appeal of the Ku Klux Klan in 1920s Saskatchewan. He argues that the Klan should not be portrayed merely as an irrational outburst of intolerance and hatred but rather as a populist aftershock of the First World War. Fearing that the hard-won victory to keep Canada British was being undone by massive immigration from Central and Eastern Europe, many Saskatchewanians sought to reverse the trend. The Klan represented a slightly more extreme version of mainstream opinion and, although a racist organization, it eschewed violence, followed constitutional methods, and eventually rejected robes and hoods.

Keeping Canada British tackles a controversial issue central to the history of Saskatchewan and the formation of national identity. In seeking to understand the 1920s Ku Klux Klan in all of its strange complexity, this book shines light upon a dark corner of Canada’s past.

This book also is written to appeal to readers of all types with an interest in Canadian history.

A book on the Ku Klux Klan in Canada is long overdue. This very important work adds immensely to the field and deserves a wide audience. James Pitsula has successfully added to a growing corpus of work that provides evidence of the thoroughly racial nature and orientation of the Canadian state from its founding to the present day. Barrington Walker, Department of History, Queen’s University
Keeping Canada British is a welcome addition to the literature on the Ku Klux Klan in Saskatchewan and on the larger question of a multicultural western Canada in the first third of the twentieth century. Based on an impressive amount of research and written in clear and engaging prose, this work presents an in-depth assessment of the Klan from several key perspectives. Bill Waiser, Professor of History and A.S. Morton Distinguished Research Chair, University of Saskatchewan
James M. Pitsula is a professor of history at the University of Regina.


1 The Ku Klux Klan Comes to Saskatchewan

2 Jimmy Gardiner Attacks the Klan

3 The Battle Rages

4 The Klan Rampant

5 Race and Immigration

6 Anti-Catholicism

7 The Threat of Moral Disorder

8 Rage against the Machine


Notes; Bibliography; Index

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