Tommy Douglas

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  • Topic: Canada, New Democratic Party, Tommy Douglas
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  • Published : December 4, 2012
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Tommy Douglas (October 20, 1904 - February 24, 1986)
Thomas “Tommy” Douglas was the seventh Premier and CCF leader of Saskatchewan; he amended the province of Saskatchewan and initiated many social reforms in the rest of Canada. Tommy Douglas is considered Canada’s “Father of Medicare” because of his introduction of universal hospitalization in Saskatchewan in 1949 and a Medicare plan for Saskatchewan in 1959. Later after Douglas moved from Scotland to Winnipeg, his infected knee got worse and he was sent to hospital where doctors suggested that his leg should be amputated. Luckily, a famous surgeon agreed to treat the boy for free if his students could observe. This experience influenced his thoughts about health care. "I felt that no boy should have to depend either for his leg or his life upon the ability of his parents to raise enough money to bring a first-class surgeon to his bedside". In late 1919, Douglas witnessed the Winnipeg General Strike. This incident strengthened Douglas in his later commitment to protect fundamental freedoms in a Bill of Rights when he was Premier of Saskatchewan. In 1930, his experience of the great depression led him to determine that political action was necessary to relieve the suffering. The next year he established a local Independent Labour Party, and 2 years later he attended the first national convention of the new, Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. In 1940, Douglas went against a debate on whether Canada should send their men to war. He thought that every Canadian should have a job, and sending men who couldn’t even get a job to war was unfair and wrong. Douglas had become a popular politician among the farmers after 1944; Douglas created The Farm Security Act, which protected farmers from foreclosure and repossession of assets. After Saskatchewan started on Medicare in 1949, Douglas made a motivating speech in 1970.This speech helped Douglas become even more popular, making him the leader of the NDP. His comical...
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