Tommy Douglas Essay

Submitted By warrinerk
Words: 1024
Pages: 5

Canada was formed as a country in 1867, over 146 years ago, so naturally there have been many great people involved in the shaping of Canada as we know it today. The truly greats range from Pierre Trudeau to Terry Fox to David Suzuki; but perhaps the greatest of them all is Tommy Douglas. The ideas and programs he brought forth and implemented to Canadians are a very large part of what is now modern Canada and what other countries are trying to duplicate. On June 15, 1944, Douglas' party won forty-seven of fifty-three seats in Saskatchewan, leading him to become the premier of the province. Douglas was now the first ever elected leader of a socialist party in North America. He set his plans into motion quickly and began developing Saskatchewan into the place to be. Douglas' financially responsible government was able to budget and manage very well. They reduced the provincial debt that was built up by previous government and began to produce yearly surpluses of money. The formation of the Saskatchewan Power Corporation was a huge step towards the future as it constructed power lines to most of the rural communities and isolated farms across the province. Douglas also passed many human rights bills, and unionized the public service; but his greatest achievement was passing the legislation to bring free hospital care to the people of Saskatchewan. (http://www.canadahistory.com/sections/eras/the%20peace/CCF.html) Although he had passed the legislation for free hospital care for Saskatchewan citizens, his ultimate goal was far from complete. Douglas wanted to implement "Medicare" in Saskatchewan, providing free health care for everyone in the province. The idea for universal health care came to Douglas when he moved to Weyburn in 1930. The devastating conditions and complete lack of money during the great depression inspired him to join politics with the goal of alleviating the people's suffering. Medical care was one of the most prominent issues as nobody could afford to go to doctors when they were sick and the doctors would not work for free. Although it was a brilliant idea, this dream would not be met without challenge. The doctors were against the "Medicare" system and began rallying support against the government. (http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/tommy-douglas) Tommy Douglas announced his plans to bring universal medical care to Saskatchewan in 1959. The legislative process was set into motion and after much consideration and review, received royal ascent on
November 17, 1961. Although originally planned to come into effect on April 1st, it was changed to July 1,
1962. It was also on this day that the doctors of
Saskatchewan went on strike, closing their offices and refusing all work. "We feel we cannot practice under state-controlled medicine. it seems to me the government has given us no choice but to leave. " - Saskatchewan doctor. (http://www.cbc.ca/history/EPISCONTENTSE1EP15CH2P A4LE.html) After two weeks of the strike, several doctors had arrived in Saskatchewan. They began taking care of the patients whose doctors were refusing work and with the increasing national and international press coverage, the doctors began feeling pressure to return to work. Between the mounting pressure from the press and the arrival of Lord Taylor, it was only a matter of time before the doctors returned to work. Lord Taylor was a British doctor who had helped implement Britain's form of health care and was now brought in as a mediator. With the help of Lord Taylor the two sides reached an agreement and on July 23, 1962, both sides signed the agreement in Saskatoon. After 23 days the support for the doctors had all but disappeared, an agreement had been reached, and they began returning to work. (http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/saskatchewan-doctors-strike) (http://scaa.sk.ca/gallery/medicare/en_doc-strike.php)

During all of the turnover…