Tommy Douglas Tommy Douglas was the greatest Canadian. Tommy Douglas was the greatest Canadian due to his implementation of Medicare, support of a Canadian Bill of Rights and his example on how to be an excellent politician. Firstly, today, in Canada, Medicare is implemented nationwide and is one of Canada’s aspects that is known and respected around the world.
Medicare begun in 1944, when Tommy Douglas, then Premier of Saskatchewan and his social-democratic majority government gave old age pensioners free medical, dental and hospital services as well as free treatment for everyone suffering from diseases such as mental illness, tuberculosis and mental illness.
Shortly after, in 1947, Tommy Douglas and his party established public universal hospital insurance for an yearly fee of five dollars per person. A while later, several other provinces followed suit and begun providing publicly funded hospital care for their citizens.
Seeing the initial success of publicly funded medical care, the Canadian Parliament passed the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act in which the government agreed to pay 50% of provincial hospital care.
Soon after negotiations between the Federal government and the Provincial governments begun regarding the sharing of funding for acute hospital, laboratory and radiological care and were quickly successful with over 99% of Canadians having free access to the aforementioned services in 1961. However, some services such as regular physician visits were still not free.
This changed half a decade later in 1966 the NDP (New Democratic Party) led by Tommy Douglas pressured Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson into passing the Medical Care Act (Medicare) which allowed each province to establish a universal health care plan. Decades later over 30 million Canadians are enjoying the benefits of Medicare that were implemented by none other than Tommy Douglas. Secondly, Tommy Douglas was one of the greatest politicians of his time. Tommy Douglas’s five time Premiership of Saskatchewan from 1944-1961 was the highlight of his political career.
During this time period Tommy Douglas and his party took initiatives that greatly helped the economy, and improved the standard of life for the citizens of Saskatchewan. Douglas’s successful attempts to increase the quality of life for Saskatchewan’s citizens can be seen in such initiatives such as eliminating the sales tax on food and meals, paving roads all around Saskatchewan, implementing universal hospital insurance, creating new government departments such as labor and social welfare, increasing education spending, labour reforms and increasing the number of rural homes hooked up to electrical power from 300 to 65,000.
Tommy Douglas’s successful attempts to improve the province’s economy can be seen in initiatives such as creating bus and air lines, creating a publicly owned phone company, encouraging petroleum exploration, potash mining and steel production. Tommy Douglas’s efforts caused the provincial debt of Saskatchewan to be reduced by $20 million. Tommy Douglas’s political integrity could best be seen when during the October Crisis of 1970, he voted against the War Measures Act in Quebec. Although this move caused a severe blow to his popularity in the years to come he would praised for standing by his beliefs.
With these accomplishments it is easy to see why Tommy Douglas was one of the greatest politicians of his time. Thirdly, currently in Canada we have a constitutional bill of rights known as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This charter gives the people of Canada civil and political rights from the actions and policies of all levels of government. This charter would have most likely not have come into effect without Tommy Douglas. In 1947, during his first term as premier of Saskatchewan, Tommy Douglas implemented the Saskatchewan Bill of Rights.
This was a unique bill that protected citizen’s fundamental freedoms and equality rights. This bill prohibited discrimination in employment, occupations and businesses, property accommodation and services and professional associations and unions. About a year and a half later the United Nations implemented the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which gave an outline for human rights to be met all over the world. Shortly after the implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Tommy Douglas called for the implementation of a Canadian Bill of Rights in January, 1950.
He gained no support until July, 1960 when Premier Lasage of Quebec gave Douglas his support. With increasing support the idea became reality on April 17, 1982 with the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Tommy Douglas’s beliefs once again positively changed the face of Canadian history. In conclusion, Tommy Douglas was the greatest Canadian due to his implementation of a universal health system in Canada, his support of a charter that improved human rights in Canada and for his excellence as a politician.
Cite this Greatest Canadian
Greatest Canadian. (2018, Feb 05). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/greatest-canadian/