Tommy Douglas
Canadian NDP politician and advocate for medicare.
Tommy Douglas
Thomas Clement "Tommy" Douglas, PC, CC, SOM was a Scottish-born Baptist minister, and Canadian social democratic politician. He was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1935 as a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) party. He left federal politics to become the Saskatchewan CCF's leader and then the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961.
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Tommy Douglas's personal information overview.
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Liberal-NDP merger unrealistic at best - Vancouver Sun
Google News - over 5 years
But it's clear that St. Jack's elevation to sit at the right hand of Tommy Douglas has not only given the ever-helpful media an excuse to speculate wildly on his successor — they've even started fantasizing about a merger of the NDP and Liberal
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Frankie Lee 'F.L.' Metts Sr. -- Orangeburg - The Times and Democrat
Google News - over 5 years
3, 2011, at Northside Baptist Church, with burial in Memorial Park Cemetery in Orangeburg. Pallbearers will be Tommy Douglas, Bruce Anderson, Wayne Metts, Tommy Carson, Fred Benton and Alvin Edgemon. Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 pm Friday, Sept
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Frankie Lee 'F.L.' Metts -- Orangeburg - The Times and Democrat
Google News - over 5 years
Pallbearers will be Tommy Douglas, Bruce Anderson, Wyane Metts, Tommy Carson, Fred Benton and Alvin Edgemon. He was born Feb. 13, 1922, in the Canaan community near Cope, the son of the late John Metts and Mamie Bair Metts. He served in the US Army and
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Jack Layton secures his place in NDP – and Canadian – pantheon - Globe and Mail
Google News - over 5 years
New Democrats laid to rest the most successful party leader in their history, and a man whose name will likely be repeated in future with the same reverence as that reserved for Tommy Douglas, first head and spiritual heart of the NDP. ... - -
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From Tommy to Jack: A (Hallucinatory) Dream of Universal Health Care - Huffington Post Canada
Google News - over 5 years
Tommy Douglas appeared to me once in a drug and trauma-induced hallucination. It was 2002 and I was bearing the brunt of British Columbian Premier Gordon Campbell's vile cuts to healthcare. My immobile body on a stretcher was literally being stored in
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One can like a politician without liking his politics - Vancouver Sun
Google News - over 5 years
Tommy Douglas was a pastor in the same denomination as me and I have never admired much of what he stood for and accomplished. Find his thesis from McMaster Divinity School online and read about his advocacy of the elitist and racist principles of
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Jack Layton will be revered like Tommy Douglas, MP Don Davies says - Straight.com
Google News - over 5 years
NDP leader Jack Layton “had it all” and will be revered much like former leader Tommy Douglas, according to Vancouver Kingsway NDP MP Don Davies. “Tommy was part of a minority government whose determination and sheer ... - -
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Tommy Arthur death row case: Alabama attorney general wants execution date set - al.com (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
MONTGOMERY, Alabama — The Alabama attorney general's office has filed its second request this summer asking the Alabama Supreme Court to set an execution date for death row inmate Tommy Douglas Arthur. The 69-year-old Arthur was convicted in the 1982
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Judge troubled by censored Tommy Douglas files - National Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
A Federal Court judge has put Canadians one step closer to seeing hundreds more pages of a secret RCMP dossier on Tommy Douglas, who caught the attention of police decades ago for his left-wing activism and alleged links to Communist party members. ... -
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Take a step back and think what's best for community and future generations - Bowen Island Undercurrent
Google News - over 5 years
I am proud to live in a country with heroes like Terry Fox, Tommy Douglas, and David Suzuki. The Bowen community has proven itself, time and time again, to be even more dedicated to those Canadian ideals than most. And this is why I am perplexed by the
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Clark back as NDP hopeful - The Barrie Examiner
Google News - over 5 years
While the platform stays the same with the NDP's focus on families, she says attracting doctors and improving the health-care system former NDP leader Tommy Douglas started, she's also keen to encourage accountability in the corporate sector
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A meaningless wilderness - BCLocalNews
Google News - over 5 years
One of the greatest Canadians in our history, Tommy Douglas once said, “We should never, never, be afraid or ashamed about dreams. The dreams won't all come true; we won't always make it; but where there is no vision a people perish
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Attorneys appeal to court in Arthur case - Times Daily
Google News - over 5 years
Attorneys for death row inmate Tommy Douglas Arthur have asked the US Supreme Court to overturn an Alabama court's denial of a new trial in a 1982 Muscle Shoals murder-for-hire. In a petition filed Friday in Washington, Arthur attorney
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NDP is truly Canadian - Windsor Star
Google News - over 5 years
Re: NDP is no longer Tommy Douglas's party, guest column, by Brian Lee Crowley, July 13. The media frequently interviews federal NDP leaders with condescending questions and attitudes. Even post this election, the media is still treating the Liberal
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Windsor Star readers guide - Windsor Star
Google News - over 5 years
Guest columnist Brian Lee Crowley of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute explains why today's NDP bears little resemblance to what Tommy Douglas, the father of medicare, envisioned. Read a PDF of a letter provincial NDP Leader Andrea Horwath wrote to the
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Connelly: Universal health care -- untouchable in Canada, attacked here - Seattle Post Intelligencer
Google News - over 5 years
McDermott sings the praises of a democratic socialist, the late Saskatchewan Premier TC "Tommy" Douglas, who introduced Medicare in the prairie province of Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan had to endure a doctor's strike. Universal health coverage came to
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New camp, productions announced by SNTC - StarPhoenix
Google News - over 5 years
He moved to Saskatoon in 2007 and attended Tommy Douglas Collegiate. Since graduation in 2010, he has been employed with Connections and Resources for U Youth Wellness Centre. Forrest has been acting since Grade 1 and has been playing drums for 12
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Tommy Douglas
    TEENAGE
  • 1986
    Douglas was also the subject of a 1986 National Film Board of Canada documentary Tommy Douglas: Keeper of the Flame, which received the Gemini Award for Best Writing in a Documentary Program or Series.
    More Details Hide Details Douglas was mentioned in the Michael Moore documentary Sicko, which compared the health care system in the United States with that of Canada and other countries. "The Cream Separator" is a fable, written by Douglas, which aims to explain the inherent injustices of the capitalist system as it relates to the agricultural sector by making the analogy that the upper class gets the cream, the middle class gets the whole milk, and the farmers and industrial workers get a watery substance that barely resembles milk. He was also known for his retelling of the fable of "Mouseland", likens the majority of voters as mice, and how they either elect black or white cats as their politicians, but never their own mice: meaning that workers and their general interests were not being served by electing wealthy politicians from the Liberal or Conservative parties (black and white cats), and that only a party from their class (mice), originally the CCF, later the NDP, could serve their interests (mice). Years later, his famous grandson, television actor Kiefer Sutherland, provided the introduction to a Mouseland animated video that used a Douglas Mouseland speech as its narration.
  • 1984
    In June 1984, Douglas was injured when he was struck by a bus, but he quickly recovered and on his 80th birthday he claimed to The Globe and Mail that he usually walked up to five miles a day.
    More Details Hide Details By this point in his life his memory was beginning to slow down and he stopped accepting speaking engagements but remained active in the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation. Later that year, he became a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada on 30 November.
  • 1981
    On 22 June 1981, Douglas was appointed to the Order of Canada as a Companion for his service as a political leader, and innovator in public policy.
    More Details Hide Details In 1985, he was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. In the mid-1980s, Brandon University created a students' union building in honour of Douglas and his old friend, Stanley Knowles.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1980
    In 1980, Douglas was awarded a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa by Carleton University in Ottawa.
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  • 1979
    He retired from politics in 1979 and served on the board of directors of Husky Oil, an Alberta oil and gas exploration company that had holdings in Saskatchewan.
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    He resigned as leader the next year, but remained as a Member of Parliament until 1979.
    More Details Hide Details Douglas was awarded many honorary degrees, and a foundation was named for him and his political mentor Major James Coldwell in 1971. In 1981, he was invested into the Order of Canada, and he became a member of Canada's Privy Council in 1984, two years before his death. In 2004, a CBC Television program named Tommy Douglas "The Greatest Canadian", based on a Canada-wide, viewer-supported survey.
  • 1972
    He was re-elected in the riding of Nanaimo–Cowichan–The Islands in the 1972 and 1974 elections.
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  • 1971
    Instead, he and his friend and political mentor M.J. Coldwell were honoured by the party with the creation of the Douglas–Coldwell Foundation in 1971.
    More Details Hide Details He served as the NDP's energy critic under the new leader, David Lewis.
    Douglas resigned as NDP leader in 1971, but retained his seat in the House of Commons.
    More Details Hide Details Around the same time as the leadership convention held to replace him, he asked the party not to buy him an elaborate parting gift.
  • 1970
    The October 1970 Quebec FLQ Crisis put Douglas and David Lewis—now a Member of Parliament—on the "hotseat", with Lewis being the only NDP MP with any roots in Quebec.
    More Details Hide Details He and Lewis were opposed to the 16 October implementation of the War Measures Act. The Act, enacted previously only for wartime purposes, imposed extreme limitations on civil liberties, and gave the police and military vastly expanded powers for arresting and detaining suspects, usually with little to no evidence required. Although it was only meant to be used in Quebec, since it was federal legislation, it was in force throughout Canada. Some police services, from outside of Quebec, took advantage of it for their own purposes, which mostly had nothing even remotely related to the Quebec situation, as Lewis and Douglas suspected. During a second vote on 19 October, Sixteen of the 20 members of the NDP parliamentary caucus voted against the implementation of the War Measures Act in the House of Commons and four voted with the liberal government.
    He was noted as being the main opposition to the imposition of the War Measures Act during the 1970 October Crisis.
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  • 1969
    He won a seat again in a 1969 by-election in the riding of Nanaimo—Cowichan—The Islands, following the death of Colin Cameron in 1968, and represented it until his retirement from electoral politics in 1979.
    More Details Hide Details While the NDP did better in elections than its CCF predecessor, the party did not experience the breakthrough it had hoped for. Despite this, Douglas was greatly respected by party members and Canadians at large as the party wielded considerable influence during Lester Pearson's minority governments in the mid-1960s.
  • OTHER
  • 1963
    Re-elected as MP for that riding in the 1963 and 1965 elections, Douglas lost the redistricted seat of Burnaby—Seymour in the 1968 federal election.
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  • 1962
    Douglas resigned from provincial politics and sought election to the House of Commons in the riding of Regina City in 1962, but was defeated by Ken More.
    More Details Hide Details He was later elected in a by-election in the riding of Burnaby—Coquitlam, British Columbia.
  • 1961
    He handily defeated Argue on 3 August 1961 at the first NDP leadership convention in Ottawa, and became the new party's first leader.
    More Details Hide Details Six months later Argue crossed the floor, and became a Liberal.
    Douglas, after much consultation, with Coldwell, Lewis and his caucus, decided in June 1961 to reluctantly contest the leadership of the New Party.
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    When the time came for the "New Party" to form, in 1961, Coldwell pressured Douglas to run for the leadership.
    More Details Hide Details Coldwell did not trust Argue, and many in the CCF leadership thought that he was already having secret meetings with the Liberals to merge the "New Party" with the Liberal Party of Canada. As well, it was thought by Coldwell and Douglas, that Lewis would not be a viable alternative to Argue, because he likely could not defeat him, partially due to his lack of a parliamentary seat but also, and likely more importantly, his role as party disciplinarian over the years, made him many enemies, enough to potentially prevent him from winning the leadership.
    After setting up Saskatchewan's medicare program, Douglas stepped down as premier and ran to lead the newly formed federal New Democratic Party (NDP), the successor party of the National CCF. He was elected as its first federal leader in 1961.
    More Details Hide Details Although Douglas never led the party to government, through much of his tenure, the party held the balance of power in the House of Commons.
  • 1960
    Ten years later, Premier Lesage of Quebec joined with Premier Douglas at a First Ministers' Conference in July 1960, in advocating for a constitutional bill of rights.
    More Details Hide Details Thus, respectable momentum was given to the idea that finally came to fruition, on 17 April 1982, with the proclamation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Thanks to a booming postwar economy and the prudent financial management of provincial treasurer Clarence Fines, the Douglas government slowly paid off the huge public debt left by the previous Liberal government, and created a budget surplus for the Saskatchewan government. Coupled with a federal government promise in 1959 to give even more money for medical care, this paved the way for Douglas's most notable achievement, the introduction of universal health care legislation in 1961. Douglas's number one concern was the creation of Medicare. He introduced medical insurance reform in his first term, and gradually moved the province towards universal medicare near the end of his last term. In the summer of 1962, Saskatchewan became the centre of a hard-fought struggle between the provincial government, the North American medical establishment, and the province's physicians, who brought things to a halt with the 1962 Saskatchewan doctors' strike. The doctors believed their best interests were not being met and feared a significant loss of income as well as government interference in medical care decisions even though Douglas agreed that his government would pay the going rate for service that doctors charged. The medical establishment claimed that Douglas would import foreign doctors to make his plan work and used racist images to try to scare the public.
    Douglas and the Saskatchewan CCF then went on to win five straight majority victories in all subsequent Saskatchewan provincial elections up to 1960.
    More Details Hide Details Most of his government's pioneering innovations came about during its first term, including: Premier Douglas was the first head of any government in Canada to call for a constitutional bill of rights. This he did at a federal-provincial conference in Quebec City in January 1950. No one in attendance at the conference supported him in this.
  • 1958
    CCF national president David Lewis – who succeeded Coldwell as president in 1958, when the national chairman and national president positions were merged – and the rest of the new party's organizers, opposed Argue's manoeuvres, and wanted Douglas to be the new party's first leader.
    More Details Hide Details To prevent their plans from derailing, Lewis attempted to persuade Argue not to force a vote at the convention on the question of the party's leadership. He was unsuccessful. There was a split between the parliamentary caucus and the party executive on the convention floor. Coldwell stepped down as leader, and Argue replaced him, becoming the party's final national leader. As far back as 1941, Coldwell wanted Douglas to succeed him in leading the National CCF (at that time, it was obvious that Coldwell would be assuming the national leadership in the near future).
    The success of the province's public health care program was not lost on the federal government. Another Saskatchewan politician, newly elected Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, decreed in 1958 that any province seeking to introduce a hospital plan would receive 50 cents on the dollar from the federal government.
    More Details Hide Details In 1962, Diefenbaker appointed Justice Emmett Hall—also of Saskatchewan, a noted jurist and Supreme Court Justice—to Chair a Royal Commission on the national health system—the Royal Commission on Health Services. In 1964, Justice Hall recommended the nationwide adoption of Saskatchewan's model of public health insurance. In 1966, the Liberal minority government of Lester B. Pearson created such a program, with the federal government paying 50% of the costs and the provinces the other half. So, the adoption of health care across Canada ended up being the work of three men with diverse political ideals - Tommy Douglas, John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson. The 1958 Canadian general election was a disaster for the CCF, with its caucus reduced to eight, and its leader M.J. Coldwell losing his own seat, the party executive knew that their party was dying and needed radical change. Coldwell was persuaded by the party's executive to remain as the party's leader. But the party also needed a leader in the House of Commons to replace him, because he obviously was no longer a member of parliament. The CCF parliamentary caucus chose Hazen Argue as its new leader in the House. During the lead-up to the 1960 CCF convention, Argue was pressing Coldwell to step down. This leadership challenge jeopardized plans for an orderly transition to the new party that was being planned by the CCF and the Canadian Labour Congress.
  • 1953
    As premier, Douglas attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953.
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  • 1944
    He led the CCF to power in the 1944 provincial election, winning 47 of 53 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, and thus forming the first democratic socialist government in not only Canada, but all of North America.
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    By the time Douglas took office in 1944, many people questioned eugenics due to Nazi Germany's embrace of it in its effort to create a "master race."
    More Details Hide Details Instead, Douglas implemented vocational training for the mentally handicapped and therapy for those suffering from mental disorders.
  • 1942
    Despite being a federal Member of Parliament and not yet an MLA, Douglas was elected the leader of the Saskatchewan CCF in 1942 after successfully challenging the incumbent leader, George Hara Williams, but did not resign from the House of Commons until 1 June 1944.
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  • 1941
    If not for that ailment, he would likely have been with the regiment when its members were killed or captured at Hong Kong in December 1941.
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  • 1939
    During the September 1939 special House of Commons debate on entering the war, Douglas, who had visited Nazi Germany in 1936 and was disgusted by what he saw, supported going to war against Hitler.
    More Details Hide Details He was not a pacifist and stated his reasons: Douglas and Coldwell's position was eventually adopted by the CCF National Council, but they also did not admonish Woodworth's pacifist stand, and allowed him to put it forward in the House. Douglas assisted Woodsworth, during his leader's speech, by holding up the pages and turning them for him, even though he disagreed with him. Woodsworth had suffered a stroke earlier in the year and he needed someone to hold his notes, and Douglas still held him in very high regard, and dutifully assisted his leader. After the outbreak of World War II, Douglas enlisted in the wartime Canadian Army. He had volunteered for overseas service when a medical examination turned up his old leg problems. Douglas stayed in Canada and the Grenadiers headed for Hong Kong.
  • 1935
    He was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 1935 federal election.
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    He was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1935 as a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF).
    More Details Hide Details He left federal politics to become the Saskatchewan CCF's leader and then the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961. His government was the first democratic socialist government in North America, and it introduced the continent's first single-payer, universal health care program.
  • 1931
    In the summer of 1931, Douglas continued his studies in sociology at the University of Chicago.
    More Details Hide Details He never did complete his PhD thesis, but was deeply disturbed by his field work in the Depression-era "jungles" or hobo camps where about 75,000 transients sheltered in lean-tos venturing out by day to beg or to steal. Douglas interviewed men who once belonged to the American middle class—despondent bank clerks, lawyers and doctors. Douglas said later: "There were little soup kitchens run by the Salvation Army and the churches... In the first half-hour they'd be cleaned out. After that there was nothing... It was impossible to describe the hopelessness." Douglas was equally disturbed that members of the Socialist Party sat around quoting Marx and Lenin, waiting for a revolution while refusing to help the destitute. Douglas said: "That experience soured me with absolutists... I've no patience with people who want to sit back and talk about a blueprint for society and do nothing about it."
  • 1930
    Douglas graduated from Brandon College in 1930, and completed his master's degree (M.A.) in Sociology from McMaster University in 1933.
    More Details Hide Details His thesis, entitled The Problems of the Subnormal Family, endorsed eugenics. The thesis proposed a system that would have required couples seeking to marry to be certified as mentally and morally fit. Those deemed to be "subnormal," because of low intelligence, moral laxity, or venereal disease would be sent to state farms or camps; while those judged to be mentally defective or incurably diseased would be sterilized. Douglas rarely mentioned his thesis later in his life, and his government never enacted eugenics policies, even though two official reviews of Saskatchewan's mental health system recommended such a program when he became Premier and Minister of Health.
    In 1930, Douglas married Irma Dempsey, a music student at Brandon College.
    More Details Hide Details They had one daughter, actress Shirley Douglas, and they later adopted a second daughter, Joan, who became a nurse. His grandson is actor Kiefer Sutherland. Douglas started elementary school in Winnipeg. He completed his elementary education after returning to Glasgow. He worked as a soap boy in a barber shop, rubbing lather into tough whiskers, then dropped out of high school at 13 after landing a job in a cork factory. The owner offered to pay Douglas's way through night school so that he could learn Portuguese and Spanish, languages that would enable him to become a cork buyer. However, the family returned to Winnipeg when the war ended and Douglas entered the printing trades. He served a five-year apprenticeship and worked as a Linotype operator finally acquiring his journeyman's papers, but decided to return to school to pursue his ambition to become an ordained minister.
  • 1924
    In 1924, the 19-year-old Douglas enrolled at Brandon College, a Baptist school affiliated with McMaster University, to finish high school and study theology.
    More Details Hide Details During his six years at the College, he was influenced by the Social Gospel movement, which combined Christian principles with social reform. Liberal-minded professors at Brandon encouraged students to question their fundamentalist religious beliefs. Christianity, they suggested, was just as concerned with the pursuit of social justice as it was with the struggle for individual salvation. Douglas took a course in socialism at Brandon and studied Greek philosophy. He came first in his class during his first three years, then competed for gold medals in his last three with a newly arrived student named Stanley Knowles. Both later became ministers of religion and prominent left-wing politicians. Douglas was extremely active in extracurricular activities. Among other things, he became a champion debater, wrote for the school newspaper and participated in student government winning election as Senior Stick, or president of the student body, in his final year.
  • 1922
    Weighing, Douglas fought in 1922 for the Lightweight Championship of Manitoba, and won the title after a six round fight.
    More Details Hide Details Douglas sustained a broken nose, a loss of some teeth, and a strained hand and thumb. Douglas successfully held the title the following year.
  • 1920
    In 1920, at the age of 15, Douglas began an amateur career in boxing at the One Big Union (OBU) gym in Winnipeg.
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  • 1918
    During World War I, the family returned to Glasgow in Scotland. They returned to Winnipeg in late 1918, in time for Douglas to witness the Winnipeg general strike.
    More Details Hide Details From a rooftop vantage point on Main Street, he witnessed the police charging the strikers with clubs and guns, a streetcar being overturned and set on fire. He also witnessed the RCMP shoot and kill one of the workers. This incident influenced Douglas later in life by cementing his commitment to protect fundamental freedoms in a Bill of Rights when he was Premier of Saskatchewan.
  • 1910
    In 1910, his family emigrated to Canada, where they settled in Winnipeg.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly before he left Scotland, Douglas fell and injured his right knee. Osteomyelitis set in and he underwent a number of operations in Scotland in an attempt to cure the condition. Later in Winnipeg, however, the osteomyelitis flared up again, and Douglas was sent to hospital. Doctors there told his parents his leg would have to be amputated. Fortunately, a well-known orthopedic surgeon took an interest in his case and agreed to treat the boy for free if his parents would allow medical students to observe. After several operations, Douglas's leg was saved. This experience convinced him that health care should be free to all. Many years later, Douglas told an interviewer: "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."
  • 1904
    Tommy Clement Douglas was born in 1904 in Camelon, Falkirk, Scotland, the son of Annie (née Clement) and Thomas Douglas, an iron moulder who fought in the Boer War.
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