Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tommy Douglas (born October 20, 1904)

In the summer of last year, when Canadians were given the chance to name the greatest Canadians ever, the list was topped by Pierre Trudeau, the father of Canada's new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and the prime minister who gave this country its Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  But near the very top of that list, they also chose a diminutive rural minister from the prairie province of Saskatchewan, a man who espoused a philosophy of collective compassion, equal access to health treatment for all, and fairness in hiring, among other things. A man I bet most Americans have never even heard of.

Tommy Douglas, the Canadian social reform politician and Baptist minister, is honored by Canadians for one thing ... he gave Canadians universal health care.  But it is not just Canada's health care system for which Canadians honor Douglas, it is his belief that every Canadian deserves the right to have quality health care, regardless of their economic or social situation.  That has become a core Canadian principle.

And last night, I believe, Canadians voted for a return to the Canada of Tommy Douglas, of Pierre Trudeau, Lester B. Pearson, and Jack Layton.  Not the Canada of the past ten years.

111 years ago, on October 20, 1904, Tommy Douglas was born in Falkirk, Scotland.  If you're Canadian, please take a minute to think about how we want to perceive ourselves, and be proud of a Canada in which a man like Tommy Douglas easily ranks among the greatest and most noble citizens.
Charles Aulds
October 20, 2015

Tommy Douglas

In preparation for Canada's 150th birthday (which will be in 2017), an online survey was conducted by the Canadian government, in which 12,000 Canadians participated, which produced a list of those Canadians who are most esteemed by the Canadian public.   Only one of these men is a military leader.

Top Canadian Heroes

  1. Pierre Elliot Trudeau
  2. Terry Fox
  3. Tommy Douglas
  4. Lester B. Pearson
  5. Chris Hadfield
  6. David Suzuki
  7. Jack Layton
  8. Sir John A. Macdonald
  9. Wayne Gretzky
  10. Romeo Dallaire

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