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Canadians ponder the Welfare State

Since Tommy Douglas helped usher in Canada's medicare system in 1967, it has earned the envy of the international community. Many Canadians see free public health care as the hallmark of what Pierre Elliott Trudeau called "The Just Society." Yet, as the medicare debate has proven, it's a system that is not without its flaws or opponents.

In 1948, Britain's Labour government establishes a universal health care scheme as part of its post-war Welfare State initiatives. In Canada, where most citizens still rely on private health insurance to cover the costs of medical services, the idea of a government social safety net is met with mixed feelings. Is it just common sense or a Communist conspiracy? Hear what co-workers Bill and Frank have to say in this 1949 CBC dramatization.
• While Tommy Douglas is known as Canada's "Father of Medicare," Leonard Marsh is considered Canada's "Father of Social Security." In 1943, Marsh, a sociologist at Montreal's McGill University, wrote the Report on Social Security in Canada that recommended the establishment of a "social minimum" to protect economically disadvantaged Canadians. Social insurance, family allowance and old age pensions are just a few of the social staples Canadians owe to Marsh's visionary document.
Medium: Radio
Program: Cross Section
Broadcast Date: Jan. 26, 1949
Duration: 4:22
Photo: Library and Archives Canada / e002504637

Last updated: January 10, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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