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Tommy Douglas and the NDP: Evaluating Douglas

Tommy Douglas was the most influential politician never to be elected Prime Minister. He pursued his radical ideas relentlessly until they became so mainstream rival politicians claimed them as their own. Called a communist and threatened by in-party fighting, Douglas battled hard to bring the New Democratic Party to legitimacy in its first ten years. He was often criticized for his singular idealism but through it all Douglas was undeterred, convinced that he was helping to create a better, more humane society. In 2004, Douglas was voted number one in CBC's The Greatest Canadian contest.

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Once an enemy of the medical profession for his contentious medicare program, Tommy Douglas has come full circle. Douglas is posthumously inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame for his groundbreaking contributions in reforming Canada's health care system. But the fight isn't over quite yet. Douglas' family, in conjunction with the Canadian Health Coalition, is fighting to save the system from privatization. In this CBC Television documentary, Douglas' family and contemporaries examine his legacy. 
. "[Tommy Douglas] did not care that people stole his ideas. Lesser men than he did. He didn't care. What was important for him is that it had to be done." — Laurier LaPierre, journalist and politician, Life & Times, 2000.
. In 1998 Tommy Douglas was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. He was celebrated for his "leadership [which] has provided long term benefits to medical science in Canada and the Canadian health care system remains as a model and source of envy to other countries around the world."
Medium: Television
Program: Life & Times
Broadcast Date: Feb. 1, 2000
Guest(s): June Callwood, Shirley Douglas, Douglas Fisher, Stephen Lewis
Narrator: Anne Marie Macdonald
Duration: 3:57
Audio material: Birdsong Communications

Last updated: March 7, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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