CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Tommy Douglas' Great Campaigns

History, Political Science, Social Studies
2 lessons
To explore how character and personal beliefs can influence history
Students will prepare a news broadcast to re-enact and explain Tommy Douglas’ major political struggles and achievements.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask students to name recent decisions by a Canadian political figure that people might think are controversial, unpopular, or difficult (for example, stands on same-sex marriage or support for the war in Iraq). Ask: Is it important for politicians to support their core principles and beliefs or to support the opinion of the majority of voters in their riding?

Outline the Opportunity

Students will research one of the following campaigns in which Tommy Douglas was involved during the course of his political career:


The introduction of medicare in Saskatchewan in 1961

Opposition to the Vietnam war during the 1960s

The 1968 federal election campaign and Pierre E. Trudeau

The imposition of the War Measures Act in October 1970

Direct students to the topic Medicare and Social Welfare: Tommy Douglas and the NDP on the CBC Digital Archives website to gather information on their topic. Students should focus on the clips "Canadians ponder the welfare state", "An appeal to Canada's women", "Medicare gets a rough ride in Regina", "The strike is over", and "Ontario's CCF encourages Canadians to vote for medicare".

Students will prepare a television or radio news broadcast, from the time that they researched, to share their information. They might include news commentary, analysis, mock interviews, and so on.

Revisit and Reflect


Have students present their broadcasts to the class. Ask: What general conclusions can we draw about Douglas' personal and political beliefs through his actions? How did his beliefs influence how these issues were resolved?


Students can choose a current political issue of their choice and reflect in their journal about how they would handle it if they were a politician.

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