Great Expectations
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Great Expectations
Canadians demand caring government while Quebecers challenge the authority of Maurice Duplessis

"Surely the time has come in Saskatchewan ... for us to take this next great forward step and set up in the province of Saskatchewan a pre-paid medical care program." - Premier Tommy Douglas, 1960

Read these indepth articles about
Great Expectations

Newfoundland Decides its Future
Joey Smallwood is at the centre of a political storm as Newfoundland decides whether to join Canada or go it alone
Challenging Authority
Quebec asbestos miners launch a bitter strike foreshadowing a revolution in French Canadian society
Rising Voice in Quebec
René Lévesque stirs nationalist passions in Quebec when Radio-Canada goes on strike
The Fight for Medicare
Saskatchewan faces a bitter doctors' strike over Canada's first universal health care plan
Canada's political landscape underwent dramatic changes in the post-war years as Canadians demanded more from government and Quebecers challenged the iron authority of their political elite.

New expectations
During the Second World War, Canadians had increasingly accepted the expanded role of the state in economic and social life and expected this to continue after the war.

The expanded role of state was based on a new premise - adopted throughout the Western world - that governments owed their citizens a reasonable standard of living and access to basic services.

The Canadian government had already introduced such pillars of the welfare state as old age pensions in 1927, unemployment insurance in 1940, and mothers� allowances � the so-called baby bonus � in 1945.

Birth of medicare
In the post-war years, Canada's welfare state continued to grow. In July 1962, Saskatchewan became the first province to implement a universal health insurance plan. Within ten years, the entire country was covered by medicare.

As Canadians demanded more from government, Quebecers were beginning to challenge the authority of their political elite.

Challenging authority
On February 14, 1949, 5,000 miners in Asbestos and Thetford, Quebec began an illegal strike for better wages and working conditions against their American-owned company, Johns Manville.

The strike was a milestone in Quebec politics and society because it challenged the iron-fisted authority of Premier Maurice Duplessis, who welcomed American investment and opposed any public dissent.

In the years that followed the strike, the voice of the French Canadian workers and the public would continue to rise heralding in a new era of Quebec nationalism.

As Quebecers were beginning to challenge the authority of the state, Newfoundlanders were debating their own political future.

A tenth province
Joey Smallwood, a diminutive, bespectacled man, emerged as singular political force, convincing many Newfoundlanders that their best choice lay in confederation with Canada.

On July 22, 1948, a hotly contested referendum settled the matter. The option to join Canada won by the narrow margin of 7,000 votes.

On March 31, 1949, Newfoundland entered Canada as the tenth province.

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Cold War Canada

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Great Expectations

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The Canadian Dream

Cold War Canada
Communist fears, nuclear choices and ties to a superpower define Canada's post-war world

The Canadian Dream
Canadians embrace the good life amid the prosperity of the post-war years

Provincial Government: The Smallwood Years, 1949-1972
Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage

Tommy Douglas biography
Tommy Douglas Research Institute

A brief history of Canada's public health care system
Canadian Health Coalition

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