CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

Tommy Douglas’s story of Mouseland: A political allegory

The Story

He stands five foot six and weighs just 148 pounds but Tommy Douglas' voice booms and echoes with passion. They come from far and wide, not necessarily because they agree with his politics, but because they know that he can put on a good show. In his jokes and anecdotes, his charm and wit are unmatched and Douglas' magnetism can bring even the most indifferent crowd over to his side. In this radio broadcast, Douglas tells the story of Mouseland.Mouseland is a troubled village of mice ruled by cats. But a lone mouse comes forward with a radical suggestion: the mice should elect one of their own to parliament. "My friends," Douglas says passionately, "watch out for the little fellow with an idea." Less than a year later, Douglas will win the leadership of the New Democratic Party. 

Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio News Special
Broadcast Date: Jan. 1, 1961
Guest(s): Tommy Douglas
Duration: 5:30
Photo: National Archives PA-172698. Used with permission from the New Democratic Party of Canada.

Did You know?

Mouseland was written by Douglas' friend Clare Gillis.

• Douglas' style wasn't universally revered. Some of his critics have likened him to a ham-actor who craved attention with his vaudevillian-style humour.

• In a Star Weekly article published Jan. 8, 1966, the author noted that Douglas set his watch fifteen minutes early in an attempt to stay ahead of his busy schedule.
• Douglas strictly abstained from alcohol but felt that it wasn't the government's place to legislate laws against liquor. In a 1958 interview with CBC Radio's Assignment he explained that "you can't legislate morality, you can't make people be good."


Tommy Douglas and the NDP more