Posts Tagged ‘tommydouglas’

Tommy Douglas quote

“Fascism begins the moment a ruling class,
fearing the people may use their political
democracy to gain economic democracy,
begins to destroy political democracy in order
to retain its power of exploitation and special
Tommy Douglas, 1942

“Fascism begins the moment a ruling class, fearing the people may use their political democracy to gain economic democracy, begins to destroy political democracy in order to retain its power of exploitation and special privilege.”

-Tommy Douglas, 1942

The Life and Political Times of Tommy Douglas

Here is a biography of “Canada’s Greatest Canadian.” The fact that Tommy was voted ( albeit, i assume, by a biased pool of CBC listeners) best Canadian, gives me hope in the face of the other group of Canadians–the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who vote for Stephen Harper. But the real value of this book is that, as the title suggest, it situates T.D. in the context of the various major political events and issues during his long political carreer. From the Great Depression and support for food relief and labour efforts, to early condemnation of Trudeau’s use of the War Measures Act, the book shows how T.D., while he had his faults, was generally ahead of the curve.

Douglas’s unflinching committment to making political decisions based on moral and ethical factors (i.e. the wellbeing of his fellow men and women) is an inspiration to me, as a young person interested in politics, but repulsed by the pettyness of party politics, and the lack of moral leadership/righteousness displayed by our ‘socialist’ party, the NDP.

Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story


Recently Laura and I watched Prarie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story, which I must say is a rather inspiring film for a lefty. The film is 3 hours long, and obviously quite low-budget, but the acting is good and the story is excellent and important. It is worth the 3 hour committment to get to know what made canada’s greatest citizen ever (according to CBCers…) tick. I was also amazed to learn of the other progressive and foresighted policies and programs that the TD government brought in besides public healthcare. For example:

  • a bill of rights (preceding the Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms by 35 years, and the UN Charter by 18 months)
  • public automobile insurance
  • rural electricity
  • public energy corporation

the list goes on and on these are just a few….a full list is here.

I was also struck by a quote of his, near the end of his life:

The only test of our character that matters is how we look after each other, not how we look after ourselves.

Seems obvious, but well-put.