Human Rights a Day
Tommy Douglas, Canada’s “Father of Medicare,” is born. Tommy Douglas was born in Scotland on October 20, 1904. When he was seven, his family moved to Manitoba. As an adult, he settled in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, where he served as a Calvary Baptist minister. Once he entered politics, he tapped his speaking skills to help create the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), a left-leaning political party he represented as a member of Parliament. After returning to Saskatchewan, he became premier of North America’s first socialist government in 1944. Over his lifetime, Douglas created and fought for many social causes. Among them was Medicare, for which be became known as “the father of Medicare.” Under Douglas’ leadership, Saskatchewan became the first jurisdiction in North America to legislate human rights protections. He managed to get the Saskatchewan Bill of Rights Act passed in 1947, one year before the UN passed its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Years later, the CCF became the NDP, which Douglas led for many years in Ottawa. He died on February 24, 1986.
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