Who Was Tommy Douglas?
Officially launched on April 5, 2004, The Greatest Canadian was a television program series by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to determine who is considered to be the greatest Canadian of all time, at least among those who watched and participated in the program. More than 1.2 million votes were cast. Wayne Gretzky was not selected.
The top 10 finishers were:
- Tommy Douglas (yeah! Who was he?)
- Terry Fox (athlete, activist, humanitarian)
- Pierre Trudeau (Prime Minister)
- Sir Frederick Banting (medical scientist, co-discoverer of insulin)
- David Suzuki (geneticist, environmentalist, broadcaster, activist)
- Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister, former United Nations General Assembly President, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)
- Don Cherry (hockey coach, commentator)
- Sir John A. Macdonald (First post-Confederation Prime Minister)
- Alexander Graham Bell (Scottish-born scientist, inventor, founder of the Bell Telephone Company, which later became the American Telephone and Telegraph Company)
- Wayne Gretzky (hockey player)
For more than 50 years, his staunch devotion to social causes, rousing powers of speech and pugnacious charm made Tommy C. Douglas an unstoppable political force. From his first foray into public office politics in 1934 to his post-retirement years in the 1970s, Canada’s ‘father of Medicare’ stayed true to his socialist beliefs — often at the cost of his own political fortune — and earned himself the respect of millions of Canadians in the process…You learn something every day....
Tommy Douglas’s legacy as a social policy innovator lives on. Social welfare, universal Medicare, old age pensions and mothers’ allowances — Douglas helped keep these ideas current, watching as more established political parties eventually came to accept these once-radical ideas as their own.