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Module 28

Constructing a Canadian Icon: The Medicare Debate to the 1960s

Maureen Lux

For many Canadians Medicare is central to national identity because it sets us apart from, and perhaps a bit superior to, the Americans. This is surely an exaggerated role for an insurance scheme, but in a recent poll Canadians named a politician, Tommy Douglas, as the ‘Greatest Canadian’ for his role as the ‘father’ of Medicare. But the history of the Medicare debate, and the Saskatchewan doctors’ strike in 1962, suggest that health insurance was not always held in such warm regard.

Primary sources:

  1. Speech: ‘Mouseland’ Tommy Douglas (c. 1944)
  2. Photograph: ‘To Our Patients’ (1962)
  3. Photograph: All Doctors are Out (1962)
  4. Text: The Doctor’s Position (June 1962 )
  5. Photograph: Hanging TC Douglas in Effigy (July 1962)
  6. Photograph: Rally in Support of Doctors (July 1962)
  7. Photograph: Rally in Support of Doctors (July 1962)

Secondary sources:

  1. Robert S. Bothwell and John R. English. ‘Pragmatic Physicians: Canadian Medicine and Health Care Insurance’ in University of Western Ontario Medical Journal (1976)
  2. Gerald W. Boychuk. ‘National Health Insurance in the United States and Canada’ in National Health Insurance in the United States and Canada: Race, Territory, and the Roots of Difference (2008)
  3. Alvin Finkel. ‘The Medicare Debate’ in The Medicare Debate, 1945-80: Social Policy and Practice in Canada: A History (2006)

Introduction

List of Modules -- 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50