Tommy Douglas And The Creation Of Canadian Utopia
Pension and unemployment insurance guaranteed the lives of the elder and poor. Tommy Douglas witnessed the hardship caused by the Great Depression, which set him on the path of social reform. In 1934, Tommy Douglas was elected to congress as the national assembly of the CCF member and began his political journey.
The socialist ideology advocated by the CCF is beginning to gain wider support. He proposed unemployment insurance and pension insurance, which improved people’s living standards and ensured social stability. In 1944, pensioners received free medical, hospital and dental services, and free treatment for diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis, mental illness and venereal diseases. Inspired by the CCF, the Canadian government began to make social welfare a key responsibility in the 1940s. The unemployment insurance act was passed in 1940 and the family allowance system was introduced in 1945. (wikipedia, tommy Douglas).
Tommy Douglas advocates economic democracy. To serve the economy, he created state-owned power company(Saskatchewan Power Corporation), which began a long program of extending electrical service to isolated farms and villages(Wikipedia, Tommy Douglas), provided impetus for rural economic development. He also provided public transportation and telephone services. SaskTel gave cheap, high quality telephone access to most of the people in the country. These advances greatly promoted local economic and social development at the time and also improved the people’s livehood.
Tommy Douglas advocated restoring the economic freedom of the working class and establishing a social and economic system representing the interests of the producers, that is, replacing the capitalist system of exploitation with a justice and equal socialist system. Therefore, Douglas government enacted Labour legislation that established workers’ right to collective bargaining, established a minimum wage, statutory holidays and established a Labour relations bureau. The CCF introduced the trade union act, which imposed collective bargaining and expanded the rights of civil servants. Walter Reuther called it ‘the most progressive Labour law in continental Europe’. Other Labour laws set standards for workers’ compensation, minimum wages, statutory holidays and Labour relations boards. Union membership has risen by 118% in just four years (A short introduction to tommy Douglas and his government).
Industrial and economic diversification development also is an important policy of Douglas government targets, including help to develop private investors minerals, steel mills, water plant and drilling for oil and gas, etc. When Douglas took power, 80 per cent of the province’s GDP was generated by agriculture. By 1957, agriculture accounted for only 35 per cent of economic activity, even though a million more acres of farm land were under production. Douglas made outstanding contributions for the development of Canadian society and the progress. Passage of the Saskatchewan Bill of Rights, legislation that broke new ground as it protected both fundamental freedoms and equality rights against abuse not only by government actors but also on the part of powerful private institutions and persons. (The Saskatchewan Bill of Rights preceded the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations by 18 months).(The Canadian Encyclopedia: Tommy Douglas)
In addition to the above system and reform, Douglas government also pay attention to education development, the increase of teachers’ salaries, the reform of the educational system, the construction of larger schools, and the establishment of a medical school for the university of Saudi Arabia.
Through his five terms as Premier, Douglas pioneered reforms which made Saskatchewan society both progressive and prosperous. Many of the social institutions and measures to promote economic development proposed by him and his government laid the foundation for Canada’s socio-economic development. Tommy Douglas’s life was devoted to Canada and left him responsible for many incredible things that we could not live without.
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