Greatest Canadian -- Tommy Douglas -- socialized health care

The CBC received 1.2 million votes in its Greatest Canadian poll.

Tommy Douglas, the leader of the CCF (now the NDP), and the person who more than anyone else brought socialized health care to Canada, came out on top.

For better or worse, here are the results:

For those who are not familiar with these folks, here’s a quick intro:

1 Tommy Douglas: a western working person’s politician who fought to bring socialized health care to all Canadians, and who built a strong socialist party that is now the NDP, always with a view to people helping people, and people participating in their own governance

2 Terry Fox: selfless courage incarnate – a true hero – a cancer amputee who while dying hopped halfway across Canada to raise funds to fight cancer – his dream lives on as tens of thousands of people walk and run in Marathon-of-Hope fund-raisers each year

3 Pierre Elliott Trudeau: a philosopher and Prime Minister who cut our final constitutional ties with England, created our constitution’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms (which has had a tremendous effect on civil rights – most recently, gay marriage), who pirouetted behind the queen, gave us the term “fuddle-duddle”, encouraged all patriotic Canadians to shower with a friend, decreed that the government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation, and above all, was a consummate wilderness canoeist

4 Sir Frederick Banting: discovered insulin – need I say more – millions and millions served

5 David Suzuki: a biologist who has popularized environmentalism across Canada through a combination of hard facts, clean logic, and vision – tree hugging is a good thing

6 Lester B. Pearson: a key builder of the United Nations (and a president of the UN) and of Canada’s role as a peacekeeper (who won a Nobel Prize for preventing WWIII over Suez), who while Prime Minister brought in federal bilingualism and Tommy Douglas’ socialized heath care

7 Don Cherry: Hockey Night in Canada’s resident curmudgeon of exquisite sartorial taste – Bob and Doug McKenzie, Red Green, and Don Cherry define the Canadian male

8 Sir John A. Macdonald: our first Prime Minister who while on an extended bender united many of the earlier provinces into Canada, and then built a railroad across it to try to hold it together

9 Alexander Graham Bell: ring-ding-ding-ring-a-ring-a-ding-ding – flew really big kites too

10 Wayne Gretzky: a really, really nice guy who played hockey really, really well

He is also great for having got himself on a list of great canadians despite being a Scot who did most of his work while living in the US. An impressive feat.

I voted for Tommy.

Hey, will take them where we find them. Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Boethius – they’re great Canadians too – just not up in the top ten with Cherry.

That’s good. Future generations need to learn of him.

I didn’t vote, for I assumed that it was one of those elimination based talent contests. Had I voted, it would have been for P.E.T. A canoehead philosopher king!

I am stunned that Don Cherry made this list…

I mean ~ c’mon - that :wally ahead of MacDonald, Bell and Gretzky?

With his ego, he probably voted for himself a million times.

See I was bucking for George-Étienne Cartier.

I suppose the contest had its uses. Maybe a few more people will know who Banting, MacDonald or even Bethune were.

Well, Alexander Graham Bell is at least buried in Canada!

And note that Tommy Douglas was also born in Scotland…

Go prairie socialists! Yay! :slight_smile:

(My grandfather lived on the prairies during the thirites, came east for the war, and later was active in the movement in the fifties, ran for parliament and everything! Probably met Tommy too…)

Don Cherry?

Don Cherry? Bloody guy makes my ears bleed every time I listen to him. Good god amighty, whatever would’ve happened had he actually won?

I weep.

My theory is that Don Cherry was the required dipstick in an otherwise stellar assembly. You know, kinda like the Straight Dope. :slight_smile:

One of the really terrific things about Canada is that so many people move here and become citizens. It makes for a terrific mix of cultures.

Don Cherry was born here. [Muffin hangs his head in shame :smack: ]

Bell lived in Canada before he worked in the US, his family always lived here, and he moved back to Canada to retire. I’m not fond of identifying him as “Canadian” either, but it’s hardly without cause.

Ah, but some quite important work was done here. In addition to what the others have said about Bell, Canada, and his contributions, I’ll add this from The Canadian Encyclopedia:

As for The Greatest Canadian–I think Sir John A. would have got my vote. You’ve gotta hand it to a guy who managed to get a railroad built across this land in those days, then allowed his wife to ride the cowcatcher of the locomotive through the Rockies on his first cross-country train trip.

I do like Muffin’s allusion to “an extended bender.” A long-forgotten musician I once heard in a pub said, “the spirit of Sir John A. still stalks [that is, stocks] our railways.” :wink: I think of that pun every time I have a drink while travelling by VIARail.

Actually, he supported Sir John A.

I thought Sam Steele would make that list.
I voted for Fox.

Tommy Douglas #1?

C’mon, how hard is it to sell universal healthcare to farmers in Saskatchewan?
They are naturally inclined to band together and help each other out.
Now if he was a national figure and introduced it across the country, that would have been difficult and a real achievement.

I voted for Lester Pearson, Noble Peace Prize winner and he introduced many ideas to bring this country further along. All with slim minority governments and with a strong opposition, I might add.