There worker. One of society’s most important economic

There is no doubt that Canada has
provided countless role-models, but one geeky-fighter beats them all. Due to
his achievements and influence on Canadian politics, Thomas Clement “Tommy”
Douglas is regarded as “The Greatest Canadian” according to a CBC poll. Unlike
many of the political leaders of his time, Douglas fought for socialist
beliefs, and ultimately for the less fortunate in Canada. Through his drive to
keep the promises of an equal and better Canada, Douglas achieved unexpected
success in provincial and federal elections. Tommy Douglas inspires modern-day
Canadians to fight for others and a better Canada as a whole.

Tommy Douglas’ political ideologies and
drive to help the less fortunate was fueled by childhood & traumatic
experiences. First, Douglas’ socialist background was founded by his family’s
ideologies. From a young age, “Tommy viewed the world from the perspective of
the worker. One of society’s most important economic benchmarks would always be
whether a working family could earn enough to live decently” (Lam 11). Tommy’s
‘worker perspective’ included the socialist ideology that having enough to make
a living was considered comfortable. This was a promise and belief that would
seem favourable during Douglas’ political career. Next, something that would
further develop Tommy’s beliefs presented itself as a traumatic experience. At
ten years of age, Douglas suffered from a disease in his right knee. By a stroke
of luck, Tommy’s leg was saved from amputation by a merciful doctor that agreed
to operate on Tommy free of charge. This operation could otherwise not be done
because of the financial situation in the Douglas household. In response to
this experience, Tommy stated that “If I had not been so fortunate…I probably
would have lost my leg…I came to believe that health services ought not to have
a price tag on them, and that people should be able to get whatever health
services they require irrespective of their individual capacity to pay” (Lam
17). If it were not for this experience, Douglas would probably not have fought
for a privilege that many Canadians take for granted. Lastly, Tommy’s drive was
fueled by the horrors committed to workers. At 30 years of age, Tommy witnessed
the “hobo jungles” in Chicago a result of the Great Depression. Douglas
described “misery far surpassing anything he had ever seen…there were wastelands
filled with thousands of young men similar to himself…” (Lam 42).  Likewise, Douglas witnessed similar treatment
in the Winnipeg General strike and (whatever it was). Douglas concluded that
the government was doing nothing to give these workers a chance to make a
living. In conclusion, Douglas’ life prior to politics encouraged him to take
manners into his own hands, and make a change in Canada for good.

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No Canadian turns ‘great’ without excelling in
his/her field. A few years down the road, and Tommy Douglas would find himself
embarking on the path to a successful political career. Douglas began his fight
for democratic-socialism under a newly-formed party named the Co-operative
Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in 1932. Tommy Douglas played a very important
role in the rise of the CCF in parliament. First, to the surprise of many, Tommy
became one of the 7 MP’s from the CCF in the 1935 election. As MP, “Douglas earned a
reputation as a skillful and witty debater. He claimed as his constituency the
underprivileged and exploited, and he took unpopular stands in defense of civil
liberties” (Lovick). This newly earned reputation assisted Tommy and his party
to both: 1) introduce socialist ideologies, and 2) combat anti-socialist decisions
that would further harm the situation of the workers. The CCF’s voice was known
in Parliament, and it was time for Tommy to take leadership and make changes.


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