Medicare and populist opposition to reform

I had no idea that opposition to Medicare was so vociferous in Saskatchewan, when Tommy Douglas and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) party introduced it in 1962:

“The city’s residents had been whipped into a near-hysteria by the doctors’ anti-medicare campaign,” Margoshes writes, adding, “There were graffiti threats on city walls and calls in the middle of the night to Tommy’s house. His campaign manager, Ed Whelan, got frequent calls from a man threatening to ‘shoot you, you Red bastard!’ A few homeowners placed symbolic coffins on their front lawns.”

It goes to show what determined politicians with a clear objective can accomplish, even in the face of misinformation campaigns and a large amount of visible public opposition. Perhaps that is something that should give hope to climate change campaigners. If we ever get a government that is really serious about the issue, they might be able to push through the opposition of those seeking to maintain the status quo and develop policies that people will look back in with pride fifty years in the future.

That said, it also seems quite possible that a party that created a serious climate change policy would be punished for it in the short term, as the CCF was for Medicare. After its passage, they got smashed in the next election and remained out of power for seven years. That reminds me a bit of Stephane Dion, though he never got to implement his Green Shift plan, which was certainly bold in comparison to what we are doing at present on climate change.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

One thought on “Medicare and populist opposition to reform”

  1. The experience of the CCF in losing the next election after introducing Medicare was not repeated by the Liberal Party who introduced it nationally. Prime Minister Pearson of the Liberal Party introduced Medicare throughout Canada in 1966 shortly after the successful election of 1965. The Liberal Party under Trudeau went on to when the next three election in 1968, 1972 and 1974.

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