Tommy Douglas Biography
(7th Premier of Saskatchewan (1944-61))
Birthday: October 20, 1904 (Libra)
Born In: Camelon, Falkirk, Scotland
Thomas Clement ‘Tommy’ Douglas served as the Premier of Saskatchewan and first leader of the New Democratic Party. Trained as a Baptist Minister, he was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1935 as a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). From 1944 to 1961, he served as the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan. During his leadership, he introduced innovative concepts which brought about a massive change in the province of Saskatchewan and led the way for many social reforms in the rest of Canada. During his governance which was the first democratic socialist government in North America, he introduced the continent's first single-payer, universal health care program. In 1947, he introduced universal hospitalization in Saskatchewan and in 1959 announced a Medicare plan for Saskatchewan. Later on, he stepped down as the Premier to take up leadership at the New Democratic Party (NDP), thus becoming the first federal leader. He retired from active politics in 1979. His contributions as a political leader helped him attain the rank of the ‘Greatest Canadian’ in the CBS Television program in 2004.