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Canada Campaign launched to put Tommy Douglas on new $5 bill

19:00  23 february  2020
19:00  23 february  2020 Source:   leaderpost.com

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Tommy Douglas , known as "The Father of Medicare," shown in Ottawa with the Parliament buildings in the background on October 1983. A duo is campaigning to place one of Saskatchewan's own on the new five dollar bill . Now, two men want to see Tommy Douglas on the five dollar bill .

Tommy Douglas , The Father of Medicare, is the historic Canadian who A Powell River-based initiative has been launched to have Canadian icon Tommy Douglas as the new face on the next $ 5 bill .

a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Ron Woznow, left, and Robin Murray, right, have started a campaign to put Tommy Douglas on Canada's new $5 bill. (Photo courtesy of Robin Murray) © Robin Murray Ron Woznow, left, and Robin Murray, right, have started a campaign to put Tommy Douglas on Canada's new $5 bill. (Photo courtesy of Robin Murray)

When Robin Murray thinks of Canada, one of the first things he thinks of is publicly funded health care and the politician who first introduced the system to the country.

Tommy Douglas, who served as Saskatchewan’s premier from 1944 to 1961, is widely regarded as the father of Medicare in Canada. He first brought the system to Saskatchewan in 1962, and publicly funded health care was later implemented by the federal government in 1968.

Growing up in Ogema — located around 115 kilometres north of Regina — Murray remembers hearing stories about Tommy Douglas working to make life better for the average person.

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Thomas Clement Douglas PC CC SOM (20 October 1904 – 24 February 1986) was a Scottish Canadian politician who served as Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961 and Leader of the New Democratic Party from 1961 to 1971.

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“I was born in 1966 … so I’ve been lucky to have Medicare basically all my life and it’s all because of Tommy’s efforts originally,” said Murray.

“The one thing that really makes Canada what it is, is that from coast to coast to coast we all have Medicare.”

Murray and his friend, Edmonton-native, Ron Woznow were talking a few months ago about Canadian politicians they believe have made the greatest impact. The politician they kept coming back to was Douglas, so when the Bank of Canada announced in January it was seeking nominations for a notable Canadian to feature on the new $5 bill, Murray and Woznow saw their opportunity to honour Douglas’ legacy.

The duo — who both now live in British Columbia — nominated Douglas and started a campaign encouraging people to vote for him.

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Thomas Clement Douglas PC MP CC SOM MA LL.D ) from 1942 and the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961, he led the first socialist government in North America. Douglas was voted "The Greatest Canadian" of all time in a nationally televised contest organized by the Canadian

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Woznow said he gained a deep appreciation for Douglas’ work after his mother had a number of health issues.

“We would’ve been destitute if we had been living in the United States,” he said.

“(Douglas) has made a fundamental difference in every Canadian’s life through Medicare … We’ve talked with hundreds of people since we started this campaign and nobody else can talk about a legacy that’s touched every Canadian.”

a man wearing a suit and tie:  Tommy Douglas. Tommy Douglas.

Murray said more than 300 notable Canadians have been nominated to be featured on the bill so far, but he is optimistic that Douglas will come out on top.

Should Douglas be the successful nominee, Murray hopes seeing his face on the $5 bill will be a reminder of the privilege it is to live in Canada.

“We don’t have to worry too much about our health care,” he said. “Whether we’re rich or poor, we can get looked after, and a big part of it was Tommy’s efforts.”

The deadline for nominations is March 11. For more information on the campaign or to vote for Douglas, visit tommydouglasfornewcanadianfivedollarbill.ca.

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lgiesbrecht@postmedia.com

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