10 december 2012

Court battle over intelligence dossier of father of Canada's first universal health care program


(Photo CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Schwarz)
Tommy Douglas, in Ottawa, October 19, 1983.

For many Canadians, Tommy Douglas is best known for being the father of Canada's first universal health care system in the western prairie province of Saskatchewan.

As premier of the province in the 1960s he fought against all kinds of opposition for a health care system in the province. He later went into federal politics as part of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) which, with the help of a union federation, created the New Democratic Party (NDP) a social democratic federal party that now forms Canada's Official Opposition.

He was also behind a lot of progressive legislation allowing for the creation of crown corporations, unionization of public sector employees, and public automobile insurance.

And he was the focus of Canadian intelligence gathering that dates back 80 years and covers his life until his death 26 years ago in 1986.

Now those files are the subject of a court appeal by a Canadian Press journalist Jim Bronskill. He wants access to these files, but Canada's intelligence service the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) feels there is information in the files that should not be made public.

More information:
Ottawa Citizen - Top court asked to settle battle over Tommy Douglas intelligence dossier - here
National Post - Kelly McParland: CSIS needs to spill the truth on the Tommy Douglas file - here
CBC Digital Archives - text and video - on Tommy Douglas - here


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