The Greatest Canadian

douglas4.jpgHow do I love Canada? Oh, let me count the ways! But certainly one of them is that the nation has declared Tommy Douglas, an unabashed socialist, as “The Greatest Canadian.”

Tommy Douglas’s legacy as a social policy innovator lives on. Social welfare, universal Medicare, old age pensions and mothers’ allowances — Douglas helped keep these ideas, and many more, watching as more established political parties eventually came to accept these once-radical ideas as their own.

Not only did the more mainstream parties accept his ideas, but also Canadians as a whole have, in less than a generation, come to view universal health care in particular as a Canadian birthright.

And the day after the declaration, one of the most right-wing American presidents in history comes avisiting. You can beat a contrast like that.

It should be noted that the Top 10 list has been met with a great deal of criticism. The fact Don Cherry made it to the top 10 is beyond laughable. Also, it didn’t go unnoticed that all of the top 10 were (a) white and (b) male, seven of which dead. However, I think the final top 3 are a good reflection of Canadian views and values: the first (Douglas) has shaped our view of life in Canada; the second (Fox) was a truly inspiring hero, and the third (Trudeau), with his flair and sophistication, was what many Canadians wished they were.