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The Building Of A Canadian Identity: Tommy Douglas And Sir Sanford Fleming

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Canada has been the vanguard of social and technological progression in the last 140 years. Sir Sandford Fleming and Thomas “Tommy” Clement Douglas’s innovative ideas created a change in Canadian society, which helped modernize and federate Canada. Fleming’s railway accomplishments united and modernize the provinces of Canada economically through trade and transportation with the railway. Likewise, Douglas’s prominent government initiated universal health care in order to alleviate the cost of medical care by as a province, distribute the expense among the population.

Sir Sandford Fleming put lots of devotion into his countries development. Fleming had a purpose for wanting a postage stamp because he felt the process of waiting in a long line to get your mail weighted was an inefficient use of time (Hehner 9). He decided to approach the Postmaster-General, James Norris, with a proposal to produce a stamp (Hehner 9). The stamp was eventually made and Sandford was given the honour of designing the stamp and Canada’s first stamp was named the threepenny beaver and it was worth three pennies (Hehner 9). The innovative creation of the stamp was evoked by Fleming and effectively enhanced communication through mail. It efficiently reduced waiting time, encouraged mailing and connection because it was now easier. Furthermore, Sir Sandford Fleming, a skilled surveyor, felt that it was important for Canadians to be affiliated. When he first proposed his idea for a nationwide railway system, the colonial government denied his idea saying that Canada was not ready for such an ambitious project (Hehner 10). However, after Fleming’s impressive work on the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron railway, he was selected for five major Canadian railways including the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Intercolonial Railway (Hehner 9). The project of the CPR began and Fleming was appointed as Chief Surveyor of the CPR until he retired from the project in 1880 (Regehr 791). Fleming’s dedication and effort was a modernizing contribution to a system that became one of Canada’s major uses for transportation.

Tommy Douglas was a wonderful motivator, powerful speaker and an innovator. Douglas became the leader of the CCF, which later became known as the NDP party. He lead the first socialist party into Saskatchewan’s Government because he was against social inequality and was a successful premier for 17 years (Morton and Weinfeld 174). Douglas was able to do what previous Prime Minister failed to do by paying off twenty years of Saskatchewan’s debt and use the money for the need of the people (Morton and Weinfeld 174).With the money he introduced paved roads, a sewage system and power to famers. It can be said with Tommy Douglas in power, he was able to regulate the wealth and amalgamate the province by providing new renovations in order for a more efficient province. Moreover, when Douglas first proposed his idea for Saskatchewan to create a medical insurance plan, his proposal was criticized by opponents saying that, “medicare as premature, unfair to doctors, and too expensive for a poor province” (Morton and Weinfeld 174). Eventually, Douglas was able to enforce the first hospital insurance plan in 1947 (Morton and Weinfeld 174), which consisted of a pension plan, various new treatments and facilities. The hospital Insurance plan was the first step to improving life for the Canadian



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