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Tommy Douglas

The Bank of Canada is accepting nominations until March 11.
Kiefer Sutherland’s grandfather, Tommy Douglas, created Canada’s first publicly funded health-care system.
Luckily for the NDP, unlike the Democrats south of the border, they can scrap their party's name and orange motif without much blowback. And they should. The party's image is irreparable, tattered from years of negative election results and cemented in a state of mediocrity.
The belief in a fairer and more just world, never fully prioritized by the other parties, has been the shining "city on a hill" for the NDP for decades and remains a stirring vision. It still sustains them as they move forward and Canadians still require their outlook. The question is: will it remain their principal and overriding passion or will their recent nearness to power have them seeking more power than purpose?
Photo credit: The Canadian Press Jack Layton used to elicit smiles and eye-rolls when he would tell people he was running
I would like to add my name to a long list of Canadians who are determined to celebrate Canada's greatest citizen, Sir John A. Macdonald this year. Just last month, downtown councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong proposed to name Union Station after Canada's great first Prime Minister. There are many critics opposed to Sir John A. Macdonald for his well-documented racist views such as being passionately opposed to Asian immigration to Canada. While I acknowledge the former Prime Minister held some wrong-headed views, I believe his critics are being too harsh on him while ignoring his important role in confederation and Canadian federalism.
What comes to mind when people think of Saskatchewan? Socialism, of course. Other things too, but certainly socialism. But since Tommy Douglas left provincial politics, Saskatchewanians have wandered back and forth on the political spectrum. Saskatchewan has 14 seats in the House of Commons. There's not a single socialist bum in those 14 seats.
Many Canadians have developed an insidious culture of self-satisfaction that comes with being told repetitively by politicians and media that we have "the best health care system in the world." We have somehow taken this patent lie as a slice of authentic Canadiana. It makes us feel good, safe and comfortable. But you don't have a "comprehensive and universal" system if it takes two years to get a hip replaced, or eight months to get an MRI after a hard knock to the head. How can we keep a straight face and call our system a caring and "universal" one if many have no where to go?
In Canada, it has been part of our tradition and law for close to 50 years. The great universal medicare is still a great Canadian bipartisan jewel achieved a long time ago. Looking at what happened in the United States today, I am just surprised it took Americans this long to catch up to us.