Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
History: 1948-1958 NATIONAL SYSTEM, NATIONAL FAILURE? : WAR, RECONSTRUCTION AND HEALTH SECURITY FOR CANADIANS, 1939–1948 PUBLIC OR PRIVATE? VOLUNTARY OR COMPULSORY? : HOSPITAL CARE FOR CANADIANS, 1948–1958 CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE: CREATING THE MEDICAL CARE AC, 1958–1968


External Challenges

Other challenges were emerging. From 1950 to 1953, the Korean War brought new defence spending and greater attention to international relations. Even the Cold War played its part, as some commentators equated further government intervention in hospital and medical services as “communist,” or too socialist for Canada. To Paul Martin, Minister of National Health and Welfare from 1946 to 1957, such beliefs were uninformed. During the 1957 election campaign, in reply to an executive of the Great-West Life Insurance Company who had criticized him for being soft on socialism with his support for hospital insurance, he noted:

Hospital insurance is not socialism; nor is it a socialistic device or concept; nor does it have any essential relationship with the socialist philosophy. Such programs as hospital insurance are just as much an integral part of a humanitarian, capitalist, democratic philosophy as anything else. As you will see. . . it is not correct to assume . . . that I dislike pamphleteering against socialism. What I dislike is pamphleteering against other perfectly respectable programs and endeavouring to bring them into disrepute through “guilt by association” tactics — that is to say, by linking them with socialism when in actual fact there is no real or basic connection whatsoever. (Paul Martin, A Very Public Life, Vol. II: So Many Worlds [Toronto: Deneau, 1985], p. 297)

This statement reflected Martin’s views based on the work that he and his department had done to build public support for federally and provincially funded hospital insurance and diagnostic services during the 1950s.

< Previous | Next >


Back to Timeline 1948 - 1958
    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010