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, 19481958 CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE: CREATING THE MEDICAL CARE AC, 1958–1968



Health Politics in the 1950s

To Martin and his senior staff, the answer was self-evident. The federal government must work with the provinces to create a national health insurance plan that would enable Canadians to benefit from ever-improving hospital and medical services. But to other members of Cabinet and the government, this represented not only an infringement on provincial responsibilities but also an intrusion into the realm of personal responsibility. And based on the results of the provincial health surveys, opponents wondered whether Canada had the requisite number of doctors, nurses, dentists, technicians, pharmacists and hospitals to respond to what was assumed to be pent-up demand for government-funded services. By 1955, however, as the country continued to grow and pressure for more schools, universities, roads and other types of infrastructure increased for provincial premiers, Martin acquired an invaluable ally in the Conservative Premier of Ontario. Like his colleagues from British Columbia and Saskatchewan, Frost was very interested in obtaining federal funding for health care and he announced his request at the April 1955 federal–provincial conference.

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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010