Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
History: 1958-1968 PUBLIC OR PRIVATE? VOLUNTARY OR COMPULSORY? : HOSPITAL CARE FOR CANADIANS, 19481958 CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE: CREATING THE MEDICAL CARE AC, 1958–1968 FROM COST CONTROL TO HEALTH PROMOTION: IMPLEMENTING MEDICARE, 19681978



The Next Stage of the Battle

Delay then ensued, as the Prime Minister left for the Commonwealth Conference in London and the Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mitchell Sharp, made a public declaration that medicare would have to be abandoned or delayed because of the country’s financial situation. This statement nearly triggered MacEachen’s resignation and prompted the Liberal Party conference to pass a series of resolutions supporting federal funding for medical services insurance. The second and third readings of the bill were highly contentious because opponents now believed that there was division within government ranks. Insurance companies and advocates of the profession-sponsored plans redoubled their efforts to persuade Members of Parliament that their organizations could administer plans in a cost-effective manner. The CMA intervened to demand that the federal government immediately proceed to introduce funding for the 5 million Canadians who lacked medical insurance, while leaving the remaining 15 million to continue with private insurers. Since many Canadians were unsure of the extent of their coverage, this action prompted increased public pressure in support of the bill, which passed its third reading in December after the Liberals compromised on the implementation date and shifted it from July 1, 1967 to July 1, 1968.

Photo:  “Here you are, sir ...  Nobody wants medicare but the people!”
“Here you are, sir ... Nobody wants medicare but the people!”

George Shane’s cartoon from 1966 captures the mood of both the public and the anti-medicare lobby when Finance Minister and Acting Prime Minister Mitchell Sharp declared that medicare would have to be abandoned or delayed because of Canada’s dire financial situation.
Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1991-26-239, C-143095. © George Shane.

Transcription:
Medicare Is Communism
Anti-Medicare Lobby



Back to Timeline 1958 - 1968
    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010