Tommy Douglas becomes leader of the New Democratic Party

May 19, 2017

Tommy Douglas

Tommy Douglas, Len Hillyard, 1955. Saskatchewan Archives Board, R-B2876-1


In 1961, Tommy Douglas stepped down as premier of Saskatchewan, an office he had held since 1944. That same year, Douglas won the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) national leadership at the party’s founding convention. His acceptance speech included calls for, among other reforms, free health care and education. Although the NDP fared poorly in the next federal election, in 1962, the policy reforms Douglas had enacted in Saskatchewan as premier — medicare, pension plans and labour reform — were adopted federally during the 1960s.

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