Born in Metherall, England, George Hoadley (1866–1955) was an Alberta rancher, provincial politician and health insurance advocate. Although he entered politics as a Conservative member of the Alberta legislature in 1909, he became an independent from 1918 to 1921, when he was elected with the United Farmers of Alberta. Hoadley’s first Cabinet post was as Minister of Agriculture, but he made his most important contributions as Alberta’s Minister of Health between 1923 and 1935.
As a member of Cabinet, and with the support of Irene Parlby, the leader of the United Farm Women of Alberta and a Minister Without Portfolio, Hoadley agreed to an all-party commission to study the question of health insurance. Although the commission’s recommendations for health insurance became law and were part of the United Farmers of Alberta’s 1935 platform, the party was defeated in the 1935 provincial election and Hoadley turned his energies to lobbying for improved health care for all Canadians. Hoadley is remembered as the co-author, with Dr. A. Grant Fleming, of thefactual and influential report, Study of the Distribution of Medical Care and Public Health Services in Canada, which was written for the Canadian National Committee for Mental Hygiene in 1939. Hoadley continued his work during the 1940s by serving on the Health Study Bureau of the Workers’ Educational Association, making influential speeches on health insurance to various audiences and writing pamphlets on health care on behalf of farmers and workers. Hoadley’s comments to Alberta doctors in 1935 sum up his advocacy for health care: “The demand of today is that the gulf between the people so greatly in need of modern scientific medical and hospital service on the one side and the professions and institutions properly organized and equipped to provide this service on the other, be bridged” (Alberta Medical Bulletin 1, No. 2 : 3).