Making Medicare:  The History of Health Care in Canada, 1914-2007 Back to Timeline Back to Timeline
Key Players: 1968-1978 Key Players: 1958–1968 Key Players: 1968-1978 Key Players: 1978-1988

John Carr Munro

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, John Munro (1931–2003) was a lawyer and politician. With a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario and an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall, Munro was called to the bar in 1956. He entered politics as a Hamilton alderman in 1954 and was elected to the House of Commons in 1962. In federal politics, Munro gained broad experience as parliamentary secretary to four ministers. At National Health and Welfare, Munro, with Prime Minister Lester Pearson’s encouragement, thoroughly studied the Hall Commission report and wholeheartedly agreed with its conclusions. Like the Minister of Health, Judy LaMarsh, Munro was disappointed in Pearson’s decision to postpone the implementation of medicare and threatened to resign if the government failed to implement it by July 1, 1968. Appointed Minister of National Health and Welfare in 1968, Munro fought to implement the national medicare plan — despite opposition from Premier John Robarts of Ontario, other anti-medicare groups and the insurance industry — through a series of speeches in which he criticized his opponents for their ignorance of the sufferings of families financially crippled by major illnesses. Munro’s vigorous campaign for medicare succeeded and, by November 1972 when he became Minister of Labour, all the provinces and territories were participating. Although his later political career was tainted by scandals and lawsuits, Munro’s successful campaign for medicare secured his reputation as an able politician and champion of the people.

Photo: Shock Treatment
Shock Treatment

When he became Minister of National Health and Welfare, John Munro, Dr. Munro in John Collins’ cartoon, had the difficult task of introducing the national medicare plan at a time when health costs were rising faster than inflation.
© Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1986-9-2500, e008440957. Artist: John Collins.

Back to Timeline 1914 - 2007
    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010