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David Crombie

Born in Toronto in 1936, David Crombie is an educator and politician. After undergraduate studies at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto, he joined Ryerson Polytechnical Institute to teach political science and urban affairs, and was Director of Student Affairs from 1966 to 1971. He served as a Toronto alderman from 1969 to 1972, when he was elected Mayor of Toronto, a position that he held until entering federal politics as a Progressive Conservative in 1978. Crombie was re-elected to Parliament in 1979, becoming Minister of National Health and Welfare in 1979 in Prime Minister Joe Clark’s short-lived government. His predecessor, Monique Bégin, criticized him for letting the provinces divert federal money from medicare, as well as tolerating extra-billing. To demonstrate the Progressive Conservatives’ commitment to medicare, Crombie appointed Mr. Justice Emmett Hall to chair a new Royal Commission on Health Services in 1979, stating: “He’s the father of medicare from a federal point of view and, secondly, he was a Conservative” (Dennis Gruending, Emmett Hall: Establishment Radical [Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1985], p. 213). Crombie’s decision to appoint a second Hall Commission was vindicated, because its report strengthened medicare by identifying problems and proposing solutions.

Photo: Get Down! He didn’t promise to raise the dead!
Get Down! He didn’t promise to raise the dead!

Everett Soop’s cartoon refers to the new Indian Health Policy announced by David Crombie during his brief tenure as Minister of National Health and Welfare in 1979. The Policy recognized the special relationship between the federal government and First Nations.
Glenbow Archives, M-9028-1206

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