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A Canadian Paradox: Tommy Douglas and Eugenics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2014

Michael Shevell
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology/Neurosurgery & Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Neurology, Montreal Children's Hospital-McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Abstract

Tommy Douglas is an icon of Canadian 20th Century political history and is considered by many as the “Father” of Medicare, a key component of our national identity. Throughout his career, he was associated at both the provincial and federal levels with progressive causes concerning disadvantaged populations. In his sociology Master's thesis written in the early 1930's, Douglas endorsed eugenic oriented solutions such as segregation and sterilization to address what was perceived to be an endemic and biologically determined problem. At first glance, this endorsement of eugenics appears to be paradoxical, but careful analysis revealed that this paradox has multiple roots in religion, political belief, historical exposure and our own desire to view our collective history in a favourable light.

Type
Historical Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Canadian Journal of Neurological 2012

References

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