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Saskatchewan’s Health Care Evolution Towards Medicare – Part 2

6 Aug

Saskatchewan’s Health Care Evolution Towards Medicare

Part II

Medical Logo with Hands

Medical Logo with hands

Go to Part I

Tommy Douglas and the CCF

“Tommy Douglas’s Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) government was elected to power on July 10, 1944 with this promise:’ To set up a complete system of socialized health services with special emphasis on preventive medicine, so that everybody will receive adequate medical surgical, dental, nursing and hospital care without charge.'”Greenblat 30 The depression years followed by World War II had placed a strain on the province’s population. The citizen’s were ready for a improvements in the rural health care services, and access to medical care for the general public. The best that Premier William Patterson, Saskatchewan Liberal Party, could do would be to pass The Saskatchewan Health Insurance Act to take advantage of any new federal legislation which may profer funding for health care.

1944, there were now 101 municipal doctors in the province.Houston and Massie p. 34

Dr. Henry E. Sigerist, a professor of Medical History, was appointed as the head of a Health Services Survey Commission (HSSC) on June 15, 1944, and the report was finished October 4 that same year. Dr. Mindel Sheps, (CCF), was appointed secretary of the Sigerist Commission C. Stuart Houston sums up the salient points of the Sigerist Report; “He [Sigerist] recommended establishment of district health regions for preventive medicine, each centred on a district hospital equipped with an x-ray machine, a medical laboratory, and an ambulance. He advocated rural health centres of eight to ten maternity beds, staffed by a registered nurse and one or more municipal doctors. He proposed that the municipal doctor plans should be maintained and developed. He noted that the public must be educated to seek medical advice at the centre, so that doctors would no longer spend a large part of their time driving around the country.”Houston: Sigerist Commission By 1950, the province saw 173 municipal doctors practising in the province.Houston and Massie p. 34

The HSPC continued on with C.C. Gibson, Superintendent of the Regina General Hospital; T.H. McLeod government’s economic advisor; and Dr. M.C. Sheps. As a result, health regions were created. “The Regional Health Services Branch is responsible for the organization and administration of health regions: six of fourteen potential regions are in operation. Regional Health Boards assisted by advisory committees administer general public health services. Health Districts within the Region are represented on a District Health Council. … In many districts within the other Regions, a municipal doctor system is in operation. Medical services are provided under a contract between the municipal authority and medical practitioner. …Hospital care is available to all residents under a compulsory hospital plan, which is financed by an annual tax of $10 for adults and $5 for children, with a $30 family maximum; any further funds needed are provided by the Provincial Treasury.”CYB 1951. p. 212 The Saskatchewan Hospitalization Act was passed in legislature on April 4, 1956.

Dr. Noel Doig relates that when he set up a practice in Hawarden, 1957, “the basic payment from the surrounding township of Rosedale for holding office hours in Hawarden would be $100 per month, and the payment from the township of Loreburn for holding two weekly sessions in a satellite office in the village of that name would be $100 per quarter. …Fees for medical care would be over and above the stipulated contract payments….I’d [Doig] also been able to secure my appointment to the staff of Outlook Hospital, 26 miles away along two gravel high3ways (No. 19 to its junction with No. 15…)”Doig p. 5-6

“The federal government passed the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act in 1957, which offered to reimburse, or cost share, one-half of provincial and territorial costs for specified hospital and diagnostic services. This Act provided for publicly administered universal coverage for a specific set of services under uniform terms and conditions.”Health Canada

In December of 1959, – the year that the “incidence of paralytic poliomyelitis rose in all provinces to tis highest level since vaccination began” – Premier Tommy Douglas “announced that an advisory planning committee representing the government, the university, the medical profession and the general public would be set up to make representations to the government of medical care.” Archer p. 303. J. Walter Erb, health minister announced the names of the Thompson’s planning committee in the spring of 1960.

This committee after visiting numerous countries, -Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Holland- and examining the structure of doctor sponsored plans submitted their interim report September 25, 1961. November 7, 1961, Tommy Douglas, elected as the leader of the newly formed New Democrat party, stepped down as premier. Woodrow Stanley Lloyd of the CCF party, succeeded Douglas as the premier of Saskatchewan. On November 17, 1961, the CCF party passed the Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Act. On November 21, 1961, this same government appointed William Gwynne Davies {an initiator of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL)} as Minister of Public Health.

In 1961, Statistics Canada reported that public medical care programs are existant for three provinces. Saskatchewan locally operated municipal-doctor programs cover about 158,000 persons, and Manitoba covers about 28,000. “The Swift Current Health Region operates a comprehensive prepaid medical-dental and out-patient hospital care scheme for about 53,000 persons. These latter programs are subsidized to some extent by provincial health departments.”SYB 1961 p. 236

Provincial Medical Care and Doctor’s Strike

On July 1, 1962, Saskatchewan began operating a provincial medical care insurance program. Following his tenure on Thompson’s Planning Committee, Barootes, as president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) presided over the Doctor’s Strike, July 1, 1962 which lasted 23 days. Lord Stephen Taylor from the British House of Lords arrived to Canada at the request of Premier Lloyd, and negotiated an end to the strike between the medical profession represented by the SMA and the cabinet supporting the Medical Care Insurance Commission.

Before Medical Care locally operated municipal doctor programs in receipt of provincial grants served the population. “Since July 1962, every person who has resided in the Province of Saskatchewan for three months…and has paid…and premium he is required to pay under the Saskatchewan Medical Care Act, is entitled to have payment made on his behalf from the Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Fund, for medical, surgical and obstetrical care, without limit, in the office, home or hospital, from his physician of choice…Physicians providing insured medical services may elect to receive payment in a number of ways:

  • they may contract for a salary…
  • they may choose to receive direct payment from the administering public agency, the Medical Insurance Commission…
  • they may bill their patients directly, the patient in turn being paid by the Commission, on presentation of an itemized account (bill) or receipt…
  • the physician my practice for private fees, whereby the patient assumes all responsibility for payment of the doctor’s fee….”CYB 1963-1964 p. 273

“Municipal doctor plans formerly operating in Saskatchewan were discontinued with the introduction of the province-wide medical insurance program, but arrangements were being completed in the spring of 1963 to continue, under local auspices, insured medical services for some 57,000 residents of the Swift Current Health Region which as operated a prepaid medical-dental program for nearly 17 years.” CYB 1963-1964 p. 275

“The Saskatchewan medical care insurance program is financed from personal premiums plus general revenue contributions. No premiums were levied in respect of 1962, but an annual premium of $12 per adult or a maximum annual premium of $24 per family has been levied for 1963 for medical care coverage. Special corporation and personal income taxes have been introduced…along with the use of a portion of revenues from a 5-p.c. retail sales tax.”CYB 1963-1964 p. 275

In Conclusion

The federal government stepped in with funding in 1968 to support medical insurance. Leonard Shifrin noted that 8 provinces of Canada modeled health care upon Saskatchewan’s medicare plan by 1979 and the CBC states the entire nation was covered by a medicare plan within ten years of the Saskatchewan Doctor’s strike. Saskatchewan’s motto; “Multis E Gentibus Vires”, Latin for “In Many People’s Strength” represents the great cooperative community spirit, which when combined with “the right person in the right place at the right time” paved the way for Saskatchewan to become a leader in medicare.Houston and Massie p. 143

In closing, this brief encapsulation offers an overview of the evolution of health care in Saskatchewan. It is hoped that it may inspire you to reflect on the politics, the health care services, and the effect the various health care systems had on the communities. Please be inspired to comment, compare or contrast how health care impacted their own life experiences. Though this review does not include medical breakthroughs, or technological inventions, nor does it contain the emotions – the hopes and fears – however it does review the history of key events, and some of the key people behind formal legislation paving the way towards medicare. As we are collecting information, comments, feedback, and any reminiscences you may have are greatly appreciated.


It is quite natural that Canadians used to medicare are bringing up the controversy regarding the United States Obamacare program in their conversations.
This is an interesting time, observing the reactions, positive or negative that Americans are having with these new insurance policies. We, as Canadians may indeed be wondering how anyone could be against it.

However, in Canada when medicare was introduced, there was in fact, a 23 day strike against Canadian medicare that made international headlines. In contemporary times, few remember the inauguration of medicare, and the strike in health care service that lasted three weeks, a time during the summer of 1962 not to be critically ill.

This experiences are a reminder of the need to preserve personal memories of these events, especially as those who can remember through these times are now are at least in their sixties.

Please take the time to fill out our online survey; https://eSurv.org?u=Medicare Saskatchewan MediCare & Doctor’s Strike – 1962 Survey asking these questions:

What are your memories of the doctor’s strike in 1962? Were you working in the medical field at the time?

What are your memories of life before medicare?

What are your memories of life before medicare?

Where did you live?

How old were you (teens, twenties, etc.)?

How did you get information (newspapers, radio, TV)?

Was medicare or the strike a topic of conversation at home or work?

Were you or family members concerned about your health during the strike?

Were you covered by a municipal plan, MSI or other insurance?

If you worked in the medical field, what was the attitude of co-workers?

Please contact Marilyn Decker, – – granddaughter of Matthew (Matthias) Anderson if you have any memories or reminiscences you could share. 

https://eSurv.org?u=Medicare Saskatchewan MediCare & Doctor’s Strike – 1962 Survey

Prairie History Blog Review

25 May

Regina Public Library Prairie History Blog Review

In this day of age with genealogical sites coming online, it is hard to determine which way to turn amidst the plethora of sites appearing from a search engine investigation.

The Regina Public Library has come up with a wonderful solution with their Prairie History Blog The blog originated with the purpose of informing their visitors about the new items added to their collection; recommending some of the best online genealogy resources; and notifications of any upcoming genealogy and heritage-related workshops and events in the Regina community or around province.

RPL, Regina Public Library, Card Catalog, Library Card Catalog

Regina Public Library Prairie History Blog Card Catalogue

Not only does the Prairie History Blog provide updates about new magazines, and books available in the Prairie History Room, Regina Public Library, but they also have information about recommended websites, their updates and new features. Website with early postcards of Prairie towns is one of these articles.

Enhancing the value of the New Magazines now available, the blog is replete with the article titles in each issue, in a milieu of magazines be it Folklore by the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society, National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Alberta History, Families, Your Genealogy Today, Manitoba History, Internet Genealogy, Relatively Speaking, Revue Historique, or the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society Bulletin.


New books available for research

An informative category is New Saskatchewan Records added to FamilySearch. The digitisation process of the Regina Public Library has made them keenly aware of their own growth and expansion and in this realization they have also been able to keep abreast of exciting new digital additions appearing on the internet.

As the Regina Public Library system has subscribed to Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) and access is provided in each of their nine branches. The Prairie History Blog provides updates at regular intervals to newly digitised projects which have become available on ALE.

Genealogy presentations are provided in house at the Regina Public Library, but for distance learning or in case you missed it, the many and varied slide shows and transcripts of their presentations are preserved online. A few of these presentations are entitled Revised and Updated Version of Best Genealogy Websites and Tools of 2014 , Tracing your Canadian World War I Ancestors, Best Genealogy Websites 2012 part 2, Researching Military Records. and Chinese footprints across Canada 2014 version.

The Regina Public Library has made their blog a pleasure to use highlighting articles with images, and an easily accessible style providing excellent categories to find similar articles for further research and information. In their passion to provide digital information, they have started the Prairie History Room’s New Virtual Scrapbook on the Regina Public Library Flickr page which was launched with over 200 historical photographs. St. Andrew’s Thistle Football Club is represented with 22 photos, 18 images provide the scene of the historic Regina Tornado and the Nurses’ Training at Regina General Hospital feature amongst historical images of Regina,  Regina library events and branches.

The Regina Public History Blog is a wonderful Genealogy and Heritage Newsletter. If you cannot make it into the Regina Public Library in person, please do take time to peruse their virtual presence, where you can be introduced to the Prairie History Collection, find useful information in their Research Guides, view their photo albums, and indulge in the current blog articles and archives

The Regina Public Library blog and Flickr page are also supported by the facebook page and Web Site.

Online Family History Tree Research

Online Family History Tree Research
enhanced by the Regina Prairie History Blog

Embracing the new millennium, the Regina Public Library has established an informative and insightful virtual presence. Experience their social networking sites and venues the Regina Public Library offers a fantastic online presence.  They  provide information about new additions to the Prairie History Room Collection, allow genealogists to become aware of the better online genealogy resources available, and on top of this they provide genealogy workshops, and notifications of upcoming genealogical related events in Saskatchewan.

It is not often that one finds a blog as useful and as informative as the Regina Public Library’s Prairie History Blog. The Blog shows us just how rich and vibrant the history of Saskatchewan is, and how much the pioneers of this prairie province are treasured in our genealogical research.






Cemetery Vacations

20 Dec

Graceful Delight

Cemetery Vacations

Part 5 of a 7 part series.

Cemetery tours and historical cemetery guide books enhance the interpretation of the community’s evolution, providing information and cultural, historical and contemporary heritage interpretation. The Regina Ethnic Pioneers Cemetery Walking Tours and the associated books; Regina Ethnic Pioneers Cemetery Walking Tour Multicultural Tour 2 , Regina Cemetery Walking Tour Founding Fathers Blue Tour, and Cemetery Walking Tour : Multicultural. Tour 2  are examples of such an endeavour.

Such is the nature of the narrative documentation collected that this concise history becomes a significant source of information which honours and celebrates the memory of those who have gone before so they will never be forgotten ~ a source of community pride. Biographies of individuals, their families, occupations, and their spirituality commemorate the community and society in an historical viewpoint. Erecting monuments on cenotaphs, maps on billboard panels for visitors, pedestal mounted guest books during a commemorative re-dedication ceremony provide a link to achievements engaging visitors to recognize both the great individuals buried, along with the small pioneer families. “It is important because we are getting to the stage where, if we do nothing now, the memories of those people will vanish,” reported Oliver Evans, “I don’t think they should be forgotten.”

Vacation time and holidays create a rewarding experience and an opportunity to get the whole family involved in history, and introducing them to family ancestry. Memorable events are created when connecting with the memory and significance of ancestral events, pioneering days, and family traditions. Standing in the footsteps of your great great grandfather placing flowers on the grave on your great great great grandmother . “He gazed on that very same stone,” says Andy Linkins as he mourned his deceased mother. Remember to search respectfully, research as much as you can first and make contact with local organisations before you leave on your trip. Reaching “out to touch the final resting place of their ancestors,” writes Kory Meyerink, pries “the lid off a family story forgotten by most of the living relatives.”

Note: This program (Saskatchewan Genealogy Society ~ Saskatchewan Cemetery Care and Maintenance Program SCCMP ) has been discontinued, however it ws intriguing, so the information is left here in this blog online


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The Aged Pilot Man

9 Dec

O, need I tell that passion's name?

The Aged Pilot Man

On the river channel, it was,
All on a summer’s afternoon,
I sailed forth with my parents
Far away to Saskatoon.

From out the clouds at noon that day
There came a dreadful storm,
That piled the billows high about,
And filled us with alarm.

A man came rushing from a house,
Saying, “Snub up your boat I pray,
Snub up your boat, snub up, alas,
Snub up while yet you may.”

Our captain cast one glance astern,
Then forward glanced he,
And said, “My wife and little ones
I never more shall see.”

Said Dollinger the pilot man,
In noble words, but few,—
“Fear not, but lean on Dollinger,
And he will fetch you through.”

The boat drove on, the frightened mules
Tore through the rain and wind,
And bravely still, in danger’s post,
The whip-boy strode behind.

“Come ‘board, come ‘board,” the captain cried,
“Nor tempt so wild a storm;”
But still the raging mules advanced,
And still the boy strode on.

Then said the captain to us all,
“Alas, ’tis plain to me,
The greater danger is not there,
But here upon the sea.

So let us strive, while life remains,
To save all souls on board,
And then if die at last we must,
Let . . . . I cannot speak the word!”

Said Dollinger the pilot man,
Tow’ring above the crew,
“Fear not, but trust in Dollinger,
And he will fetch you through.”

“Low bridge! low bridge!” all heads went down,
The laboring bark sped on;
A mill we passed, we passed church,
Hamlets, and fields of corn;
And all the world came out to see,
And chased along the shore
Crying, “Alas, alas, the sheeted rain,
The wind, the tempest’s roar!
Alas, the gallant ship and crew,
Can nothing help them more?”

And from our deck sad eyes looked out
Across the stormy scene:
The tossing wake of billows aft,
The bending forests green,
The chickens sheltered under carts
In lee of barn the cows,
The skurrying swine with straw in mouth,
The wild spray from our bows!

“She balances!
She wavers!
Now let her go about!
If she misses stays and broaches to,
We’re all”—then with a shout,]
“Huray! huray!
Avast! belay!
Take in more sail!
Lord, what a gale!
Ho, boy, haul taut on the hind mule’s tail!”
“Ho! lighten ship! ho! man the pump!
Ho, hostler, heave the lead!

“A quarter-three!—’tis shoaling fast!
Three feet large!—t-h-r-e-e feet!—
Three feet scant!” I cried in fright
“Oh, is there no retreat?”

Said Dollinger, the pilot man,
As on the vessel flew,
“Fear not, but trust in Dollinger,
And he will fetch you through.”

A panic struck the bravest hearts,
The boldest cheek turned pale;
For plain to all, this shoaling said
A leak had burst the ditch’s bed!
And, straight as bolt from crossbow sped,
Our ship swept on, with shoaling lead,
Before the fearful gale!

“Sever the tow-line! Cripple the mules!”
Too late! There comes a shock!
Another length, and the fated craft
Would have swum in the saving lock!

Then gathered together the shipwrecked crew
And took one last embrace,
While sorrowful tears from despairing eyes
Ran down each hopeless face;
And some did think of their little ones
Whom they never more might see,
And others of waiting wives at home,
And mothers that grieved would be.

But of all the children of misery there
On that poor sinking frame,
But one spake words of hope and faith,
And I worshipped as they came:
Said Dollinger the pilot man,—
(O brave heart, strong and true!)—
“Fear not, but trust in Dollinger,
For he will fetch you through.”

Lo! scarce the words have passed his lips
The dauntless prophet say’th,
When every soul about him seeth
A wonder crown his faith!

And count ye all, both great and small,
As numbered with the dead:
For mariner for forty year,
On Erie, boy and man,
I never yet saw such a storm,
Or one’t with it began!”

So overboard a keg of nails
And anvils three we threw,
Likewise four bales of gunny-sacks,
Two hundred pounds of glue,
Two sacks of corn, four ditto wheat,
A box of books, a cow,
A violin, Lord Byron’s works,
A rip-saw and a sow.

A curve! a curve! the dangers grow!
Hard-a-port, Dol!—hellum-a-lee!
Haw the head mule!—the aft one gee!
Luff!—bring her to the wind!”

For straight a farmer brought a plank,—
(Mysteriously inspired)—
And laying it unto the ship,
In silent awe retired.

Then every sufferer stood amazed
That pilot man before;
A moment stood. Then wondering turned,
And speechless walked ashore.
Adapted from The Aged Pilot a poem by Mark Twain


For more information:

Steamships All Aboard! on the Saskatchewan

Navigation of the Saskatchewan. Steamers

Saskatchewan Gen Web ~ Transportation

Ballad of the Saskatchewan ~ A Poem

The Aged Pilot Man ~ A Poem


Table of Steamships upon the Saskatchewan


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Paeonia Blessings

4 Jan

Paeonia Blessings

Hearts coming together, nay joining together with dreams of future bliss, prosperity and happiness.


The tender embrace of love and rapture. Harmony of souls. Peaceful optimism. Caress and kiss. Well wishes and benevolence. Flowers and smiles, tears of bliss what else is present? In the melding of heart and soul shall there be the sound of anything knocking?


The harmony of love presses forward in time. Rejoicing over the holiday season, celebrating at Valentine’s Day, and culminating in spring wedding. Two becoming as one. Love emerging as a flower opening on a summer’s day. Hearts entwined with Love. The Love of body, mind and soul.


Who can celebrate such true Love? Unconditional Love that envelops the consciousness. Melting into true Love which captivates the senses. Merging the soul with perfect peace and all-encompassing Love. Forgoing all direction, not doing but being, resting and surrendering to Love in all its glory and splendour.


What questions arise? How shall the music of True Love be heard? The harmony of Love spreads far and wide. The melody of Love, an expression of the freedom and rapture of the souls of the hearts.

What is the Sparrow’s Song?

How to locate birth, marriage and death certificates in Saskatchewan, Canada


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Deck the Halls

13 Dec

Seasons Greetings my Friends

Seasons Greetings!

Christmas celebrations are near, and it is time to deck the halls with boughs of holly! Listen to this classic Yuletide carol by Peiyang Chorus rendering the song in a traditional Welsh version.

The wreath, the candle, berry and ornament have all come to be associated with Christmas decorations. The colours of Christmas are red and green, accented with white, gold and silver. These fanciful decorations symbolize our appreciation of the Christmas season.

For over 2,000 years, societies have been decorating with evergreen boughs, the green symbolizing life during the winter months in temperate climates. Now baubles, and ornaments, candycanes and cookes, keepsakes and collectables, fine art and heirlooms deck the Christmas tree, home, and hall.

So however you celebrate with popcorn strings, or tinsel, with baubles or cookies, with evergreen bough or Christmas tree, may may this Christmas end the present year on a cheerful to make way for a fresh and bright New Year.

Here’s wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


All rights reserved. Copyright © Aum Kleem All my images are protected under international authors copyright laws and may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without my written explicit permission.

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