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Mouseland

Mouseland, almost as told by Tommy Douglas in 1944 This is not about Mickey.


Tommy Douglas brought universal health care to Canada, a system that costs less and covers more people than in this country. I have paraphrased his famous “Mouseland” speech because even over sixty years later it is relevant. Mouseland is still relevant because it shows the danger of thinking there has been any change between the Reagan Republicans and the Bush Republicans. We need an alternative. Mr. Douglas was called socialist, communist, a destroyer of the country. It was said over and over that the system could never work.

With logic, not fear he made his points. I wish we had someone like him to speak for us now.

One of his points is that any health care system run by private enterprise will demand profit and the investors will demand ever larger profits. The only way you can increase profit in that type of system is to deny care.

By way of a quick introduction here are some excerpts and condensations from the Wickipedia article on Tommy Douglas.

Here is the Wickipedia article

7th Premier of Saskatchewan 1944 to 1961


Thomas Clement Douglas introduced universal public Medicare to Canada. Kiefer Sutherland is his grandson.


When young, Douglas would have had a leg amputated but for a doctor who agreed to help for free. This incident began Douglas’s belief that health care should be free to all. During WWI, his family returned to Glasgow. They came back to Winnipeg in 1919, during labor unrest in time for Douglas to see the police charging strikers with clubs and guns.

The Douglas government pioneered pro Union and Universal health care items, including:

  • The creation of Canada’s first publicly owned automobile insurance service.
  • Legislation that allowed the unionization of the public service.
  • A program to offer free hospital care to all citizens—the first in Canada.
  • The Saskatchewan Bill of Rights, legislation that broke new ground as it protected both fundamental freedoms and equality rights against abuse not only by government but also on the part of powerful private institutions and persons.

    In Michael Moore’s SiCKO, Tommy Douglas was mentioned by a Canadian golfer who tore his biceps tendon while golfing in America and faced a $24,000 health care bill even with Canada’s “out of country” insurance. Instead the Golfer returned to Canada, where all of his surgery and related expenses were free.

Mouseland

Mouseland. Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played, were born and died. And they lived much the same as you and I do.

They even had a Congress. And every four years they had an election. They went to the polls and cast their ballots. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. And got a ride for the next four years afterwards too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government. A government made up of big, black, cats.

Now if you think it strange that mice should elect a government made up of black cats, you just look at the history of the United States and maybe you’ll see that they weren’t any stupider than we are.

Now I’m not saying anything against the cats. They were nice, they conducted their government with dignity. They passed good laws–that is, laws that were good for cats. But the laws that were good for cats weren’t very good for mice. One of the laws said that mouse holes had to be big enough so a cat could get his paw in. Another law said that mice could only travel at certain speeds–so that a cat could get his breakfast without too much effort.

All the laws were good laws. For cats. But, oh, they were hard on the mice. And life was getting harder and harder. And when the mice couldn’t put up with it any more, they decided something had to be done about it. So they went en masse to the polls. They voted the black cats out. They put in the white cats.

Now the white cats had put up a terrific campaign. They said: “All that Mouseland needs is more vision.” They said:” The trouble with Mouseland is those round mouseholes we got. If you put us in we’ll establish square mouseholes.” And they did. And the square mouseholes were twice as big as the round mouseholes, and now the cat could get both his paws in. And life was tougher than ever. And when they couldn’t take that anymore, they voted the white cats out and put the black ones in again. Then they went back to the white cats. Then to the black cats. They even tried half black cats and half white cats. And they called that coalition. They even got one government made up of cats with spots on them: they were cats that tried to make a noise like a mouse but ate like a cat.

You see, my friends, the trouble wasn’t with the colour of the cat. The trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats, they naturally looked after cats instead of mice.

Presently there came along one little mouse who had an idea. My friends, watch out for the little fellow with an idea. And he said to the other mice, “Look fellows, why do we keep on electing a government made up of cats? Why don’t we elect a government made up of mice?”

What we have been doing has not worked. Medical care is growing progressively more expensive and the only “cures” offered by the administration are to reduce premiums for doctors by preventing them for being sued for mistakes. OOPS! Wrong leg, so sorry. Here is a crutch on the house. The other cure is to claim that health care is socialism. A national health care program would no more be socialism than fire departments, police departments, a national army or any other group where we band together for the greater good. We will be judged not by what we do for ourselves but by what we do for the poorest among us.

Google Tommy Douglas if you want a clip on Youtube, the speech as done by the CBC in a movie about Mr. Douglas’ life will make you think it is in 2007 not 1937.

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November 8th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | no comments

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