On the topic of Eugenics, the RCMP and Tommy


(The Sun - Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg & Calgary)

Dear sirs,

Your editorial of February 28, 2011 reveals new information, courtesy of the secret RCMP file, about the past and opinions of Tommy Douglas. In fact, had the Sun done its own research with any due diligence, it would have discovered that there was nothing new or revelatory in those files. (I suggest your readers explore the three fine biographies of Douglas that are available).

Douglas’s views on eugenics were once shared, alas, by many in all parts of the world in the early 20th century. What matters is what Tommy actually did once he became premier of Saskatchewan -- when he specifically rejected advice involving eugenics -- instead instituting programs of therapy for mental illness, and training and education for persons with handicaps. Political leaders in B.C. and Alberta found eugenic ideas much more acceptable at the time.

Douglas’s views on homosexuality were common currency among medical professionals and certainly among religious leaders, in the 30s and well beyond. Again, what matters is what he did. Douglas never exhibited or practiced prejudice, and supported human rights and fought discrimination, including discrimination against homosexuals, throughout his career. Indeed, his record in defending and promoting individual liberties is far and away better than that of his political opponents.

The balance sheet of Douglas’s achievements – which have improved the life, health and well-being of generations of Canadians – more than justify the title ‘Greatest Canadian’.

What is surprising in reading through these "secret" documents is a reaffirmation of the honesty and integrity of Tommy and how ironically, his message of peace and humanity was taken as a threat by those in power... and perhaps still is.


David Mackenzie

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