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By Vincent Lam

“Lam, the Giller Prize-winning author of short fiction who also happens to be a physician, gives Douglas’s incomparable career a thoughtful, balanced, lucid assessment. Lam clearly feels a strong affinity for Tommy – not only for his innovative achievements in health care, but his compassion, decency and moral courage, all too rare in politics.”
The Globe and Mail


Lam_Tommy Douglas

Once voted the greatest Canadian of all time, Tommy Douglas was a prairie politician who believed in democratic socialism, the crucial role of civil rights, and the great potential of cooperation for the common good. He is best known as the “Father of Medicare.” Born in 1904, Douglas was a championship boxer and a Baptist minister who later exchanged his pulpit for a political platform. A powerful orator and tireless activist, he sat first as a federal MP and then served for 17 years as premier of Saskatchewan, where he introduced the universal health-insurance system that would eventually be adopted across Canada. As leader of the national NDP, he was a staunch advocate of programs such as the Canada Pension Plan and was often the conscience of Parliament on matters of civil liberties. In the process, he made democratic socialism a part of mainstream Canadian political life. Giller Prize-winning author Vincent Lam, an emergency physician who works on the front lines of the health-care system, brings a novelist’s eye to the life of one of Canada’s greats.

“What Lam’s book makes abundantly clear is that when people talk about the Canadian social safety net, it is really Tommy Douglas’s legacy they are referring to.”
Quill & Quire

 “Toronto emergency room doc and Asian immigrant Vincent Lam on Prairie socialist icon Tommy Douglas? Why not? It’s the rich authorial voice and hopefully unexpected perspectives that will make these brief histories succeed; we won’t be looking for new facts or discoveries.”
The Toronto Star

“So much of our identity as a nation is built upon the rock that Douglas reveals in these words. Vincent Lam has put together an excellent short biography that reminds Canadians of the importance of political courage. Tommy Douglas had that quality in spades, and we are all better off as a result.”
Canadian Interviews


Penguin Canada, March 2011


A Globe and Mail Best Book 2011

Other Books by Vincent Lam