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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 86 / 185

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Bodyscape: Isolation, Health, and the Woman’s Voice

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dead father and his two sons, then Tracy will have to provide it. Tracy is at a

disadvantage in adding this voice, as she is isolated from the situation by distance.

While most Saskatchewan residents are willing to take collective credit for

being “the guys who got Medicare going,” Tommy Douglas is usually the figure from

Saskatchewan’s history who is invoked when history and healthcare are discussed in

this province. T. C. (Tommy) Douglas (1904-1986) was the Baptist preacher turned

politician who was the Member of Parliament for Weyburn between 1935 and 1944 as a

member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, the CCF (which would later

become the New Democratic Party, or NDP). Douglas then came back to lead the

Saskatchewan CCF to victory in the provincial election of 1944. During his tenure as

premier, the CCF government began implementation of universal provincial healthcare.

He would later help the Federal Government implement a National Medicare program

in 1967.62

It may seem odd, then, that only one play dealing with Douglas was discovered

in this collection: Auld Acquaintance by Kim Dales and Roy Morrissey. It was epic in

length, airing as ten episodes on Ambience from July 12 through September 13 in 1986

(10 episodes ranging from 11:00 to 17:00). Douglas is not the main character of the

play, but his voice informs it. Douglas is heard only through audio clips from his

speeches63. The play is an exploration of Douglas through the eyes, or ears, of an

ideological opponent; a very different exploration of History than is seen in, for

62 Highlighting the present importance of Medicare to Canadians (or, at least Canadian CBC viewers): In 2004, Douglas won the CBC Television’s national popularity contest, The Greatest Canadian. CBC Archives: Medicare, <http://archives.cbc.ca/IDD-1-73-90/politics_economy/medicare/> CBC Greatest Canadian Contest nominees <http://www.cbc.ca/greatest/top_ten/nominee/douglas-tommy.html> The archival audio of Douglas’s speeches were copied from collections of the Saskatchewan Archives Board, Birdsong Films, and the NDP. 63

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