Douglas was the first socialist leader of a government on this continent. He was the first leader of the federal NDP. He was the father of medicare in Canada. It is hard to imagine a figure more important to the development of the NDP and to socialism in Canada. History has been kind to Tommy Douglas, though he never became Prime Minister, and he is as highly regarded by the general public now as ever before.
This is my favourite speech Tommy Douglas ever delivered: The Story of Mouseland: As told by Tommy Douglas in 1944. Introduced by his grandson, actor Kiefer Sutherland. (You can read the text of this classic speech here: http://www.dcf.ca/en/mouseland.htm )