Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story
“My friends, watch out for the little fellow with an idea.” – Tommy Douglas 1961
For more than 50 years, his unwavering commitment to social justice, his brilliant political acumen and pugnacious charm earned Tommy Douglas both the love and respect of millions of Canadians. Many of the things we now take for granted – government insurance, the 8-hour work day, government funding for the arts and, most importantly, universal health care – were first introduced in Canada by Tommy Douglas.
Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story, a two-part four-hour mini-series, follows Tommy Douglas’ path from 1930-1961. The young Baptist minister, Tommy Douglas and his bride, Irma moved to Weyburn, Saskatchewan in 1930, just as the dirty thirties were exacting their awful toll of failed crops and depression across the province. Not content to preach Christian values while the members of his congregation were being ground down by unresponsive governments in 1935, Tommy challenged and defeated the sitting Member of Parliament for Weyburn, Liberal E.J. Young.
The people of Saskatchewan and the people of Canada had a champion.
As premier of Saskatchewan, Tommy Douglas and his brilliant finance minister stare down economic threats from big business and vested interests which are determined to bankrupt the province. The CCF triumphs – protecting its people from farm foreclosures, instituting government insurance, building roads and bringing electricity to rural communities, declaring a Bill of Rights.
M.J. Coldwell persuades Tommy, who has just been elected for the fifth time as premier, to become leader of the emerging New Democratic Party. As he fights for election on a national platform, Tommy is also waging the most bitter struggle of his career. The doctors of Saskatchewan are on strike against ‘state medicine’.
Director: John N. Smith
Writer: Bruce M. Smith
Executive Producer: Kevin DeWalt
Producer: Kevin DeWalt
Cast: Michael Therriault, Kristin Booth, Don McKellar, Nicholas Campbell, Paul Gross