National Post | News

Canadians suffer from a “collective national amnesia” regarding Tommy Douglas’s support for eugenics, likely because they are reluctant to taint the medicare pioneer’s glowing image with unsavoury ideas, suggests a prominent McGill University physician in a new analysis.

Biographies and other accounts of Mr. Douglas’s life have either ignored or down-played his striking embrace in the mid-1930s of forced sterilization and segregation for people of “sub-normal” intelligence and morality, says Dr. Michael Shevell in a newly published academic paper.

He argues that people should instead make a point of remembering the CCF/NDP leader’s early advocacy of eugenics as a cautionary tale about simplistic medical solutions to social problems — even as they admire his many other, positive accomplishments.

“We need to know as Canadians that our past isn’t just one long, unblemished record, and that we have gone down the wrong path on several occasions. We need to be aware…

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