Thomas Clement Douglas, PC , CC , SOM , MA , LL.D (October 20, 1904 – February 24, 1986) was a Scottish-born Canadian Baptist minister until becoming a democratic socialist politician.
As leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) from 1942 and the eighth Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961, he led the first socialist government in North America.
- "Instead of treating [homosexuality] as a crime and driving it underground we ought to recognize it for what it is. It's a mental illness; it's a psychiatric condition which ought to be treated sympathetically, which ought to be treated by psychiatrists and social workers."
- Said in the 1968 Leaders debate on the proposed Omnibus bill to decriminalize homosexuality (a progressive view at the time).
- "In this chamber, sir, a man's stature is measured from the shoulders up." (responding to a Member of Parliament's quip about Douglas' diminutive frame)
- There once was a parliamentarian from our west who said: "Canada is like an old cow. The West feeds it. Ontario and Quebec milk it. And you can well imagine what it's doing in the Maritimes." (June 29, 1983)
- "I don't mind being a symbol but I don't want to become a monument. There are monuments all over the Parliament Buildings and I've seen what the pigeons do to them."
- "Courage, my friends; 'tis not too late to build a better world."
- "Man can now fly in the air like a bird, swim under the ocean like a fish, he can burrow into the ground like a mole. Now if only he could walk the earth like a man, this would be paradise."
- "I am hurt, but I am not slain. I shall lay me down and bleed a while, then rise and fight again." (originally said by Andrew Barton)
- "The [Liberal] federal government's trouble is that they have a wishbone where they should have a backbone."
- "The Liberals talk about a stable government but we don’t know how bad the stable is going to smell."
- "Seventy years ago we pledged to provide health care for every man, woman and child, regardless of race, colour or financial status... and by God we're going to do it!"
- "New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth; They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth; Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! We ourselves must Pilgrims be, Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea, Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key" (originally said by James Russell Lowell).
- "It's the story of a place called Mouseland. Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played, were born and died. And they lived much the same as you and I do. They even had a Parliament. And every four years they had an election. Used to walk to the polls and cast their ballots. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. And got a ride for the next four years afterwards too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government. A government made up of big, fat, black cats. Now if you think it strange that mice should elect a government made up of cats, you just look at the history of Canada for last 90 years and maybe you'll see that they weren't any stupider than we are. Now I'm not saying anything against the cats. They were nice fellows. They conducted their government with dignity. They passed good laws--that is, laws that were good for cats. But the laws that were good for cats weren't very good for mice. One of the laws said that mouseholes had to be big enough so a cat could get his paw in. Another law said that mice could only travel at certain speeds--so that a cat could get his breakfast without too much physical effort. All the laws were good laws. For cats. But, oh, they were hard on the mice. And life was getting harder and harder. And when the mice couldn't put up with it any more, they decided something had to be done about it. So they went en masse to the polls. They voted the black cats out. They put in the white cats. Now the white cats had put up a terrific campaign. They said: "All that Mouseland needs is more vision." They said:"The trouble with Mouseland is those round mouseholes we got. If you put us in we'll establish square mouseholes." And they did. And the square mouseholes were twice as big as the round mouseholes, and now the cat could get both his paws in. And life was tougher than ever. And when they couldn't take that anymore, they voted the white cats out and put the black ones in again. Then they went back to the white cats. Then to the black cats. They even tried half black cats and half white cats. And they called that coalition. They even got one government made up of cats with spots on them: they were cats that tried to make a noise like a mouse but ate like a cat. You see, my friends, the trouble wasn't with the colour of the cat. The trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats, they naturally looked after cats instead of mice. Presently there came along one little mouse who had an idea. My friends, watch out for the little fellow with an idea. And he said to the other mice, "Look fellows, why do we keep on electing a government made up of cats? Why don't we elect a government made up of mice?" "Oh," they said, "he's a Bolshevik. Lock him up!" So they put him in jail. But I want to remind you: that you can lock up a mouse or a man but you can't lock up an idea!"