Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Greatest Canadian

It’s the fall of 2005 and, stealing a page from “World Idol”, comes “Greatest Human”, a contest pitting the “Greatest” TV show winners from all countries against each other. I’m on the phone with Swedish cousin, Lars, trying to explain the show.

Me: “You see, they had a Greatest Canadian, and Greatest American, and Greatest German, and so on and all the winners are going up against each other. It’s a nifty idea.”

Lars: “Ya, Ya. So who are the finalists?”

Me: “Well, there’s Nelson Mandela, and Copernicus, and Rembrandt, and Churchill, and Joanne of Arc, and Gandhi, and Guttenberg…”

Lars: “Ya, ya. So who is the Canadian on the list?”

Me: “Well, umm…you see, the thing is…it’s, uhh, Tommy Douglas.”

Lars: “Tommy Who?”

Me: “Tommy Douglas”

Lars: “Oh ya, him. Loved him in the Game!”

Me: “No, no. That’s Michael Douglas, he’s American.”

Lars: “So, who is Tommy?”

Me: “Well, he was the Premier of one of our smaller, less important provinces in the 50s. Saskatchewan – have you ever heard of it?”

Lars: “Saskatchewan…didn’t he play with Peter Forsberg last year in Colorado?”

Me: “No, no. Never mind. He was also involved in federal politics.”

Lars: “So he was Prime Minister? Like Joe Clark?”

Me: “No, no. He led the third place party. They won 20 or 30 seats under him.”

Lars: “I see…And he’s the Greatest Canadian?”

Me: *sigh* “I guess…”


Me: “He’s also Kiefer Sutherland’s grandfather.”

Lars: “Kiefer! I love Kiefer! 24 is amazing! I’m definitely voting for Michael Douglas!”

Me: “Tommy.”

Lars: “Ya, ya. Tommy. Yay Kiefer!”


  • Wow. This sums it up much better than my tepid response (http://borealblog.blogspot.com/2004/11/and-winner-is.html), and with significantly more humour.

    No offense to good old Tommy, but he didn't belong in the same league with Trudeau, Banting, Fox or Macdonald.

    Then again, Don Cherry didn't win, so there's hope for us yet.

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    As for Tommy D, give him "Greatest Saskatchewanian" (Saskatchewaner? Saskwatch?) if you want, but his only real impact outside of Sask was Health Care. And a lot of other people like Lester Pearson and Emmett Hall were neccesary for Health Care to become a national institution. I'd stick Douglas at around 8th or 9th on my list.

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