Saskatchewan general election, 1960

Saskatchewan general election, 1960

The Saskatchewan general election of 1960 was the fourteenth provincial election held in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It was held on June 8 1960, to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.

The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation of Tommy Douglas campaigned promising a public medical insurance plan for all of the citizens of Saskatchewan, and was re-elected with a slightly increased majority. The CCF won despite opposition from the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The College told voters that public medicare would take freedom of choice away from patients, and it would cause doctors to leave the province.

A year later, Douglas passed legislation making Saskatchewan the first province in Canada to have public medicare. That same year, Douglas resigned as leader of the CCF to become leader of the federal New Democratic Party.


In addition to the elections campaigns led by the four main political parties, the College of Physicians and Surgeons launched a full scale campaign against medicare.


The CCF, led by Premier Tommy Douglas, proposed "a province-wide medical care program". Douglas assured voters that the only thing that would change about the medical system would be that the doctor would bill the medical care plan instead of billing the patient. The CCF won the election, with thirty seven seats, one more than in the previous election in 1956.

=Progressive Conservatives=

The Tories, led by Martin Pederson, a 38-year-old farmer, won considerable support in the cities (Regina and Saskatoon), but were not able to win any seats in the legislature. The 15 federal Progressive Conservative Members of Parliament who were from Saskatchewan campaigned for the provincial party. The main issue for the Tories was not medicare, but farm prosperity. They promised farmers grant of a dollar an acre ($247/km²) from the province, with a maximum of $100. The Tories claimed that this program would be made possible by assistance from the federal government of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, who was a Saskatchewaner himself, and a former leader of the Saskatchewan PCs. The Tories proposed a royal commission to review medicare, but did not commit to implementing the idea.


The Liberals, led by Ross Thatcher of Moose Jaw, claimed that Pederson's promise of land payments was tantamount to bribery. The Liberals won 17 seats, and formed the official opposition. Thatcher, who was a former member of the CCF, was concerned about the economic problems in the province. He was not in favour or opposed to medicare, stating that it would be up to the people of Saskatchewan to decide whether or not the porovince would implement medicare. They were also in favour of pre-paid medical insurance. The Liberals were concerned that the economic development of Saskatchewan had lagged behind the rest of Canada during the Douglas era. They were also concerned about the proposed merger of the CCF and the Canadian Labour Congress that later led to the formation of the New Democratic Party.

ocial Credit

The Social Credit Party of Saskatchewan was led by the 38-year-old Martin Kelln. Kelln had strong views about monetary reform and the social credit movement, and was viewed by many as a serious threat to the ruling CCF government. However, the party was unable to win any seats. The Socreds were the only party openly opposed to the proposal for medicare.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons

The College of Physisicans and Surgeons, while not running as a party, ran a campaign against the idea of medicare. Almost all doctors in Saskatchewan were against medicare, and many had pamphlets available in their offices. The College paid for anti-medicare ads in newspapers and on television. The College used scare tactics to frighten the public, claiming, for example, that patients would just be numbers, and that patients would be assigned new doctors based on their names, or that the government would be able to pass on medical secrets of patients.



1Compared to Labour Progressive Party in 1956 election.

2One seat declared void.

Source: [ Elections Saskatchewan]

ee also

*List of Saskatchewan political parties

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