Doctors On Strike? 1962 and the Birth of Canadian Medicare

In 1961, Saskatchewan CCF Premier Tommy Douglas moved to fulfill a campaign promise to provide universal medical care insurance— an effort that would produce fierce opposition from Saskatchewan’s doctors, culminating in a 23-day doctors’ strike in July of 1962. The program’s success resulted Canada-wide medicare coverage in 1968. What can be learned from this example, where progressive reforms were opposed by a well-resourced and entrenched establishment? Is this labour action by doctors — to defend their profits — an example of a bad strike? Why have efforts to expand medicare to include pharmacare and dental care stalled for so long?

Further reading:
Doctors’ Strike: Medical Care and Conflict in Saskatchewan (1967) by Robin F. Badgley and Samuel Wolfe
Bitter Medicine, Part One: The Birth of Medicare (NFB documentary)

A transcript follows the break.

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MINI-EP: Building Left Media with Andre Goulet

Andre Goulet of the newly-launched Harbinger Media Network joins Team Advantage to talk about the problem of reactionary podcasts that unfortunately top the charts. How might we expand the reach of fledgling left-wing podcasts and help get our ideas into the mainstream?

To learn more about Harbinger, visit and follow @harbingertweets. Follow Andre Goulet on twitter @andremarrgoulet.

A transcript follows the break.

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Mobilizing for the Climate Emergency: Seth Klein’s Good War

Art by Meital Smith

During the Second World War, Canada shifted to full employment, remaking its economy, retooling factories, and transforming the workforce to mobilize against an existential threat. What would it look like to mobilize against today’s existential threat: climate catastrophe?

Seth Klein joins Team Advantage to discuss his new book, A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency, calling out today’s Neville Chamberlains of the climate emergency, and outlining how a rapid transition could create jobs, reduce inequality, and tackle our climate obligations.

Check the book out at, and register for the Alberta book launch on October 5th here. A full transcript is below, courtesy of Opal Transcription Services.

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The Attack on Post-Secondary Education

As the pandemic hits budgets hard, Kenney’s UCP is continuing to push towards “performance-based funding” for Alberta’s universities, colleges, and post-secondary institutions. How does this contribute to the already ongoing corporate influence and profit-making trends we’ve seen in post-secondary education, and how do these changes contribute to the UCP’s broader assault on organized labour in the province? Marc Schroeder, former president of the Mount Royal Faculty Association, joins Team Advantage to discuss why low-cost, accessible, and public post-secondary education in Alberta is something we can’t afford to lose.

Education workers and students should complete AUPE’s Advanced Education Survey here. Another useful resource is the Canadian Association of University Teachers, as well as the Athabasca University Faculty Association.

A full transcript follows the break.

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MINI-EP: Chrystia Freeland’s Nazi Collaborator Grandfather

Chrystia Freeland did indeed have a Nazi-collaborator grandfather, Michael Chomiak. Why is this relevant, and why is it worth talking about?

Davide Mastracci joins Team Advantage to discuss his recent article in Passage, Chrystia Freeland Must Account For Her Nazi Collaborator Grandfather. Who was Freeland’s grandfather, Michael Chomiak, and what did he do while editor-in-chief of a Ukrainian-language newspaper launched in January 1940 shortly after Nazi occupation? Did he ever express regret for his actions? Does Chrystia Freeland think his actions are regrettable? What might be motivating Freeland’s evasion of this issue?

A full transcript follows the break.

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Western Alienation: Manufactured Conservative Grievance Oil Politics

Photo credit: Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press

Western Alienation! Wexit! Separation! Are these merely tales told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? Team Advantage convenes to discuss the phenomenon of western alienation, examining its long history, how it obscures capitalist alienation and reconstructs it to defend regional capitalist interests, and shapes an explicitly right-wing collective identity for Alberta. How is it that western alienation coincidentally makes the concerns of oil millionaires “everyone’s problem?” Does blaming Ottawa for everything really distract from policy failures here in Alberta?

Visit for a real plan to guarantee Alberta’s independence.

A full transcript follows the break.

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MINI EP: Meryam Haddad, Green Party Leadership Candidate

Meryam Haddad, leadership candidate for the Green Party of Canada, joins Team Advantage to discuss ecosocialism, decarbonization and energy transition, and her positive vision for workers while avoiding ecological catastrophe.

Check out Meryam’s campaign at

For information on the GPC Leadership Contest, visit

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CRACKDOWN: Losing Hope

Today, August 31, 2020, is International Overdose Awareness Day. Team Advantage is rebroadcasting this episode of CRACKDOWN, featuring an interview between host Garth Mullins and Tim Slaney, a harm reduction worker at the Lethbridge supervised consumption site (that shut down today). Listen to more and subscribe at

Today is International Overdose Awareness Day, but so what? Who needs to be made aware? Who among us can’t see the corpses piling up from this endless war?

And just when you think things can’t get much bleaker, they do.

On today’s show Garth interviews Tim Slaney. Tim is a harm reduction worker at the supervised consumption site in Lethbridge, Alberta – one of the busiest in the world. And the government is shutting it down.

Music from the Arches Mic Club featured in this episode:

“Dream Big” by Lonzo, Leland, and Doobyis

“Fully Beaded” by Lonzo, Doobyis, and Buck 

“Back at the Start” by Karley B 

“Speak These Words” by Lil Branden, Doobyis, Colicchie, and Lonzo

MINI EP: Dimitri Lascaris, Green Party Leadership Candidate

Dimitri Lascaris, leadership candidate for the Green Party of Canada, joins Team Advantage to discuss socialism, the state of the Canadian media ecosystem, proposals to increase the power of workers in our economy, and how to challenge the establishment — both within political parties and in the media landscape.

Check out Dimitri’s campaign at

To vote in the GPC leadership race, buy or renew your membership by September 3, 2020. For information on the GPC Leadership Contest, visit

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Back to School in Pandemic Alberta

Jason Kenney’s attacks on public education continue. Politicized attacks on Alberta’s curriculum review, farcical comments by government spokespeople, and poor planning for the return to classes mid-pandemic are all eroding trust in public education. Medeana Moussa and Barb Silva from Support Our Students join Team Advantage to discuss what awaits students as they return to school.

Learn more about Support Our Students at, on Twitter @SOSAlberta, on Facebook, and download their toolkit at

A full transcript follows the break.

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