Shining a spotlight on rural electricity

The Prince Albert Historical Museum. Herald File Photo

The Prince Albert Northcote NDP are gearing up to celebrate former premier Tommy Douglas by highlighting what Douglas saw as his greatest accomplishment — rural electrification.

Douglas served as premier from July of 1944 until November 1961, and then served as an MP from 1969-1979. While he’s known as the father of Medicare, Douglas’ government also created SaskPower, SGI, SaskTel and other crown corporations, formed the Saskatchewan Arts Board passed the Saskatchewan Bill of Rights and passed legislation that allowed unionization of the public service. Tommy Douglas Day was proclaimed in 2005, and is celebrated on October 20, his birthday.

“As a constituency association, we saw a gap I celebrating this holiday,” said event organizer Troy Parenteau.

“We thought it would be a good way to energize the city of Prince Albert around the progressive vision Douglas had. He took over at a time where people saw corporate interests being overbearing on people’s lives, and really created a system of equity in the province.”

The celebration, which will be held at the Prince Albert Historical Society, will include a scavenger hunt, appetizer meal and special theatrical performance written specifically for the event.

Last year, the celebration focused on Medicare. This year, organizers felt it was time to celebrate Douglas’ favourite part of his legacy.

“(Rural electrification) is not only his lesser-known accomplishment, in Tommy’s eyes, it was his greatest,” Parenteau said.

“We think it’s important to celebrate the accomplishments and progress that happened during his two decades of premiership.”

The event will run from 7-9:30 p.m. Tickets are $40, and will be available at the door.

“If anyone is interested in coming, we would welcome them. We hope to share a great evening,” Parenteau said.

“We hope when people leave, they can see a glimmer of the contribution that Tommy made to the province of Saskatchewan.