"In Shirley's honour, we will use our collective voices to stand up to governments, employers and corporations that try to undermine and destroy the quality of health care in our country. Rest in peace, Shirley, we will carry on." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (06 April 2020) — The members of the National Union of the Public and General Employees (NUPGE) are saddened by the death of Shirley Douglas, a friend, an advocate, and a passionate ally for public services in Canada.
"We lost a powerful voice in the campaign to keep our health care in public hands," said Larry Brown, NUPGE President. "It is especially poignant, considering the health crisis we are experiencing globally."
Shirley was an award-winning actress and the daughter of Tommy Douglas, widely known as the father of public Medicare in Canada. Shirley tirelessly gave her time to be a national spokesperson for the Canadian Health Coalition, of which NUPGE is a member, over many years from coast to coast to coast. As a champion of public health care, she also acted as a spokesperson to the Toronto Health Coalition. In her later years, Shirley helped by arranging for her son, Kiefer to do ads against for-profit private clinics, by speaking at public events, and by sending encouraging messages to Health Coalition events.
She brought her personal commitment and passion for quality public health care, building on the legacy of her father, Tommy Douglas, widely know as the father of public Medicare in Canada. Shirley had an intimate knowledge of the birth of Medicare and was a fierce defender of Canada’s public health care system. She spoke up against provincial privatization agendas, international trade agreements that undermined public health care, and powerful for-profit health corporations.
"In Shirley's honour, we will continue to fight against the privatization of our public health system," said Brown. "We will use our collective voices to stand up to governments, employers and corporations that try to undermine and destroy the quality of health care in our country. Rest in peace, Shirley, we will carry on."
Shirley passed Sunday morning from complications arising from pneumonia and is survived by her ex-husband Donald Sutherland and her children, Kiefer, Thomas and Rachel.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE