Tommy Douglas: Exercise 3 - Reading Comprehension
Answer the questions about the story.
The Story of Tommy Douglas
1 In 1919, Tommy Douglas was a teenager standing on a rooftop in downtown Winnipeg. He was looking down on a huge crowd of workers protesting low wages. They could not give their families a good quality of life, even though they worked very hard. Suddenly, the police pulled out their guns and shot over 20 of the protesting workers. Many more were hurt. Tommy was deeply affected by what he saw that day. He believed everyone should have a good quality of life, whether they were rich or poor. He thought it was wrong that people who fought for their rights were being killed.
2 When he was 26, he became a minister so he could help people. His first job was in Saskatchewan. When the miners in his town went on strike, he took them food and blankets. Once more the police came in. They shot and killed three people. Tommy had seen enough. He decided to go into politics to make life better for poor people. He joined a socialist party called the CCF.
3 People tried to scare voters by saying he was a communist. So Tommy told a story about a place called Mouseland. In Mouseland, the mice kept voting for fat black cats who made laws that were only good for cats. To make a change, next time the mice voted for the fat white cats. Of course, nothing changed. Finally one day, a mouse got the idea to vote for other mice. The story ends with everyone calling him a communist! This story helped people understand socialism. The cats were like rich people who were in government at the time. On the other hand, the mice were the working class people that Tommy wanted to see in government.
4 With his bold ideas and ability to speak to a crowd, Tommy connected with voters. He became premier of Saskatchewan in 1944. He had this job until 1961. During that time, he kept his promises to make life better for everyone in Saskatchewan. At the time, only big cities had power for heat and lights. Tommy brought in power across the province. He made a law that bosses had to give workers at least two weeks of paid vacation. He made a bill of rights saying that people of all races and genders are equal. The biggest change of all was that he brought in free health care for everyone in the province.
5 Health care was personal for Tommy. When he was a young boy, he got an infection in his leg. His family was poor and could not afford health care. He was going to lose his leg. Thankfully, a doctor agreed to operate on his leg for free. Most people were not as lucky as he had been in his time of need. In 1959, Tommy brought in free health care for everyone in Saskatchewan, rich and poor. Before long, many people across Canada wanted the same health care rights that people in Saskatchewan had.
6 In 1961, Tommy was voted into the federal government. The federal government put many of Tommy’s ideas in place for the rest of Canada. These ideas included money for seniors, minimum wages, and even health care. In a county-wide vote, in 2004, Canadians named Tommy Douglas as the greatest Canadian of all time.
Story by Shantel Ivits at BC Open Textbooks
Adapted under Creative Commons license
Adaptations and exercises by Richard Carrington, English Language Centre
Photo (edited): Tommy cropped by Samuell is in the public domain
Audio version performed by Peter Polgar, English Language Centre
Choose the best completion for the following sentence. Tommy Douglas ____________
- joined a communist party called the CCF.
- helped striking mine workers by bringing them food, medicine and blankets.
- became a minister in 1926.
- provided striking mine workers with food.
Choose the best completion for this sentence. Tommy Douglas told a story about "Mouseland" ____________
- so more people would support striking miners in Saskatchewan.
- so people would understand the difference between socialism and communism.
- to explain the communist views of his political party.
- because he wanted to entertain people.
Choose the best completion for this sentence. Before Tommy Douglas became the premier of Saskatchewan ____________
- electric power for heat and lights and free health services were only available to people who lived in cities.
- workers got two weeks paid vacation each year.
- the government didn't treat men and women as equals.
- only people living in the countryside had power for heat and lights.
Choose the best completion for this sentence. Tommy Douglas wanted everyone to have free health care because ____________
- a childhood infection caused him to lose a leg.
- he nearly lost a leg when he was a child.
- his family didn't have money to pay for an operation, so he lost a leg.
Which event happened first?
- Tommy Douglas became a member of Canada's federal government.
- Tommy Douglas was named the greatest Canadian of all time.
- Tommy Douglas passed a law giving people in Saskatchewan free health services.
- Tommy Douglas became a provincial premier.
Which event happened first?
- Tommy Douglas made up a story about mice and cats.
- Police shot more than 20 people who were protesting for their rights.
- Tommy Douglas took food and blankets to striking mine workers.
- Tommy Douglas had an operation on his leg.
Which sentence contains information not found in the article?
- Tommy Douglas was named the greatest Canadian of all time in 2004.
- At the age of 26, Tommy Douglas became a Baptist minister.
- Tommy Douglas thought everyone should have free health care.
- Tommy supported miners who were on strike in his hometown.
Which sentence below is true according to the article?
- The Canadian government adopted all of Tommy's ideas.
- Tommy's ideas were adopted by many provinces, including Saskatchewan.
- A lot of Tommy's ideas were adopted by the government of Canada.
- Ontario's government adopted many of Tommy's ideas.
Finish the following sentence. When hometown miners went on strike, ____________
- Tommy joined a socialist party.
- Tommy joined a communist party.
- Tommy made up a story about cats and mice.
- Tommy brought them something to eat.
Who did the mice represent in "Mouseland"?
- members of the CCF in Saskatchewan
- rich people in the government
- miners from Tommy's hometown
- people belonging to the working class