Norman Bethune - Political Activities

Political Activities

Bethune became increasingly disillusioned with surgical treatment and concerned with the socioeconomic aspects of disease. As a concerned doctor in Montreal during the economic depression years of the 1930s, Bethune frequently sought out the poor and gave them free medical care. He challenged his professional colleagues and agitated, without success, for the government to make radical reforms of medical care and health services in Canada.

Bethune was an early proponent of socialized medicine and formed the Montreal Group for the Security of People's Health. In 1935 Bethune travelled to the Soviet Union to observe first hand their system of health care. During this year he became a committed communist and joined the Communist Party of Canada. He at first was not convinced communism was the answer to the world's problems; however, when returning from the Spanish civil war to raise support for the Loyalist cause, he openly identified with the communist cause.

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