What could be more fitting, the day after the US threw out some white cats and replaced them with some black cats than to hear, again, that brilliant, funny and stirring speech known as "Mouseland".
Tommy Douglas makes me proud of Canada. That he is revered here, and remembered as a hero, makes me proud of Canada. Tommy Douglas reminds me of what government can do if we elect the right people; he reminds me of why I'm a socialist.
We have to safeguard his legacy.
Here's what I wrote about this in the spring.
And here's "Mouseland":
On this Saskatchewan NDP website, you can hear a recording of it, too.
This is the story of a place called Mouseland. Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played. Were born and died. And they lived much as you and I do. They even had a parliament. And every four years they had an election. They used to walk to the polls and cast their ballot. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. They got a ride for the next four years afterward too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day, all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government. A government made up of big black fat cats.
Now if you think it's strange that mice should elect a government made up of cats. You just look at the history of Canada for the last ninety years and maybe you'll see they weren't any stupider than we are.
Now I am not saying anything against the cats. They were nice fellows; they conducted the government with dignity. They passed good laws. That is, laws that were good for cats.
But the laws that were good for cats weren't very good for mice. One of the laws said that mouse holes had to be big enough so a cat could get his paw in. Another law said that mice could only travel at certain speeds so that a cat could get his breakfast without too much physical effort.
All the laws were good laws for cats. But oh, they were hard on the mice. And life was getting harder and harder. And when the mice couldn't put up with it anymore they decided something had to be done about it. So they went en masse the polls.
They voted the black cats out. They put in the white cats. The white cats had put up a terrific campaign. They said all that Mouseland needs is more vision. They said the trouble with Mouseland is those round mouse holes we've got. If you put us in we'll establish square mouse holes. And they did. And the square mouse holes were twice as big as the round mouse holes. And now the cat could get both his paws in. And life was tougher than ever.
And when they couldn't take that anymore they voted the white cats out and put the black ones in again. And then they went back to the white cats, and then to the black, they even tried half black cats and half white cats. And they called that coalition. They even got one government made up with up cats with spots on them. They were cats that tried to make a noise like a mouse but they ate like a cat.
You see my friends the trouble wasn't with the colour of the cats. The trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats they naturally look after cats instead of mice.
Presently there came along one little mouse who had an idea. My friends watch out for the little fellow with an idea. He said to the other mice. "Look fellows why do we keep electing a government made up of cats, why don't we elect a government made up of mice?" Oh, they said, he's a Bolshevik. So they put him in jail.
But I want to remind you that you can lock up a mouse or a man but you can't lock up an idea.