Was Wilfrid Laurier A Good Prime Minister? This Essay Is Opinionated Towards Yes.

988 words - 4 pages

Wilfred Laurier was a great prime minister! His compromises may have made many people grumble, but it would be much worse if he'd gone in favour with one group of people. Imagine the chaos if half the country were happy and half the country were angry. The ones who'd gotten what they wanted would scorn the ones who hadn't for wanting something else, and the ones who hadn't gotten what they wanted would want to unseat Wilfred Laurier. His compromises were the best way to keep the country in check. The four major events that occurred during Laurier's times were the Boer War, the Naval Crisis, the Alaska Boundary Dispute, and the Reciprocity issue.The Boer war was fought in South Africa in the late nineteenth century. The crisis caused in Canada by it was centred on imperialism. When British colonists discovered gold and diamonds in South Africa, they attempted to take it over from the Boers, the descendants of Dutch colonists. The Boers soon declared war against Britain. The British asked for Canadian soldiers to try to help fight the Boers. Many imperialist English Canadians wanted to help Britain, although many French Canadians did not. Laurier managed to come to a compromise, and agreed to help by equipping and transporting 1000 volunteers. In the end, 7300 volunteers were sent, and $2.8 million was spent supporting Britain. There were many responses to his course of action, although the larger parties weren't impressed. The imperialists felt that Canada had let Britain down, although the French Canadians felt that Canada had done too much. Despite the complaints of the country, Laurier was re-elected in 1900.Laurier also had some crucial decision making to do when Britain requested funding to help build their navy. Britain was afraid that a war with Germany would soon be started. Britain and Germany were in a race to own the largest navy in the world, and without funding from its colonies, it would soon fall behind. Laurier's great idea this time: the Naval Service Bill. This tax would allow Canada to have its own navy, which could be put under British control if necessary. Service in this navy would be voluntary. Five cruisers and six destroyers were to be built immediately and naval bases would be set up at Esquimalt, British Columbia, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Once again, the arguments greeting this idea weren't good. The English Canadians believed that Canada should make an outright contribution instead of setting up a 'tin-pot navy'. The French Canadians complained that soldiers could now be sent to fight Britain's wars all the time. Laurier stated that Canada would decide how much it would participate in future wars.The Alaska Boundary Dispute was an argument between Canadians and Americans regarding the 'panhandle' of Alaska, a colony purchased from Russia in 1876 by the Americans. No one had ever cared about the exact borders between the panhandle and Canada, until the great Klondike gold rush in 1898....

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