Lester B. Pearson's Impact On Canada

804 words - 4 pages

Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson was a prominent figure in Canada in the 1960s. Pearson was Canada's most significant post WWII prime minister because of his government's many innovations that still benefit Canadians today. He fostered Canadian nationalism, which continues to the present day, promoted equality throughout Canada – equality that now thrives as part of Canada's identity – and he introduced many social services that are still implemented today.
First, the Pearson government took initiatives that enhance Canadian nationalism. Pearson's government introduced the current Maple Leaf Flag on February 15, 1965 (Bourdon). Before then, the flag that Canada used was the Canadian Red Ensign ("1956-1968"). That flag included the Union Jack, which French Canadians resented ("1956-1968"). The adoption of the new flag showed both Canada's independence and the importance of representing Canada as a whole. Also, Pearson adopted the current national anthem. A special joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons was considering the status of 'God Save the Queen' and 'O Canada' ("National Anthem: O Canada"). Pearson, by a motion in the House of Commons, requested “that the government be authorized to take such steps as may be necessary to provide that “O Canada” shall be the National Anthem of Canada” ("National Anthem: O Canada"). This motion led to the establishment of our current national anthem, which Canadians are patriotic towards. In addition, Pearson promoted Canadian nationhood by creating another symbol. He replaced the system of British honours that were previously awarded to Canadians with the Order of Canada on April 17, 1967 (Bourdon). This replacement further showed Canada's independence from Great Britain while developing Canadian patriotism. Pearson's development of nationalism shows how patriotic and important he was to the Canadian identity.
Second, Pearson established the importance of equality in Canada, equality that continues to the present day. Pearson played a major role in defining gender equality by creating the Royal Commission on the Status of Women on February 3, 1967 (Morris). This Royal Commission produced 167 recommendations “to ensure equality for women in all aspects of society” (Morris). The Commission led to equality for women, as well as a greater awareness of women's right which is still advocated today. Also, Pearson laid the foundation for bilingualism and increased acceptance of cultural diversity by creating the Royal Commission of Bilingualism and Biculturalism on July 19, 1963 (Laing; Bourgeois 276). This Royal Commission led to both Prime Minister Trudeau's...

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