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Louis St. Laurent: A Politician In Canadian History

1368 words - 5 pages

Canadian history consists of many memorable moments, including many great leaders that helped Canada become what it is today, like the well-known Louis St. Laurent. He was born on Feb. 1st, 1882 in Compton, Quebec, and died on July 25, 1973 in Quebec City (Coucil, 13). Louis St. Laurent was raised in a mixed family, with a French - speaking father, and English - speaking Irish mother, and was fluently bilingual. He studied many years in law, where he graduated from law school, at Laval University in 1914, and had been a successful corporation lawyer (“St-Stephen, St. Laurent”). Laurent entered politics a lot later in his years, as he became older; however he still managed to have a large impact on Canada, and achieved many accomplishments. Louis St. Laurent was an extremely important, and well-respected politician, because he helped resolve the conscription crisis from 1940-1944 (,Pickersgill,14), and prevented the government and cabinet from collapsing, which would have caused the society to fall apart at the time, he was involved in the establishment of the Canada Council, which introduced support for Canadian arts, to help Canada separate from the influence of American culture (Jocelyn), and lastly he welcomed Newfoundland into confederation in 1949 (“Newfoundland History”), which was a large accomplishment because of the failures Many other politicians experienced in trying to do so before.
The first major accomplishment that Louis St. Laurent achieved, which made him extremely important was resolving the conscription crisis. He had just entered politics when the crisis had taken place. It lasted between the years of 1940-1944, and took place during mid- World War Two (Pickersgill, 13). The conscription crisis started with disagreements between French-English Canadians, over the decision of services outside of Canada, where many French-Canadians were against the idea, and many English-Canadians were agreeing with it. Louis St. Laurent supported Mackenzie kings decision to hold a referendum, where voters were asked whether they would “release the government from any obligation arising out of any services”, (J.W Pickersgill, 13). This would allow the government to conscript men overseas if the voters agreed to vote for the referendum. Quebec however was against the idea. Louis St. Laurent tried to convince Quebeckers to trust the judgment of the government, during his speech in Parliament on Jan. 23, 1942 when he said that, “The safest thing for the people of Quebec is to trust the judgment of the Prime Minister” (Pickersgill, 14). He had a very high level of communication skills, and his speech on the referendum helped calm down majority of Canadians, by making people aware of the option that was being given to them, in a more positive way, to get voters to say yes, which made him an extremely important asset during this event. However, at the same time Quebec was still against the referendum, and was deciding to vote against it. Louis St....

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