PM#12 – The Prime Minister from Compton
After doing some research, I conclude that Louis St. Laurent rivals Sir Arthur Meighen for the title of “Captain Boring.” For example, unlike Richard Bedford Bennett, none of St. Laurent’s online biographies refer to his penis. Before writing today’s post, I had this vague notion that Louis St. Laurent was one of the more exciting Canadian Prime Ministers, but now I think I may have had him mixed up in my head with Louis Riel¹. So, apologies in advance for the boringosity. I’ll make it up to you next week, with my post on Dief.
|Name||Louis-Étienne St. Laurent|
|Born:||February 1, 1882 in Compton, Quebec|
|Died:||July 25 1973|
|Held Office:||November 15, 1948 – June 21, 1957|
|Best known for:||-first PM to live at 24 Sussex Drive-as a post-war PM, he took the tax surplus that were no longer needed for war and paid down Canada’s debt from WWI, WWII and the Great Depression-the he put money into a bunch of social programs: the Canada Council (supports the arts), Hospital Insurance (prelude to Medicare), old age pensions, family allowances, support for postsecondary education
-oversaw Canada’s involvement in the Korean War
|Some Things I Didn’t Know About This P.M.||-didn’t enter politics until he was almost 60 years old-he seemed to be a big player in the conscription crisis of 1944 – King brought him into the government as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General and he support King’s introduction of conscription, which wasn’t popular with Quebec and so required a Quebecer like St. Laurent to help deal with it-he was one of the leaders in establishing NATO
-oversaw the entry of Newfound into Confederation in 1949
-his government introduced Equalization Payments (redistribution of taxes among provinces so the rich provinces help out the poorer ones)
-I always thought of St. Laurent as being from waaaay back in the long, long, long distant past. But my parents were alive when he became P.M. That’s really not that long ago.
If you are just dying to read more about L.S.L. (although I can’t imagine why you would), check out:
St. Laurent & Churchill
¹If there’s a special place in hell for people who don’t know their Canadian history, I’m totally going there.
Image credits: From from the Library and Archives Canada, copyright is expired.