LB Pearson got his Nobel prize exactly 50 years ago

If you're anything like me, and you don't happen to know who The Right Hon. Lester Bowles, P.C., C.C., O.M., O.B.E., B.A., M.A., LL.D. is, you might think "So What?!?". I think he was one of the most important politicians Canada ever had and quite possibly the best. He did more to take this country into modernity than any other P.M. (at least that I know of, which is not saying much) and he did it mostly while in a minority government. Because so many high-schools and even the airport where I first entered Canada bear his name, it is almost impossible to find a video clip with him, but here it is: As you can tell, the best are not also telegenic... Here's what he accomplished (mostly in a minority government):
  1. Instrumental in the creation of the UN
  2. Nobel Prize for his intervention in the Suez Crisis
  3. Won the Liberal Party leadership and singlehandedly transformed it into Canada's default ruling party
  4. While in a minority government, he imposed
    • national universal Medicare,
    • Canada Pension Plan,
    • Family Assistance Plan,
    • Interest free loans for university,
    • National labour code with minimum wage, 40-hour work week, 2 weeks vacation,
    • Crop insurance to protect farmers,
    • World's first race-free, point-based immigration policy,
    • Royal Commission on Women,
    • Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism,
    • all without incurring a deficit
  5. Forced the adoption of the current flag, replacing the older British flag
  6. Rebuked Charles de Gaulle and declared him persona non-grata after "Vive le Quebec Libre"
  7. Committed Canada to the Peacekeeping doctrine
  8. Negotiated Canada-United States Automotive Agreement, or Auto Pact, which led to the creation of thousands of jobs in southern Ontario sending unemployment to one of the lowest levels
Sources: Wikipedia: writeup: archives:


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