Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for November 15th!

Canadian History for Kids: Lois St. Laurent

“Uncle Lou” is sworn in as the 12th Prime Minister in Canadian history on November 15th, 1948. This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of our Canada, looks at the career of Louis St. Laurent

This Canadian History for Kids article begins when Louis St. Laurent, Canada’s 12th Prime Minister, was born February 1, 1882, in Compton, Québec. He was the son of a French-speaking father and an English-speaking Irish mother. Like Laurier, he could trace his Québec roots back three centuries.

St. Laurent was educated at home and attended a religious college to study for the priesthood, but his real interest was the law. He soon transferred to Laval University. He was offered a Rhodes scholarship when he graduated but turned it down to practice law immediately.

This Canadian History for Kids article continues when, in 1941, at Mackenzie King’s request, St. Laurent agreed to become Minister of Justice for the duration of the Second World War. St. Laurent then moved into the Department of External Affairs where, as a committed internationalist, he ensured Canada’s participation in the United Nations. St. Laurent became party leader in 1948 and won the 1949 election with 193 seats. At the age of 66, Louis St. Laurent became prime minister of a united, prosperous country.

“Uncle Louis,” as he was known, easily led the Liberals to two election victories. The St. Laurent years were among the most productive in Canada’s history. He appointed the first Canadian Governor General, introduced universal old age pensions, legislated funds for hospital insurance, and created the Royal Commission on the Arts, Letters and Sciences.

Canada fought in the Korean war and was a founding member of NATO, under St. Laurent.

Even out of power, Canadians never lost their affection and respect for Louis St. Laurent. He died in 1973, at the venerable age of 91.

Canadian History for Kids’ Highlights as Prime Minister

  • Newfoundland joined Canada 1949
  • Trans-Canada Highway Act 1949
  • Canada was a founding member of NATO 1949
  • Canada contributed troops to the UN force in Korea from 1950 to 1953. More than 26,000 Canadians served in the Korean War and 516 died.
  • Canada played a role in resolving Suez Crisis 1956
  • St. Lawrence Seaway started construction 1954
  • introduced equalization payments to distribute federal taxes to provincial governments 1956
  • introduced universal old age pensions
  • provided funds for hospital insurance
  • created Canada Council 1956

And that’s this week Canadian History for Kids Sketches of Canada!
 

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