Father of the Atlantic Pact
Louis Stephen St-Laurent never cared much for politics, its gamesmanship or its pretense. Yet under the leadership of this reluctant but passionate visionary, Canada witnessed an era of unprecedented prosperity and international influence. Accusations of arrogance would eventually cause St-Laurent to retire an embattled and disillusioned man. But the golden age would forever be the legacy of "Uncle Louis." The CBC Archives looks back at Canada's unassuming prime minister.
• St-Laurent's first appeal for public support of NATO was conducted in a national broadcast on Nov. 11, 1948. He argued that it was not enough to have the right to national security; what was necessary was the ability to defend that right.
• On April 1949, Canada was the first country to vote for the ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance.
• A strong ally of St-Laurent, Lester B. Pearson, Canada's external affairs minister played a significant role in selling NATO to the Canadian public and negotiating Canada's membership in the organization.
• The first 12 signatories to the North Atlantic Treaty were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower was selected as the first supreme allied commander.
• One of the most significant and unifying points of the treaty is Article Five. Outlining NATO's focus on international security, it states that an "an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all."
Program: CBC Television Special
Broadcast Date: July 23, 1973
Last updated: June 18, 2012
Page consulted on December 5, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
The hesitant climb to the top begins at the Ministry of Justice.
Canada expands its territory with a 10th province.
The unlikely politician achieves a sweeping victory.
Louis St-Laurent vows to continue the record of Liberal excellence.
St-Laurent sets out on a world tour of 12 countries.
St-Laurent finally reaches agreement on the St. Lawrence Seaway.
An economic boom assures St-Laurent's popularity and a second electora...
After an election defeat, St-Laurent resumes his quiet life.
An architect of NATO, St-Laurent takes an international leap.
Louis Stephen St-Laurent never cared much for politics, its gamesmansh...