Uncle Louis takes the lead
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.
• It has been said that St-Laurent was the first prime minister to establish a "media image" during an election. St-Laurent chatted with children and gave speeches in his shirt sleeves, contrary to the lawyerly fashion with which he normally conducted himself.
• St-Laurent was asked years later why he thought people were so fond of him during the first election. Tongue in cheek, he responded, "I felt that they were getting the impression that the fact that I was of French descent and of the Catholic religion didn't prevent me from being a likeable chap."
• The final tally gave 190 seats to the Liberals, 41 seats to the Progressive Conservative's, 13 to the CCF, 10 to the Social Credit Party and 8 went to independents.
• St-Laurent inherited a strong government and a healthy political climate. He maintained most of King's cabinet and appointed Pearson, who had already established himself as a world diplomat, as the minister of external affairs. With a record of social and economic achievements, Mackenzie King's legacy helped St-Laurent define his own.
Program: Political Broadcasts
Broadcast Date: May 9, 1949
Last updated: January 16, 2012
Page consulted on February 21, 2014
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...