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Lester Bowles Pearson Background Son of Methodist Was a member of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (1915) in WWI, then transferred to Royal Flying Corps in England until he was ran over by a London bus and invalided home Took BA at University of Toronto, career undecided, tried law and business, won fellowship to Oxford, hired by U of T to teach history, which he combined with tennis and coaching football Became married and had children Joined the Department of External affairs (now called Foreign Affairs and International Trade) 1928 had attracted the attention of his deputy minister, Oscar Douglas Skelton 1935 sent to London and a First Secretary in the Canadian High Commission, returned to Canada in 1941 o Returned with a belief of importance in collective defence against dictatorships and aggression 1942 sent to Washington as second in command at the Canadian Legation o He was a big hit with the press 1945 he was named Canadian Ambassador to the United States o Attended the founding conference of the United Nations in San Francisco 1946 called home by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and made Deputy Minister (or Undersecretary) of External Affairs o Had strong interest in UN but focussed on economic relationships with US and UK o Lead Canada to Join NATO in 1949, hoping it would lead the USSR to see aggression as futile o Pearson had left civil service for politics by the time NATO was in place 1948 became minister of external affairs and was a representative in the House of Commons o Helped lead Canada into the Korean War as a contributor to the UN Army 1952 served as president of the UN General Assembly o Tried to find a solution to the conflict in Korea o Americans considered him too inclined to compromise on difficult point of principal o 1956 proposed a UN Peacekeeping force as means for easing the British and French out of Egypt  Rewarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for it, by then he was out of office Pearson and the rest of St-Laurent’s cabinet were blamed for not standing by Britain in 1956 o While St-Laurent was prime minister:  Old age pensions extended  Hospital insurance intact  Equalization payments among provinces approved  Newfoundland formally joined Canada  Member of NATO o Lost 1957 election (Won by John Diefenbaker the PC leader) 1958 Liberal Convention Pearson defeated Paul Martin to become leader of the Liberals


1963 election Diefenbaker government collapsed under Nuclear Weapon issue and consequently the Pearson government won a minority government While in power Pearsons cabinet faced many challenges that lead to partisan bitterness including the Flag Debate and Munsinger o Pearsons Cabinet included:  Paul Martin (28yrs in parliament)  John Whitney Pickersgill (from Newfoundland, Diefenbaker’s equal in the house)  Walter Lockhart Gordon (Toronto Businessman)  Mitchell William Sharp-Minister of Trade and Commerce->Minister of Finance  Charles Mills Drury  Etc.

Lester Pearson Research  

Beginning of information found when beginning research on Lester Pearson.

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