Known as "Mike" to many people, Lester B. Pearson was a quiet man who had big ideas for Canada. As the 14th PM, he spent two years in office and in that time completely transformed the country.
His greatest achievement is considered to be the Suez Canal Crisis. In 1956, the Egyptians blockaded the Suez Canal. This action almost caused another war because of the hostilities it aroused. Things really got out of hand when Britain, France and Israel attacked Egypt to take back the canal. This is where Pearson stepped in and got everyone to agree to have a neutral UN force to maintain peace. For this, Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957. He is the only Canadian to have won that particular honour and the committee who awarded it to him said that he had "saved the world". I don't know if I entirely agree with that but I do think that he averted major disaster.
Here's a list of things he accomplished while in office:
Established the Canada Pension Plan
Est. interest free student loans
National Labour Code
Royal Commission on Women
Royal Commission on Bilingualism, Biculturalism
New Maple Leaf Flag
Overturned the old immigration policy
In essence, he gave Canada its identity. He gave us our peacekeeping policies, our bilingualism, our flag, etc. Not surprisingly, in 2003 he was voted the best PM in the last 50 years in an overwhelming majority.
While he seemed like such a mild mannered man he was the driving force to bring Canada into the modern age. He died in 1972, losing his battle with cancer but the legacy he left behind is still here.
I don't know what would have happened if he hadn't been PM and it's something I don't want to think about but I do know that if he's voted 'The Greatest Canadian' it will be a well-deserved title.
Quote: "Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects."
- Lester B. Pearson