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HIS311H5 (2)

HIS311Y1February 7.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Chris Pennington

HIS311Y1 February 7 2012The Old Smoothie The Pearson Years 196368Although Pearson himself was certainly the most famous Canadian in the world at the time he was PM and before and continues to be associated with Canadas great foreign policy successes he didnt have a lot of foreign policy achievements when he was PM Most of his glory days came before that His time in PM focused on domestic affairsspecifically Quebec There were of course some achievements and setbacks The old dichotomy between US and Britain had fallen to the wayside and all that mattered was Canadas relationship with the USSmoothie is a derogatory termhe was not a smooth politician He never seemed to be totally in control of the situationwas always fumbling something The skills that were so beneficial to him as a diplomatpatience caution and compromise to see the good in anothers argumentsthese were a lot less valuable in partisan politics It was necessary for Pearson to be tougher than to seek common ground with them Pearson was never particularly well suited to this arena He didnt have the certain charisma that Diefenbaker had he wasnt a good public speaker had a bit of a lisp Had a reputation for being wimpy he wore bowties He didnt come off like a commanding figure Ones image is important in politics Lester B Pearson 18971972 I like Mike Secretary of State of External Affairs 194857 Liberal Leader 195768 Prime Minister 196368Last PM of his time to not speak FrenchEverybody liked Mike until he became PMThe origins of the I like mike slogan Pearson is Toronto born son of a Methodist pastor Good athlete Came to prominence as a civil servant officer in the department of external affairs In 1948 he made the jump to politics Succeeded Louis St Laurent and served from 196368 His family and friends knew him universally as Mike The origin of the name Mike volunteered for the flying corps reckless dangerous and glorious when he was in training and his flying commander thought Lester was too wimpy of a name and nicknamed him Mike and it stuckDuring campaigns the slogan campaign didnt work because the population knew him as Lester When in government he always held a minority government which hampered his reputation In a minority situation the PM looks like a weaker figure Although Pearson was very good at being a minority PM it didnt contribute much to his reputation as a top guy or strong enough to deal with the problems of the country Pearsons record was primarily a domestic record These achievements were greeted with great controversy at the time but have since become synonymous with the identity of Canada Canadian Flag 1965Canada Pension Plan 1965Medical Care Act 1968Scandals and criticismsThe flag came in only after a debate over a year in which it was said was that more words were written in the book over the year than the bible It was a heartwrenching debate Why was this a big deal For Pearson it was symbolic The bilingual and bicultural heritage of the country had to be better taken into account 20 of the country was of the third force neither British nor French this also played a part in his decision to bring in a new flag It needed a symbol all to itself and not a relic of the British past but it was very intensely foughtMedical Care Act is universal healthcare At the time expenses were to be shared equally between federal and provinces but it has been largely provincial recently
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