The Right Honourable Louis St. Laurent
15 November 1948 – 21 June 1957
Born: February 1,1882 at Compton, Quebec – a village in the Eastern Townships
baptized: Louis-Étienne St-Laurent
Died: July 25, 1973, age 91, in Quebec City, Quebec
Resting place: Saint Thomas d’Aquin Cemetery, Compton, Quebec
Political party: Liberal Party of Canada
Alma mater: St. Charles Seminary, Université Laval
Religion: Roman Catholic
His foreign policy initiatives transformed Canada from an isolationism with little role in world affairs to an active “middle power.”
St-Laurent represented Canada at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference and San Francisco Conference that led to the founding of the United Nations (UN).
It took taxation surpluses no longer needed by the wartime military and paying back in full Canada’s debts accrued during the World Wars and the Great Depression. With remaining revenues, St-Laurent oversaw the expansion of Canada’s social programs, including the gradual expansion of social welfare programs such as family allowances, old age pensions, government funding of university and post-secondary education and an early form of Medicare termed Hospital Insurance at the time. This scheme lay the groundwork for Tommy Douglas’ healthcare system in Saskatchewan, and Pearson’s nationwide universal healthcare in the late 1960s. Under this legislation, the federal government paid around 50% of the cost of provincial health plans to cover
“a basic range of inpatient services in acute, convalescent, and chronic hospital care.”
The condition for the cost-sharing agreements was that all citizens were to be entitled to these benefits, and by March 1963, 98.8 of Canadians were covered by Hospital Insurance.
The house and grounds in Compton where St. Laurent was born were designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1973. St. Laurent’s residence at 201 Grande-Allée Est in Quebec City is protected as a Recognized Federal Heritage Building.
On a personal note:
He married Jeanne Renault in 1905
They had 5 children (2 sons and 3 daughters)