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Following the four prime ministers who served from 1891 to 1896, a new prime minister would come on the scene. He would serve for the next 15 years, becoming a massive figure in Canadian history. That person was Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

Born in Canada East on Nov. 20, 1841, Laurier was the seventh generation of his family in Canada and his family was heavily interested in politics, often having political discussions at the table, and debates amongst each other. His father, Carolus Laurier, was well-respected in the community and had served as the mayor, justice of the peace, militia lieutenant and local surveyor. According to some sources, one of his ancestors came to New France in the mid-17th century, where the ancestor, Francois Cottineau, took up farming, beginning a long line of Lauriers in what Canada would be. Laurier was born into a family that had an interest in politics and liberalism. His father would say to him when he was young, quote:

“Always be humble and never believe that you are better than others. The proverb states that there is no great devil that does not have a master.”

On Sept. 5, 1847, Laurier would begin his elementary schooling. Only six months later, on March 7, 1848, his mother would die from tuberculosis, which impacted the young Laurier heavily. His father would soon remove him from school, and he would be sent to a new school in New Glasgow, a nearby village where many immigrants from Scotland lived. While living there until he was 13, he absorbed the language, mentality and culture of the British people. He would learn to speak English there, with a slight Scottish accent. He was a good student, winning prizes in seven of 11 subjects, and a passion for politics was already growing. Despite his teachers denouncing liberalism, he would sometimes skip classes to hear Parti Rouge speakers speak about politics in town.

Jesuit Priest Joseph Grenier would describe Laurier in grammar class during Laurier’s time as prime minister, stating quote:

“During grammar class, Laurier could discuss politics like a seasoned politician and was already a liberal partisan. He addressed every question and read everything that he could get his hands on, newspapers and books on doctrinal liberalism condemned by the church.

In September of 1861, Laurier would enroll at McGill College, a decision that would lead him to his future wife, Zoe Lafontaine. The couple had met when Laurier was a boarder at the home of Dr. Seraphin Gauthier during his time at McGill, where Lafontaine was also boarding. At the time, she was a piano teacher of modest means. While at McGill, Laurier began to notice he was having coughing fits, which sometimes involved coughing up blood. Since his mother had died of tuberculosis, he was terrified that he too had it. Sometimes confined to bed, he would fall into a depression during the worst of the condition. Eventually, he found out he had chronic bronchitis, something that would stay with him for the rest of his life.

While at McGill, Laurier would make his first public speech, when he was mandated to give the valedictory at the McGill Law Convocation of 1864. In his speech, he would say, quote:

“Freedom is not the power to say or do whatever you like. Freedom is the right to act and move with ease, at liberty within the circle of the constitution traced by the people.”

In 1864, he graduated with a law degree from McGill University near the top of his class. As a young man who was slim, six-feet-tall and took meticulous care of his wavy hair, he cut a somewhat dashing figure for the time. Laurier would open his first law office in Montreal, which closed within a month. A second law office was started and it closed within three months. By March 1865, Laurier was broke but he would soon form a partnership with March Lanctot that saved him from poverty.

He would then move to Arthabaska, Quebec in 1866 where he ran the local newspaper. As a Liberal in Lower Canada, he was opposed to Confederation because he felt that the federal government would have too much power and that the influence of the French Canadians would be severely overwhelmed by the English. In Arthabaska, he would have a deep love for the community he would remain in until 1897. While living there, he would serve as an alderman, mayor and county warden, while also looking after the affairs of the parish. In 1876, he would have a home built there at a cost of $3,000. During Christmas celebrations for the rest of his life, he would return to the community he loved.

On May 13, 1868, Laurier would marry Zoe Lafontaine. Laurier had decided not to ask for her hand in marriage because of his health but when he found out she was about to receive a proposal from another man, he decided to propose. The couple would have no children, but Zoe would be heavily involved in various organizations through her life including the National Council of Women and as the honorary vice president of the Victorian Order of Nurses. According to most sources, Laurier regretted never having children with Zoe. While the couple would have a happy marriage, that didn’t stop Laurier from seeking companionship elsewhere, as I will get to.

With his practice in Arthabaska, which would operate for 30 years through four different law partners, Laurier usually focused on general law and didn’t deal with any famous cases. His law practice did not make him wealthy, and often money was tight until he found his way into politics, something that he often complained about. In fact, financial security would not truly come his way until he was elected as prime minister in 1896, but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

In 1867, the Liberal Party in Quebec began to pursue Laurier. He would tell his wife on Aug. 1, 1867, quote:

“I am actively involved in election work. Now they want me to be a candidate and I will not refuse. I might as well work for myself as for others.”

In the end, Laurier chose not to run in the September election.

Laurier would arrive in the Quebec Legislature for the first time in 1871, serving for Drummond-Arthabaska. In that election, his first, he won by 750 votes. Prior to this, he was known for his radical liberalism and his ties to the Parti Rouge, but by the time he reached the Legislature he was more of a moderate. By this point, five years into Confederation, he began to accept it and decided to work within the system. He had campaigned heavily in the election, using his fiery spirit and network of friends. For the next three years, Laurier kept to himself in the Legislature, spending his time listening, learning and conforming to parliamentary life. He was not known to raise his voice often in the Legislature. One example of this was on Nov. 22, 1871 when he spoke out against the practice of politicians serving in both the legislature and the House of Commons at the same time. He would say, quote:

“With the single mandate, Quebec is Quebec. With the double mandate, it is no more than an appendage of Ottawa.”

That speech would gain him notice but his time in provincial politics would be short. In 1874, he would resign his provincial seat and would be elected to the House of Commons under the government of Alexander Mackenzie, beginning a 45-year stretch in Parliament. Upon his election, Liberal Party workers in his riding took him from parish to parish in a long parade.

His youth and skill with speaking was seen by Alexander Mackenzie.

It was also around this time, while married to Zoe, that Laurier began a relationship with Emile Barthe, who was married to Laurier’s law partner. Emile had a passion for politics and literature, which attracted Laurier and there are rumours that he fathered a son with her, Armand Lavergne, who would serve in the House of Commons as both a Conservative and a Liberal. It was never proven, but if you look at a picture of both Laurier and Armand at the same age, they share very similar features.

During his first term in Parliament, he took the same approach as he used in the Legislature, choosing to learn what he could, and speaking out only occasionally. One issue was his speaking in defense of Louis Riel, and against his expulsion from the House of Commons. He did not feel sympathy for Riel at the time, as he would say later, but he wanted to use the issue to weaken the Conservatives further. He would state that the Red River rebels, quote:

“wanted to be treated like British subjects and not bartered away like common cattle.”

His speech was praised by the English Canadian press that saw it as calm and logical.

In October of 1877, after giving a speech in Quebec City in defence of political liberalism, he was appointed Minister of Inland Revenue. This made Laurier the most prominent Liberal in Quebec and the future seemed bright and many saw him as a possible future leader of the Liberal Party.

In the 1877 election, Laurier would actually lose his bid for re-election in his riding, so he ran in Quebec East and was re-elected thanks to a better organized Liberal group around him and he continued in his minister role  Unfortunately, Sir John A. Macdonald would come roaring back on the scene amid his second stretch as prime minister. Now, at the age of 36, he was a regular MP in the House of Commons, from a province that had mostly voted Conservative.

The years from 1878 to 1884 would be tough ones politically and Laurier would begin to lose interest in politics. One reason for this was his subordinate role to Liberal leader Edward Blake. John Dafoe, a journalist, would write about this role, stating quote:

“Laurier’s political activities consisted chiefly of being an acting secretary of sorts to the Liberal leader. He kept his references in order, handed him Hansards and blue books in turn, summoned the pages to clear the impedimenta and to keep the glass of water replenished. There were memories in the house of Laurier’s eloquence, but memories only.”

That would all change in 1885 following the North West Rebellion. Laurier would push for clemency, making a moving plea for it in the House of Commons. Laurier, while not condoning the actions of Riel, charged the government with mishandling the rebellion in general. Laurier’s plea for clemency fell on deaf ears though but after the hanging of Louis Riel, Laurier rose in prominence for defended the cause of the Metis leader, who many in Quebec felt was just trying to preserve his Francophone culture, while also calling for the need to unite French and English in Canada. It also helped Laurier appear as a man of principle and high ideals.

On Nov. 22, 1885, six days after the hanging of Riel, Laurier would speak to a crowd of 50,000 stating, quote:

“If I had been on the banks of the Saskatchewan when the rebellion broke out, I would have taken up arms myself against the government. Riel’s execution was judicial murder. How could M. Chapleau have been a party to this cold-blooded murder of a compatriot?”

In 1886, he would again bring up the issue of Riel, stating quote:

“Rebellion is always an evil. It is always an offense against the law of a nation. It is not always a moral crime. What is hateful is not the rebellion, but the deposition which induces the rebellion. What is hateful are not the rebels but the men who having the enjoyment of power do not discharge the duties of power.”

In the 1887 election, Laurier was now a prominent member within the Liberal Party and he directed the campaign in Quebec.

On June 2, 1887, Blake, after losing yet another election, chose to have Laurier succeed him as the Leader of the Liberal Party. Many eminent Liberals were against this as they felt that Laurier was too physically weak to be an effective leader due to chronic bronchitis. They also feared that having Laurier as leader would result in many in Ontario not voting for the Liberals because of his support of Riel. Even the Catholic clergy in Quebec saw Laurier as a radical.

Laurier would actually refuse to become leader, writing his friend and saying quote:

“I do not want to be leader. That is not my aspiration but there remain two objections. I am not a wealthy man and my health is poor. My friends are imposing too heavy a burden on me.”

Blake did not give up, seeing Laurier as the only person who could lead the party. Finally, on June 18, 1887, he accepted the promotion to leader of the party but stated he would only do so until Blake was healthier. In the end, Laurier would remain leader longer than anyone else in Canadian history, until his death in 1919.

As leader, he would devote himself to building up the Liberal Party again. He did this in two phases. The first was from 1887 to 1891 where he advocated a policy of positive actions with the United States but this was seen as anti-British and it would cost Liberals votes outside of Quebec. From 1891 to 1896, he began the second phase of building a national Liberal Party, while the Conservatives were falling apart following the death of Sir John A. Macdonald. This included participating in 200 to 300 meetings between 1895 and 1896 alone, and reaching out personally to 200,000 voters.

In a book published in the late-1880s, the following is said of Laurier, quote:

“He was a silver-tongued orator and a man of solid political and diplomatic reputation…He was the most picturesque figure in all Canadian political history.”

In 1896, as a new election was approaching, the Manitoba Schools Question was becoming a serious issue in Parliament and had caused the cabinet revolt against Prime Minister Mackenzie Bowell. With Charles Tupper now prime minister, an election was called and Laurier made sure to avoid a definite stand on the issue of Manitoba Schools.

Laurier would say regarding religious freedom during 1896, quote:

“So long as I have a seat in this House, so long as I occupy the position I do now, whenever it shall become my duty to take a stand upon any question whatever, that stand I will take, not from the point of view of Roman Catholicism, not from the point of view of Protestantism, but from a point of view which can appeal to the consciences of all men, irrespective of their particular faith, upon grounds which can be occupied by all men who love justice, freedom and toleration.”

In the election, despite a strong campaign by Tupper, Laurier had the support of powerful premiers in Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, as well as in Quebec. He would begin attacking the Conservatives on all fronts, without giving a position on the Manitoba Schools Question. He would also begin using the expression “sunny ways”, as a way to speak about his desire for compromise. He took this from the fable The Wind and the Sun, serving as a metaphor for the issue in Ottawa. In the fable, the wind and sun argue about who could take off a traveler’s coat and it is the warm rays of the sun that succeeds, not the force of the wind.

Thanks to this stance and the collapse of the Conservative Party, Laurier and the Liberals achieved an election victory and on June 23, 1896, Laurier became the seventh prime minister of Canada, and the first Francophone prime minister in Canadian history.

As the new prime minister, Laurier began to focus on the development of Canada and the implementation of policies that would help heal the wounds of the country to push for unity. In 1896, he signed an agreement regarding the Manitoba Schools Question. The new agreement meant that Manitoba would not have separate schools like it did in 1890, but religious instruction during the last half hour of the day was allowed, with instruction in a language other than English. In addition, one Roman Catholic teacher had to be hired if the parents of 40 children in urban areas or 25 in rural areas demanded it. In schools where there were 10 children who spoke a language other than English would receive instruction in English and their Mother Tongue. It was not an ideal solution, but it put an end to the Manitoba Schools Question. Many did see it as the optimal solution because it left both French and English mostly satisfied. The Catholic Church in Quebec was very unhappy about it but the issue of schools in Manitoba would never return to Parliament.

Laurier would become known for finding compromise in issues, something he did when dealing with the United Kingdom. As prime minister, he would implement an immigration system with Clifford Sifton that put preference on the immigration of people from the British Isles to Canada. Due to the immigration policies put forward by the Laurier government, one million people moved into Manitoba and the western territories during his 15 years as prime minister. With Sifton, immigration would be completely reorganized and the department would be centralized in Ottawa. The population of Canada increased 40 per cent during the time Laurier was prime minister.

In 1897, he would travel to London to be knighted and to participate in his first colonial conference. Laurier did not actually want to be knighted, in the tradition of Alexander Mackenzie, but as he was travelling to England for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and preparations had already been made for his knighthood, he felt it would be rude if he did not accept.

Laurier had a strong desire for Canada to be independent from England, he would resist the British Empire in their efforts towards the federation of the empire in political, economic and military terms. Again, he would find compromises. He would state in 1897, while in England, quote:

“If a day were ever to come when England was in danger, let the bugle sound and though we might not be able to do much, whatever we can do shall be done by the colonies to help her.”

With the Klondike Gold Rush bringing in huge amounts of American prospectors in 1897, there was a need to ensure Canadian control over the Yukon region. The Laurier Government would enact the Yukon Territory Act, separating the Yukon from the Northwest Territories in 1898.

In 1899, he agreed to defray the costs of transportation of Canadians who wished to fight for England in the South African War, also known as the Boer War. On the two sides of the issue were those who wanted to be loyal to the British Empire and those who saw that Canada was not being threatened in the war. He made this decision to arm and send 1,000 volunteers to South Africa without convening parliament. In the agreement to send troops, he told England that the troops were their responsibility when they arrived and in no way was it to be seen as a precedent for the future. Despite this compromise, many in French Canada were unhappy about any participation and one of his MPs, Henri Bourassa, would resign his seat. Even with that opposition, Laurier would win in the 1900 election and took Quebec with 57 of the 65 seats. Regardless of his policies and compromises, Laurier was immensely popular in Quebec.

With this second victory, Laurier would take a more forceful approach in governing the country and he would direct the policies of the country, pushing aside anyone who went against him.

In 1902, he was at the colonial conference in London and again opposed all proposals to unify the Empire. On Aug. 9, 1902, he was at the coronation of King George VII.

He would say, quote:

“The British empire is composed of a galaxy of free nations all owing the same allegiance to the same sovereign, but all owing paramount allegiance to their respective peoples.”

Around the same time, he travelled to France and negotiated a trade agreement with the French government. It was not that Laurier was against the British at all. In fact, he was a staunch supporter of Canada’s association with the British Empire, but he was also a nationalist who believed that Canada’s destiny was as an autonomous country within the British Empire. As he would state in his very famous quote, “The 20th century belongs to Canada.” Although that quote is a bit misleading, his exact quote, which he said on Jan. 18, 1904 was:

“Canada has been modest in its history, although its history, in my estimation, is only commencing. It is commencing in this century. The 19th century was the century of the United States. I think we can claim that Canada will fill the 20th century.”

When he returned from Europe, Laurier was exhausted and his health was poor enough he began to worry he had cancer and even considered resigning. He would take a trip to Florida and his health slowly returned.

Also in 1902, Laurier would have an eye to the future when he signed an agreement with Marconi, the inventor of the wireless communication system that used Morse code, to construct a transatlantic communications facility and the tools for communication for lighthouses and sailing stations to communicate. Two years later, he would sign a contract with the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of Canada to operate a network of radiotelegraphy stations, known today as marine band radios, creating the first network of wireless radio transmission systems in the world. In 1904, there were six stations and by 1915 there were 21.

In 1903, the Alaska Boundary discussions with the United States would begin. Canada wanted an all-Canadian route from the Klondike gold fields to the pacific, currently blocked by US territory on the Alaska panhandle that the United States claimed as its own. A six person tribunal was created with Canada getting two votes, the United States getting three and Britain getting one. In the end, Britain rules in favour of the United States hoping to avert military conflict. This incident greatly irritates Laurier who sees Canada lacking the power to make its own international decisions.

Laurier would now turn his attention towards a new project, constructing a second transcontinental railway. This new railway would build a section from Winnipeg westward, along with another line running from Moncton and Quebec City to Winnipeg. As part of this, he allowed the Canadian Northern Railway to build a third transcontinental railway. All of these new railways would come at a public expense and it put a heavy financial burden on Canadians, but Laurier was sure of his ambition as prime minister. That year, when the election came along again, Laurier once again received a huge majority.

In 1905, Laurier would see two new provinces arrive in Canada with the creation of Alberta and Saskatchewan. With the creation of these provinces, Laurier again had to deal with the issue of the educational rights of the Catholic minority. He would again go with one uniform school system, rather than separate schools for minorities. While English Canada was happy with this, French Canada was unhappy over it and the prestige of Laurier began to fade in Quebec. While it would take almost a decade, it was at this moment that Laurier and the Liberals would see a slow fall in Quebec.

In 1905, Laurier would say about how he lived his political and personal life, quote:

“The guiding thought of my life has been harmony between the diverse elements of our country. I cannot be certain that I have succeeded as much as I would have hoped but the thought is true and one day it will prevail.”

By the latter-part of the 1910s, Laurier had built the Liberal Party a strong base in Quebec but he saw significant opposition from the strong Roman Catholic Church in the province. A common slogan repeated to parishioners by Catholic priests was heaven is blue/Conservative, hell is red/Liberal.

In 1908, his election majority was reduced but he once again had a majority. At this point, Laurier would focus on two tasks as prime minister. The first task was the Naval Service Act, passed in 1910 that established the Canadian Navy, consisting of five cruisers and six destroyers, which would allow the country to fight with England anywhere in the world. This decision, amazingly, made no one happy. In English Canada, it was felt that this navy was insufficient, and in French Canada it was seen as too excessive. In Quebec, this new navy would cost him considerable support.

In 1908, the Laurier government would also enact the Continuous Passage Act, which required all immigrants coming to Canada to do so from their point of origin without any stops. While this may seem like a minor issue coming from Europe, it created a huge barrier for those immigrants coming from Asia. In India, where the citizens were British subjects, it made it nearly impossible to immigrate to Canada.

After that 1908 election campaign, Laurier was exhausted and ill and again thought of resigning but was persuaded to stay in power. On Dec. 25, 1909 he would confide to a friend’s wife, quote:

“I carry my advancing years lightly but I no longer have the same zest for battle. I undertake today from a sense of duty because I must, what used to be the joy of strife.”

He would go back to work and in 1909 he helped with the creation of the Conservation Commission. On June 2, 1909, he would appoint a new minister of labour named William Lyon Mackenzie King, helping to raise the profile of a future prime minister.

One story from this time that may or may not be true relates to when Laurier went to Saskatoon on July 29, 1910 to attend the opening of the University of Saskatchewan. It was there he apparently bought a newspaper from a young John Diefenbaker. Later in life, Diefenbaker would say that he shared his ideas for the country with Laurier, and that Laurier told him he would be a great man someday. This part, if the meeting happened, is likely embellished.

In 1910, during his tour of the prairies that included going to Saskatoon, Laurier met with numerous rural delegations who were sponsored in an organized farmer movement. They were looking for lower tariffs and free trade with the United States. With the volume of people he spoke to, he decided to make that a platform of the Liberal Party, which brought us to his next task as leader.

The second task he had was establishing free trade with the United States in 1911. This policy would focus on natural products, and some manufactured products. Many Canadian industrialists were against this, and the Conservative Party of Robert Borden latched onto this by claiming the Liberals were disloyal to England and of leading the country to a fractured relationship with the British. His push for free trade with the United States would be the undoing of his time as prime minister as it would turn out.

In August of 1911, Laurier approved an order-in-council that was recommended by Frank Oliver, the Minister of the Interior. It was approved by the cabinet on Aug. 12, 1911. The order had the expressed purpose of keeping Black Americans who were escaping segregation in the American south. In the order, it states, quote:

“The Negro race is deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada.”

The order was never called upon though, as immigration officials had already reduced the number of Black Americans coming into Canada. It was cancelled on Oct. 5, 1911.

In order to deal with this, Laurier would call an election for 1911 but this would lead to his defeat, rather than victory.

As the Leader of the Opposition, he was still an energetic leader of the Liberal Party. He would push against the Conservatives over issues related to cost of living among Canadians, and he would rebuild the Liberal Party somewhat. He would lead a filibuster against the Conservatives’ own Naval Bill that would have sent contributions directly to the British Navy. This bill was later blocked in the Senate. He would fight against the $35 million offered to England to help strengthen its navy, and against the financial assistance given to the Canadian Northern Railway. In 1916, he would defend the rights of Francophones in Ontario for bilingual instruction in school, once again raising his popularity among French Canada.

When the First World War erupted in 1914, Laurier supported Canada’s participation and he proposed a political truce with the Conservatives, as well as voluntary enrolment in the army. He would support Prime Minister Borden in the House of Commons and even participated in recruiting meetings to help the war effort.

In 1917, with the issue of military conscription severely dividing Canada between French and English lines, Laurier turned to compromise once again. Instead of supporting conscription, he proposed a referendum and the continued use of voluntary enlistment. This compromise would fail due to the bitter resentment over it among English Canadians.

Laurier would say, quote:

“All my life I have fought coercion. All my life I have promoted union and the inspiration that led me to that course shall be my guide at all times. So long as there is breath left in my body.”

In the 1917 election, Laurier would see the Liberals crushed, having only 82 seats to Borden’s 153. In Quebec, due to the conscription issue, his party only took 20 seats and 34 per cent of the vote.

As an idol of the French Canadian population, and a villain in English Canada over his efforts for compromise, he became a symbol of the division between the two groups in Canada. At the same time, the government under a Union Party and several Liberals left the party to join this new party that was created between Conservatives and other parties.

On Nov. 11, 1918, the First World War ended and Laurier began an effort to restructure the Liberal Party and rebuild unity within Canada. Sadly, he would never get to finish his efforts as he passed away on Feb. 17, 1919. He had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and paralysis the day before, saying to his wife, “this is the end.”

Upon his death, 50,000 people jammed the streets of Ottawa as his funeral procession marched to his final resting place at the Notre Dame Cemetery. His tomb features a stone sarcophagus, adorned by the sculptures of nine mourning female figures that represented the provinces in Canada at the time. His wife Zoe would pass away in 1921 and was placed in the same tomb. The funeral procession of Laurier was one of the first public events in Canadian history to be captured on film.

While he had passed away, his work to strengthen the Liberal Party would see it become the dominate force of the 20th century in federal politics, with only brief exceptions from 1958 to 1962 and from 1984 to 1992.

During his time in the House of Commons, Laurier set many records. Not only the first Francophone prime minister, he is tied with Sir John A Macdonald for most consecutive federal elections won with four. His 15-year tenure also remains the longest unbroken term of office among prime ministers. His 45 years within the House of Commons remains a record and at 31 years and eight months, he is the longest serving leader of a major political party in Canada. With William Lyon Mackenzie King, he holds the distinction of serving during the reigns of three Canadian Monarchs. Overall, he is the fourth longest serving Prime Minister of Canada behind only King, Macdonald and Pierre Trudeau.

Through his electoral history, from 1874 to 1917, Laurier rarely received less than 50 per cent of the vote in an election for a riding, often either being acclaimed or taking upwards of 70-80 per cent of the vote, showing his popularity. In his last election, he received 92 per cent of the vote in his riding.

As Henry Bourassa, a long-time rival, would say, quote:

“The private virtues of the eminent statesman, his admirable qualities of the heart, that tireless, modest charity, the great dignity of his life, are reasons for trust and consolation of those who loved him.”

Laurier is honoured heavily throughout Canada. The Sir Wilfrid Laurier National Historic Site honours his birthplace, while Laurier House National Historic Site honours his residence in Ottawa. The Wilfried Laurier House National Historic Site honours where he worked as a lawyer while serving in Parliament. In addition, Laurier was depicted on the $1,000 bill in 1935 and 1937, and the $5 bill. Three postage stamps were also created to honour him. The highest peak in the Premier Range of mountains in British Columbia is named Mount Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Several schools, roads, parks and buildings are also named for him, as is an electoral district in Quebec. On Nov. 1, 1973, Waterloo Lutheran University was renamed Wilfrid Laurier University.

In Quebec, his surname has become a first name and he holds a place as a charismatic hero whose term in office was considered a prosperous time for Canada and Quebec.

In 1999, when Maclean’s Magazine began to rank the first 20 prime ministers in Canadian history, Laurier finished third. In 2011, when a new historic ranking was completed, he finished first.

When it came time for the creators of the video game Civilization to create a playable Canadian civilization, the person they chose to be the leader of that playable civilization was Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

Information comes from Canadian Encyclopedia, Britannica, Wikipedia, the Parliament of Canada, Saskatchewan A History, The Charm of Ottawa, Historica Canada, National Film Board, WilfridLaurier175.ca

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