OTD: Liberals win fifth consecutive majority government

On today’s date in 1953, former Liberal Party leader Louis St-Laurent won the 22nd general election to capture the party’s fifth consecutive majority government.

In victory, St-Laurent said the Liberals would ensure all Canadians have “a fair share of the bounties with which Providence has endowed our favoured land.”

“As he entered the hall, the crowd stood on the chairs and cheered,” reported the Globe and Mail the following day. “Someone had a noisemaker that sounded like a police siren and sounded it continuously for some minutes.”

In the 1953 general election, the Liberals earned 171 seats to the Progressive Conservative’s 51 seats, so the Progressive Conservatives—led by former Premier of Ontario George Drew—formed the official opposition while St-Laurent took the reins.

TWELFTH PRIME MINISTER

The 12th prime minister of Canada (from Nov. 15, 1948 to June 21, 1957), St-Laurent had a strong base in the Catholic francophone community, from which he had given support to former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.

St-Laurent’s platform on foreign policy transformed Canada from that of isolationism—with an insignificant role in world affairs—to an active “middle power.”

He died in Québec on July 25, 1973 at the age of 91. He’s buried in Saint Thomas d’Aquin Cemetary in Compton, Qué.

During the 1970s, Shell Canada featured Abbott in its medallion set, “The Prime Ministers of Canada 1867-1970,” which included 15 medals featuring each Canadian prime minister between 1867 and 1970. The set was issued for distribution from Shell dealers across Canada.

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