Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Prime Minister of Canada

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Henri-Charles-Wilfrid Laurier

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Saint-Lin, Québec, Canada
Death: Died in Ottawa, Carleton, Ontario, Canada
Cause of death: stroke
Place of Burial: Ottawa, Carleton, Ontario, Canada
Immediate Family:

Son of Carolus de Laurier and Marie-Marcelle Laurier
Husband of Zoé Lafontaine, Lady Laurier
Partner of Émilie Barthe
Father of Armand Lavergne
Brother of Anonime Laurier; Marie Lidie Honorine Laurier; Marie Honorine Malvina Laurier; Henri Laurier and Doctoree LaMarche
Half brother of Romuald-Charlemagne Laurier; Marie Honorine Doctoree Laurier; Marie Zoe Honorine Laurier; Joseph Charles Lyre Laurier; François Xavier Ubald Laurier and 1 other

Occupation: politicien; political figure
Managed by: Kevin Lawrence Hanit
Last Updated:

About Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Prime Minister of Canada

Notes

Biography

Sir Wilfrid Laurier, GCMG, PC, KC, baptized Henri-Charles-Wilfrid Laurier (20 November 1841 – 17 February 1919) was the seventh Prime Minister of Canada from 11 July 1896 to 6 October 1911.


Canada's first francophone prime minister, Laurier is often considered one of the country's greatest statesmen. He is well known for his policies of conciliation, expanding Confederation, and compromise between French and English Canada. His vision for Canada was a land of individual liberty and decentralized federalism. He also argued for an English-French partnership in Canada. "I have had before me as a pillar of fire," he said, "a policy of true Canadianism, of moderation, of reconciliation." And he passionately defended individual liberty, "Canada is free and freedom is its nationality," and "Nothing will prevent me from continuing my task of preserving at all cost our civil liberty." Laurier was also well regarded for his efforts to establish Canada as an autonomous country within the British Empire, though he supported the continuation of the British Empire if it was based on "absolute liberty political and commercial".


Laurier is the fourth-longest serving Prime Minister of Canada, behind William Lyon Mackenzie King, John A. Macdonald, and Pierre Trudeau. A 2011 Maclean's historical ranking of the Prime Ministers placed Laurier first. Laurier also holds the record for the most consecutive federal elections won (4), and his 15 year tenure remains the longest unbroken term of office among Prime Ministers. In addition, his nearly 45 years (1874–1919) of service in the House of Commons is an all-time record for that house. Finally, at 31 years, 8 months, Laurier was the longest-serving leader of a major Canadian political party, surpassing King by over two years. Laurier's portrait is displayed on the Canadian five-dollar bill.

Sources

Sir Wilfrid Laurier became Canada's seventh Prime Minister in 1896.

During Wilfrid Laurier's early public life, the outstanding issue with which he had to deal was the open hostility between the right-wing hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and the political liberalism in which he believed. Rising above the level of partisan personalities and recriminations, he emerged as the champion and interpreter of Canadian liberalism. The measure of his success was the great Liberal victory of 1896, and his continued success at the polls in the three federal elections which followed.

During his tenure of office, Canada saw a great expansion in population and economic activity which resulted in the building of two new transcontinental railways and the creation of two new western provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Laurier's constant aim was to unite English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians in a program of economic expansion. The first World War accentuated the differences between the French and English and not only the country but also the Liberal Party was split by Laurier's stand against conscription - many of its English-speaking members joining Conservative Leader Robert Borden to form a Union Government to carry through conscription.

Reared in both English and French cultures, Wilfrid Laurier, the silver-tongued orator who became Canada's first French Canadian Prime Minister, spent his energies trying to conciliate the two great races. In his last years international events intervened and upset the balance for which he had labored so long. But nonetheless, Canadian neighborhood had advanced a long stage.

His former home, Laurier House is located at 335 Laurier Avenue, East in Ottawa.

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Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Prime Minister of Canada's Timeline

1841
November 20, 1841
Saint-Lin, Québec, Canada
November 22, 1841
Saint-Lin, Québec, Canada
1880
February 21, 1880
Age 38
Arthabaska, Arthabaska, Québec, Canada
1919
February 17, 1919
Age 77
Ottawa, Carleton, Ontario, Canada
February 17, 1919
Age 77
Ottawa, Carleton, Ontario, Canada