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Louis Stephen St. Laurent

Louis Stephen St. Laurent
Date of Birth:February 1, 1882
Place of Birth:Compton, Quebec
Spouse:Jeanne Renault
Political Party:Liberal Party of Canada

Louis Stephen St. Laurent (February 1, 1882 - July 25, 1973) was the twelfth Prime Minister of Canada from November 15, 1948 to June 21, 1957.

He was born in Compton, Quebec, and received degrees from St. Charles Seminary (B.A. 1902) and Laval University (LL.L. 1905). In 1908 he married Jeanne Renault (1886-1966) with whom he had two sons and three daughters.

He worked as a lawyer from 1905 to 1914, at which point he became a professor of law at Laval University. St. Laurent practised law in Québec and became one of the country's most respected counsels. Needing strong ministers from Quebec, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King recruited St. Laurent to his cabinet in 1942. St. Laurent supported King's decision to introduce conscription in 1944, despite the lack of support from other French Canadians (see Conscription Crisis of 1944). In 1948 King retired, and supported St. Laurent's selection as the new Liberal leader and Prime Minister of Canada.

St. Laurent's cabinet team oversaw Canada's expanding international role in the postwar world. Canada joined NATO in 1949, and Lester Bowles Pearson, St. Laurent's Minister of External Affairs, helped solve the Suez Crisis in 1956, for which Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize. St. Laurent also welcomed Newfoundland into Confederation, and established new social and industrial policies. St. Laurent was initially well-received by the Canadian public, who often referred to him as "Uncle Louis," but by 1957 both the Prime Minister and his government began to appear tired and too long in office. Defeated by John George Diefenbaker in the general election that year, St. Laurent soon retired.

He died on July 25, 1973, in Quebec City, Quebec and is buried at St. Thomas Aquinas Cemetery in his hometown of Compton, Quebec.

Preceded by:
Mackenzie King
Prime Minister of Canada Followed by:
John Diefenbaker