Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s century, 1904

Wilfrid  Laurier was campaigning for reelection when he made the following speech before a packed house in Toronto’s Massey Hall on 14 October 1904. The speech, while not one of his best, was vintage Laurier -- suave, playing to the audience, and discreetly undermining his political opponents. Near its end, he provided his grand vision... Continue Reading →

Richard Bedford Bennett, Great Depression, 1935

In January 1935 Prime Minister Richard Bedford Bennett delivered a series of dramatic radio addresses to the nation while Canada was in the grip of the Great Depression. Bennett had been staunchly conservative and anti-interventionist, but the country was in deep trouble. Bennett’s brother-in-law, W. D. Herridge, convinced him that he should follow the lead... Continue Reading →

W. L. Mackenzie King and war on Germany, September 1939

After Adolph Hitler came to power in 1933, he rearmed Germany and pursued an aggressive foreign policy which saw him annex both Austria and then the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia in 1938. Initially, Canada’s Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King supported British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in his decision to sacrifice Czechoslovakia by appeasing Hitler. But... Continue Reading →

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