On a global spectrum, Canada is considered one of most-respectable countries. With its stable economy, abundance of natural resources, cultural and religious diversity, numerous public services, and governmental structure, the quality of life in Canada is undoubtedly amongst the best. Throughout the years, the Canadian government has developed into a system that provides liberty, diversity and equality but this progression would have never taken place had it not been for the leadership of certain Canadian citizens. John Diefenbaker and Lester B. Pearson can both equally be credited for this renowned reputation. This essay will illustrate some of the policies of each politician and explore their durability. In addition, it will address the determination demonstrated throughout both of their political careers and the quantity of people they impacted.
Throughout John Diefenbaker’s office term he introduced several reforms supporting equality, many of which influenced modern-day Canadian law and policies. By creating the Canadian Bill of Rights in 1960, he was the first Prime Minister to recognize fundamental human rights in a federal statute. Now Canadian citizens enjoy the freedom and national democracy from the similar Charter of Rights and Freedom. Additionally, Diefenbaker focused on the injustice surrounding the First Peoples. He was the first to promote federal Aboriginal leadership by appointing James Gladstone, the first Aboriginal Senate. Together they granted the Aboriginal people the right to vote without having to abandon their status under the Indian Act. As a result, Aboriginal people gained more political recognition. Currently, there are numerous Aboriginal activists groups including the Congress of Aboriginal People representing non-status and Metis First Nations across the country. He also supported women in politics by assigning Ellen Fairclough, the first female minister. Together they adjusted immigration policies by introducing sponsorships and lifting quotas, thus promoting diversity. Today, Canada takes much pride in its multiculturalism and benefits from immigrant aid in international relations.
Lester. B. Pearson’s influence can equally be seen in present society as well. The elderly Canadian population continue to avail from the Canadian Pension Plan, created by Pearson. This reform reduces financial stress and is being improved to include more even aid. Additionally, Pearson implemented the current Student loan program, providing post-secondary students with sufficient financial assistance. As a result, low-income isn’t as great of an impediment in a student’s education path. Lastly, building onto Diefenbaker’s immigration policies, Pearson created the point-system, the world’s first discrimination free immigration structure. The current Canadian immigration system is based on this to encourage strong candidates with proficient language abilities, work experience and education that can contribute to the Canadian economy as well as individuals seeking shelter from harmful living conditions. Both Diefenbaker and Pearson’s reforms and ideologies have been proven durable as Canadian society continues to benefit from them today.
Despite, Diefenbaker’s and Pearson’s contrasting personalities they shared the same political determination. Diefenbaker encountered failure early onto his political endeavour after 2 consecutive loses for MP in 1925 and 1926. Rather than returning to his steady job as a lawyer, Diefenbaker persisted through numerous defeats. Finally in 1936 he led the Saskatchewan Conservative party only to win 0 seats in the 1938 election. In spite of the hindrances, he was finally elected as Conservative Member of Parliament in 1940. Diefenbaker had many opportunities to end his political career but his determination to serve as a leader and contribute to society brought him to the position as Prime Minister in 1957. In office, he was determined to establish equality, change society’s perception on minority groups and encourage their activism by appointing a more distinct cabinet including an Aboriginal Senate, a female and Ukrainian minister and introducing new reforms such as the Canadian Bill of Rights to reflect his beliefs.
Similar to Diefenbaker, Lester. B Pearson also exhibited determination on numerous occasions. During the Suez Crisis, Pearson, the then Foreign Minister proposed the concept of peacekeeping missions to neutralize the border between Egypt and Israel. Eventually after countless debates the UN accepted his pitch. Had it not been for Pearson’s strong will, perhaps modern peacekeeping would have ceased to exist and Canada would have never been credited with such a remarkable invention. However, many would consider the root of Pearson’s determination to be his envy for former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. After Diefenbaker was elected Prime Minister in 1958, Pearson, the leader of opposition as well as the Social Credit members of parliament continuously denounced Diefenbaker’s authority. Their harsh critic on various policies including grounding the Avro Arrow ultimately brought his government down to a minority (116 out of 265 seats). Additionally, during the flag dispute, Pearson’s determination to eradicate any symbol of colonial ties with Britain caused much controversy amongst the Conservatives. After several months of contention, Pearson’s persistence served him right as his idea was implemented, thus creating the modern Canadian flag. The overall determination demonstrated by Lester B. Pearson and John Diefenbaker helped to accelerate them both in their respective political careers.
During their time as Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker and Lester B. Pearson influenced a large quantity of Canadian citizens. On April 1957 John Diefenbaker authorized the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Act. Through this reform, patients were responsible for only a lowered general fee while the federal government regulated on average 50% of medical costs in majority of health institutions. The adjustment, relived the financial burden for many who belonged to low or middle class families. However, his monetary decisions for the nation particularly in 1962 were not favoured by civilians as they tolerated the repercussions of the ailing economy. When Diefenbaker halted the progress of the Avro Arrow project, over 14,000 employees in the aircraft industry were laid off in preference to American Bormac missiles. Families without a steady income experienced difficulties with managing utility payments and general bills. Additionally, in May 1962 Diefenbaker lowered the exchange rate for the Canadian dollar to US $ 0.925 causing a rise in the costs of living in Canada as prices for domestic products and services inflated to meet with previous sales.
Likewise, Lester b. Pearson’s leadership impacted many Canadians across the country. In 1966, alongside New Democratic Party leader Tommy Douglass, Pearson developed Diefenbaker’s Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Act by implementing the Medicare Act, providing federal payment of nearly 50% of medical fees as well as universal insurance plans. Consequently, public healthcare become more readily available as there was greater financial security for citizens. Furthermore, Pearson helped stabilize the Canadian economy through the creation of the Auto Pact in 1965. By eliminating tariffs in the auto industry, employment increased by 27% between 1965-67 as well as ensured job protection. Other businesses also benefitted from the salary growth as people could afford more supplementary products and services. Lastly, Pearson was a strong advocate for the large French-speaking portion of the population. By introducing the Royal Commission on Biculturalism and Bilingualism on July 19, 1963, Pearson recognized the negligence of the French language. He also endorsed French political involvement by appointing 3 French activists, Jean Marchand, Gerard Pelletier and his successor Pierre Elliot Trudeau. This provided an outlet for the French-Canadians to voice their concerns and opinions. Both Lester. B. Pearson and John Diefenbaker’s leadership affected a significant quantity of citizens.
In conclusion, Lester B. Pearson and John Diefenbaker equally contributed to Canadian society. The durability of both their policies, the determination demonstrated throughout their respective political careers and the large quantities of people they influenced altogether mark them both as strong Canadian leaders. The dedication needed to govern a country is not a quality any citizen is born with but rather developed overtime. Canada has been fortunate enough to experience numerous changes in the past decades as a result of the influence of effective leaders like John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson. Canada as a whole would have not been the honourable nation it is today without citizens like them. Exceeding economically, politically, governmentally and socially Canadian progression continues today, improving the quality of life in Canada.