Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lester Bowles Pearson
|Date of Birth:||April 23, 1897|
|Place of Birth:||Newtonbrook, Ontario|
The Right Honourable Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson PC,CC,OM (April 23, 1897 - December 27, 1972) was the fourteenth Prime Minister of Canada from April 22, 1963, to April 20, 1968, and also a 1957 Nobel Laureate.
He was born in Newtonbrook, Ontario (now part of Toronto), the son of a Methodist preacher. He entered Victoria College at the University of Toronto in 1914, where he lived in residence in Gate House and shared a room with his brother Duke. While at the university he became a noted athlete, excelling at both ice hockey and rugby. His studies were interrupted, however, when in 1916 he decided to enlist in the Canadian air force and fight in the First World War. After the war, he returned to school, receiving his B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1919. He went on to Oxford University, where he received a B.A. in modern history in 1923 and an M.A. in 1925. In 1925 he married Maryon Moody (1902-1991), with whom he had one daughter and one son.
After Oxford, he returned to Canada and taught history at the University of Toronto before embarking on a career in the Department of External Affairs. In 1948 he was made foreign minister in the government of Liberal Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, running for a seat in the House of Commons shortly afterward. In 1957, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in defusing the Suez Crisis through the United Nations. The United Nations Peacekeeping Force was Pearson's creation and he is considered the father of the modern concept of peacekeeping.
He was elected leader of the party at the 1958 Liberal leadership convention, but his party was badly routed in the election of that year. In the 1962 Canadian election, his party reduced the Progressive Conservatives of John George Diefenbaker to a minority government.
Pearson became Prime Minister as a result of the 1963 general election as leader of a minority government. He had campaigned during the election promising "60 Days of Decision" as well as support for the Bomarc missile program. Pearson never had a majority in the Canadian House of Commons, but he introduced important social programs (including universal health care, the Canada Pension Plan, and Canada Student Loans), the Maple Leaf Flag, and new initiatives in French-English relations. Pearson's government instituted much of the modern welfare state in Canada, due in part to support for his minority government in the Canadian House of Commons from the New Democratic Party, led by Tommy Douglas.
The Pearson cabinet contained many young men who would go on to become prominent figures in the Liberal Party. In particular, cabinet ministers Pierre Trudeau, John Turner, and Jean Chrétien all of whom would serve as Prime Minister in the years following Pearson's retirement. Another cabinet minister, Paul Martin Sr., also a contender for leadership of the Liberal Party, was the father of the current prime minister, Paul Martin.
Pearson also oversaw Canada's 1967 centennial celebrations before retiring. The Canadian news agency, Canadian Press, named him Newsmaker of the Year in 1967, citing his leadership during the centennial celebrations, which brought about the Centennial Flame, in sight of Parliament Hill.
While in office, Pearson resisted U.S. pressure to enter the Vietnam War. Pearson spoke at Temple University in Philadelphia on April 2, 1965 while visiting the United States and voiced his support for a negotiated settlement to the Vietnam War. When he visited U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson hours later, Johnson strongly berated Pearson. According to Canadian legend, Johnson grabbed Pearson by the lapels, shook him, and shouted "You pissed on my rug!" Pearson later recounted that the meeting was acrimonious, but insisted the two parted cordially. After this incident, LBJ and Pearson did have two further official meetings together, both times in Canada, one of those being at Expo '67 in Montreal. 
After retiring from politics, Pearson became a professor of international relations at Carleton University in Ottawa, as well as the school's chancellor. In 1968 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.
Honours and awards
Besides the Nobel Peace Prize, Pearson has been the recipient of numerous national and international accolades.
In 1984 Pearson's successor, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, renamed the busiest airport in the country, Toronto International Airport to Lester B. Pearson International Airport in his honour. Pearson's name has been retained in the airport's new name, Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).
The National Hockey League's Lester B. Pearson Award is presented annually to the most valuable NHL player as judged by his peers. Pearson's favourite sport was baseball and the Pearson Cup , named after him, was awarded to the winner of an annual contest between the Toronto Blue Jays and the former Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals).
The Canadian news agency, Canadian Press, chose Lester Pearson its Newmaker of the Year 9 times, a record he held until Pierre Trudeau broke it in 2000. He and Brian Mulroney are the only prime ministers to have received this award both before becoming prime minister and while prime minister. 
|- style="text-align: center;"
| width="30%" |Preceded by:
Thomas Farquhar , Liberal | width="40%" style="text-align: center;" |Member of Parliament for Algoma East
1948-1968 | width="30%" |Succeeded by:
federal riding abolished in 1966
|- style="text-align: center;"
| width="30%" |Preceded by:
Louis St. Laurent | width="40%" style="text-align: center;" |Secretary of State for External Affairs (Canada)
1948-1957 | width="30%" |Succeeded by:
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