Louis St. Laurent fonds [multiple media]
Record Information – Brief1
Louis St. Laurent fonds [multiple media]
- Hierarchical level:
- R11214-0-7-E, MG26-L
- Type of material:
- Textual material, Moving images, Sound recordings, Objects (including medals and pins), Photographs
- Found in:
- Archives / Collections and Fonds
- Item ID number:
- Context of this record:
Record Information – Details
- Fonds includes:
17 lower level description(s)View lower level description(s)
- Bilingual equivalent:
- Click here
- Place of creation:
162.21 m of textual records.
74 audio discs.
3 audio reels.
1 film reel (9 min, 33 s).
1 plaque : bronze.
9317 photographs : b&w and col.
1 painting : oil and pencil on cardboard ; 30.6 x 25.4 cm.
2 prints : lithographs.
- Language of material:
- Added language of material:
- English, French
- Scope and content:
The St. Laurent Papers are almost exclusively political and do not contain all the original material. They have been divided into four chronological groups: pre-1948 papers (vols. 1-37); Prime Minister's Office, 1948-1957 (vols. 38-241); Leader of the Opposition, 1957-1958 (vols. 242-248); and post-1958 papers (vol. 248). Speeches, clippings and additional papers were subsequently added. Included among the additional papers is a small amount of family correspondence and personal material. The original classification system of the papers has been retained as much as possible.
Included are sound recordings of talks and speeches (in English and French) by St. Laurent, as well as radio broadcasts produced by the CBC, the Montreal radio station CKAC and the Ottawa radio station CFRA on St. Laurent's life and poltical career, 1946-1960. Also included is a documentary film entitled St. Laurent : the man and his country, 1953.
The fonds also contains a bronze plaque depicting Sir Louis Hippolyte Lafontaine as the father of responsible governement and defender of the French language in the Parliament of Canada.
- Additional name(s):
- Biography/Administrative history:
St-Laurent, Louis S. (Louis Stephen), 1882-1973 : Prime Minister of Canada (1948-57). Louis-Stephen St-Laurent (baptised Louis-Étienne) was born at Compton, Quebec on 1 February 1882, to a French-Canadian father and an Irish-Canadian mother. He was educated at Séminaire Saint-Charles-Borromée in Sherbrooke and then studied law at Université Laval. After graduating at the top of his class in 1905, he declined a Rhodes Scholarship. St-Laurent practiced in Quebec City and taught at Laval, gaining a national reputation that caused Prime Minister Arthur Meighen to offer him a cabinet post in 1926, and later a seat on the Supreme Court. St-Laurent declined both. He served as bâtonnier of the Quebec bar (1929), president of the Canadian Bar Association (1930-32) and legal counsel to the Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations (1937-40). In late-1941, St-Laurent accepted Prime Minister Mackenzie King's offer to become minister of justice, and was elected to parliament the following February in the riding of Quebec East. As King's confidante and Quebec lieutenant, St-Laurent supported the introduction of military conscription (1944), represented Canada at the conferences that established the International Monetary Fund (1944) and the United Nations (1945). Domestically, he supported the government's broad social welfare initiatives that laid the foundation for modern Canada. In 1946, St-Laurent added the post of secretary of state for external affairs to his position as minister of justice. In these roles, he led the negotiations that brought Newfoundland into Confederation in 1949. St-Laurent succeeded King as Liberal leader and prime minister in 1948. He won majorities in the 1949 and 1953 federal elections. As prime minister, St-Laurent advocated for the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (1949), and led Canada into the Korean War the following year. In 1957, he directed his minister of foreign affairs, Lester B. Pearson, to help resolve the Suez Crisis. Domestically, St-Laurent oversaw the expansion of social welfare programs, including health care, old age pensions, and disability allowances. He began constructing the Trans-Canada Highway (1949), the St Lawrence Seaway (1954) and the Trans-Canada Pipeline (1956), updated the Immigration Act (1952), established the Canada Council for the Arts (1956), the policy of equalization payments between provinces (1956), and registered retirement savings plans (1957). He increased Canada's autonomy by ending the practice of appealing legal cases to the Privy Council in London (1949), and advising the Queen to appoint Vincent Massey as the first Canadian-born governor general (1952). Soon after losing the 1957 federal election, St-Laurent retired to practice law in Quebec City. St-Laurent was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1967. He Married Jeanne Renault in 1908. He died on 25 July 1973 and was buried in Saint Thomas d'Aquin Cemetery, in Compton, Quebec. St-Laurent also held racist and homophobic opinions common in his time. As minister of justice, he oversaw the internment of Japanese and Italian Canadians during the Second World War. After a Soviet spy network in Canada was revealed in 1945, St-Laurent oversaw investigations into the loyalty of individual Canadians. Investigators initially focussed on individuals' political beliefs, but in the late 1950s and early 1960s, members of the 2SLGBTQI community were actively purged from the federal civil service and Canada's military. St-Laurent attempted to modify the federal government's systematically racist relationship with Indigenous Peoples, which caused tremendous ongoing trauma, displacement, disenfranchisement and exclusion. Specifically, St-Laurent was guided by the report of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the Indian Act (1948). His amendments to the Indian Act (1951), removed prohibitions against ceremonies such as the Potlach, enabled bands to pursue land claims, increased the powers of chiefs and band councils, and redefined who was covered by the Act. But other recommendations, such as extending the right to vote in federal elections to First Nations, were not implemented. The Act also provided the legal basis for the removal of Indigenous children from their homes and adoption by settler families in Canada and internationally in the 'Sixties Scoop', while residential and day schools continued to operate. In 1950, the Inuit were granted the vote in federal elections, and St-Laurent created the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources (1953) with responsibility for Canada's Arctic. That year, to reinforce Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic, Inuit families from Inukjuak, (Port Harrison), Quebec and Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), Nunavut were resettled on Ellesmere and Cornwallis Islands. Thousands of Inuit were also transported to hospitals in southern Canada for treatment of tuberculosis in the 1950s and 1960s. Many of them died, but their families were never told. The damage done by policies and actions in place during St-Laurent's time in office have been acknowledged in recent years. The prime minister of the day apologised for the internment of Japanese-Canadians in 1988, for residential schools in 2008 and 2017, for the historic mistreatment of 2SLGBTQI in 2017, for the way Inuit were treated for tuberculosis in 2019, and for the internment of Italian-Canadians in 2021. In 1996, the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples stated that the government owed the Inuit an official apology for relocating them in the high Arctic without consent. In 1996, the federal government established a reconciliation agreement, with a $10 million fund, and in 2010 the federal minister of Indian affairs and northern development officially apologised. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada concluded that the residential school system amounted to cultural genocide. In 2017, the Ontario Superior Court ruled that Canada had breached its duty of care towards children who had been adopted in the Sixties Scoop. The federal government subsequently reached a $800 million compensation agreement.
- Finding aid:
Textual records (Electronic) The finding aid is available in three parts. Part One is a file list for volumes 1-248 and 402-410. The indexed files of the Prime Minister's Office (vols. 38-241) also may be used in conjunction with the card index in the Prime Minister's Office index cards series (volumes 425-682) which give file numbers. It should be noted that the Archives possesses only approximately 70% of the files indicated by the cards. MSS0530 (90: Open)
http://data2.archives.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000002900.pdfTextual records (Electronic) Part Two contains a list of files for the Clippings series and a list of Speeches, volumes 249 to 399. MSS0530 (90: Open)
http://data2.archives.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000001889.pdfTextual records (Electronic) Part Three contains a file list for the Scrapbooks and Additional Papers (volumes 400, 401, 411 to 682). Part three of the finding aid is available in electronic format. MSS0530 (90: Open)
http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000000967.pdfPhotographs (Paper) Finding aid is a list of photographs, including dates (for accession 1993-261). FA-391 (90: Open)Sound recordings and moving images (Electronic) See MISACS for item level descriptions. (90: Open)
- Additional information:
- General Note:
The St. Laurent Papers were placed on deposit in the National Archives in 1957 and 1958 and were formally donated to the National Archives of Canada in April 1969., Seven unindexed files of correspondence transferred from the L.B. Pearson Papers (vols. 247-248) 0.100m of material entitled "Western Trip 1949" transferred by the National Library in 1969 (vol. 241) and 0.010m of material entitled "Correspondence re Proposed Union of Newfoundland" transferred by the Privy Council Office in 1968 (vol. 19) have been added., As well, clippings (vols. 298-399) placed by the Prime Minister's Office with the National Liberal Federation were removed from the papers of the Federation and returned to the St. Laurent Papers in 1969. Additional speeches, clippings, subject files, scrap-books and diplomas were received from Mr. St. Laurent's Quebec City home in December 1973. These were presented by Mr. St. Laurent's daughter, Mrs. G.F. Lafferty of Ottawa., The speeches were integrated into the existing speeches series while the scrap-books and clippings were placed at the end of the clippings series (vols. 385-400). The subject files and diplomas were placed at the end of the papers (vols. 402-410). A few letters placed in volume 128 (file 0-22-9-B) were presented in 1986 by Hon. P.E. Trudeau.
- Subject heading:
- Prime ministers - Canada - Death, 1973
- Canada. Parliament - Elections, 1949
- Canada. Parliament - Elections, 1953
- Canada. Parliament - Elections, 1957
- Military service - Canada, [1941-1957]
- World War II - Canada - Security, [1941-1946]
- Legislators Canada
- Prime ministers Canada
- Cabinet ministers Canada
- Former archival reference no.:
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