1. News & Issues
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Prime Minister Lester Pearson

A Diplomat, Pearson Accomplished a Lot With Two Minority Governments


Lester Pearson, Prime Minister of Canada (1963-68)

Lester Pearson, Prime Minister of Canada (1963-68)

Fox Photos / Getty Images

About Lester Pearson

A likeable and patient man, Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson had a conciliatory approach he learned in his career as a diplomat. He was a strong supporter of international agencies and helped establish NATO. His proposal for an emergency UN peacekeeping force to resolve the Suez Crisis won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957.

As Prime Minister of Canada, Lester Pearson led two successive minority governments and he governed with the support of the New Democratic Party and the Social Credit Party. The Pearson governments seemed to be accident prone. with minor scandals, budget problems and an increasingly restless Quebec. Still, Lester Pearson managed to rebuild the Liberal Party, and leave behind some notable accomplishments.

Prime Minister of Canada


Highlights as Prime Minister

  • Canada Pension Plan 1965
  • Auto Pact 1965
  • National Flag of Canada 1965
  • Universal medicare 1965
  • Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism
  • A new Canadian immigration act

Birth and Death

  • Born April 23, 1897 in Newton Brook, Ontario
  • Died December 27, 1972 in Ottawa, Ontario


  • BA - University of Toronto
  • BA, MA - Oxford University

Professional Career of Lester Pearson

  • Lieutenant, Canadian Army Medical Corps and Flying Officer, Royal Flying Corps 1914-18
  • History lecturer
  • Diplomat in Department of External Affairs
  • Canadian Ambassador to the United States 1945-46
  • Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs 1946
  • Chairman of the NATO Council 1951-52
  • President of the United Nations General Assembly 1952-53
  • Professor and Chancellor, Carleton University 1969-72

Political Affiliation

Liberal Party of Canada

Riding (Electoral District)

Algoma East

Political Career of Lester Pearson

Lester Pearson was first elected to the House of Commons in 1948.

He was elected Leader of the federal Liberal Party in 1958, and was Leader of the Opposition from 1958 to 1963.

In 1963 the Liberals won a minority government, defeating John Diefenbaker and the Conservatives, and Lester Pearson was sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada.

The Liberals won a minority government again in 1965.

Lester Pearson retired from politics in 1968 at the age of 71.

Pierre Trudeau followed as Prime Minister.

See Also:
Pearson Wins Nobel Peace Prize - Video From CBC Digital Archives

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.