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History Of William Lyon Mackenzie King

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A true man does not only stand up for himself, he stands up for those that do not have the ability to. - Mackenzie King. A country's true leader is one who must lead the country to complete a task in the shortest time possible; overcoming any obstacles they might face along the way. A true leader can only be the one who is purpose driven, shows integrity and believes in servant leadership. There have been many great leaders that have walked the Earth, one of those was William Lyon Mackenzie King. King was born in Berlin (later renamed Kitchener), Ontario in December 17, 1874 and from the time he was young he worried about the world around him. Mackenzie King served as prime minister of Canada for 21 years of his life. [2] He was inspired by two people in his life, his mother, Isabel Mackenzie, and his grandfather, William Lyon. Throughout his 21 years as Prime Minister, he had to face many hard decisions for the country and his people. King never gave up on his country and people, he always had faith. King's primary goal was to unite the nation, which means mutual relations between French and English Canadians. Mackenzie King followed the political path taken by Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier in emphasizing national unity. [3] Mackenzie King was one of the greatest leader ever lived because he compromised and consolidated, created social policies, and led conscription crisis through World War II in Canada.

King did not possess a captivating image, he never gave spellbinding speeches or won a radical platform. It was his great ability to compromise and unite that helped him emerge as the great leader of Canada. He always made compromises which will benefit both sides. One example would be the coal strike in Lethbridge, in 1906, which threatened to leave westerners vulnerable to the harshness of the prairies in winter. King negotiated a settlement and then went on to draft legislation for establishing formal procedures to stop similar strikes. [4] He also made negotiation to make Newfoundland a province of Canada. He always looked at all factors in a decision before giving a final statement. He once said, "It is what we prevent, rather than what we do that counts most in Government." [5]  Another moral King believed was to unite; he believed unity can solve tremendous amount of problems that may arouse in a country. He said, "Unity does not mean forcing everyone to believe in the same beliefs and priorities, but that Canada's many different and conflicting views be accommodated." [6] For this, King kept very loyal relation with the U.S. A. to make sure that U.S.A. was on our side in the war. He tried to keep a good relation between the French and the English Canadians, so that Canada could be a whole. In 1944, he did his best to stop a civil war between two parts of Canada because of conscriptions. King also kept good relations with Britain in World War II, and promised to work together to prevent the war. King's power to compromise and unite has shaped our nation as we see it today. If King did not negotiate and consolidate at the time then the relation between French and English Canadians, U.S. and Canada would be much different.

The great depression in the 1930's was one of the darkest times Canada had ever faced. After the stock market crashed, everyone was out of jobs. Many families had no food or money, they had to live on the streets. Prairies were covered in sand because of the drought and sand storms. King did not take any immediate action because he wanted it to run on its own course. He thought it will just end on its own, but unfortunately it was getting worse. In 1935, King established social policies to help out people in the Depression. For example, he set up the Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relation. Commission suggested equalization payments to the less wealthy provinces. King also made unemployment insurance, welfare and family allowance. [7] He made rules that paid $20 a month as old age pension to anyone over 70 by the provisional government. During the depression, people sent him many letters about how terrible their life is going. King gave $5 or more to everyone that wrote him letters. He made changes in the tax system of Canada during at that time. Many think King's little concern to the tragedy and took no immediate action makes him a bad leader, but that is not true. As the depression was getting worse he made various policies to help out his people. Though the great depression did not end because of these policies, it was ended by World War II; but he tried his best to support the country during the depression in every way possible.

As World War II started, King had faced with many issues, including conscription crisis in Canada. He was very determined by the separation that had caused in 1917, between his party and throughout the country, and it would never happen again. From the beginning of World War II he had promised the country that only voluntary recruits would be sent overseas, no conscription would be imposed. But after the fall of France in 1940, Canada introduced conscription for home service. As the war continued and the need for Canadian soldiers grew, Canada was once again divided. English Canadians wanted conscription but French Canadians wanted King to keep his promise. King now had to balance the prevention of a civil war in Canada. King asked the nation to release him of the promise he made so he can do what will be best for Canada. He held a vote to see which side will win about the conscription crisis. The results were 70% French Canadians voted against conscription, but over 80% of English Canadians supported it. [8] After trying everything King could to avoid conscription, he was forced to break his promise. In the House of Commons on 10 June 1942, he said that his policy was "not necessarily conscription but conscription if necessary." [9] Mackenzie did everything in his power to stop conscription in Canada, rather than just choosing what is best for the country he held a vote to see what the nation would want. He negotiated with French and English Canadians to put a halt to the civil war in Canada. The way he led the conscription of 1942 shows how much of a great leader and decision maker he really is.

In conclusion, compromising and consolidating, creating social policies, and leading conscription crisis through World War II in Canada made Mackenzie King an outstanding leader and a famous Canadian. He had held the office longer than any other Politian in an English Speaking Country. He proved himself as an effective leader socially, nationally, and also throughout the dark times of war. As a prime minister he did a lot for his country and people, he kept his word on various issues in our society. The accomplishments achieved by other prime ministers in Canada, do not even reach King's achievements. William Lyon Mackenzie King will be remembered as the greatest Prime Minister of Canada. [10] 


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