Lester Bowles Pearson
. Today is his 116th birthday. With no control over Parliament and in just over four years, Pearson introduced universal health care, universal pensions, the national student loan program, bilingualism and the first free trade agreement - the Auto Pact - between Canada and the United States. He gave us our flag, too and was tenacious in fighting separatism - with persuasion, and sometimes, with muscle.
He fostered closer links with the U.S. and was famously friendly with JFK, even though their tenures tragically overlapped for only seven months.
How did Pearson do it? By spending five years in the electoral wilderness, building a policy program and a political team that deserved support. And building coalitions in the House, to get things done. That's how.
Oh and, he also won the Nobel Peace Prize. But that was before he got elected.