Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Today is the birthday of Canada’s seventh prime minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier (1841-1919).

Frye in “National Consciousness in Canadian Culture”:

The Canadian sense of the future tends to be apocalyptic: Laurier’s dictum that the twentieth century would belong to Canada was even then implying a most improbable and discontinuous future.  The past in Canada, on the other hand, is, like the past of a psychiatric patient, something of a problem to be resolved: it is rather like what the past would be in the United States if it had started with the Civil War instead of the Revolutionary War.  (CW 12, 500)

(Note that there is a brief bit of film footage of Laurier giving a speech on the campaign trail in 1911, the first moving image ever taken of a Canadian prime minister.  However, I’ve been unable to find it.  If anyone knows of a source, please let me know where it is and I’ll post it.)

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