Lester Bowles Pearson (affectionately known as Mike, a nickname given to him by his flying instructor in World War 1), was born in Toronto in 1897, of Irish stock on both sides of his family. His mother was from Kilkenny, Ireland and his father’s father was from Dublin.
In 1945 Lester B. Pearson participated in the San Francisco conference to create the United Nations. In 1949 he signed the treaty for the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, (N.A.T.O.) and led the Canadian delegation until 1957. He was chairman of the NATO Council in 1951-52 and became the President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1952.
In 1956, Lester B. proposed the solution to end the Suez War by sponsoring the creation of a United Nations peacekeeping force, and was awarded the great honour of winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957.
Lester B. Pearson became the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada in 1958, and after winning the election in 1963, he became the 14th Prime Minister of Canada, a position he held until 1968. During his tenure as Prime Minister, Pearson was known for his foreign policy of internationalism but his domestic policies were of primary importance and illustrate his concerns for the benefit of the people of Canada.
During Lester B. Pearson’s time as Prime Minister he created the Canada Pension Plan and, perhaps his greatest gift of all to the people of Canada; a Universal Medical Plan, something that has been envied and copied around the world.
Whether or not Canada should have a flag of it’s own had been a matter of debate for years and under Lester B. Pearson’s leadership, the Maple Leaf flag was accepted with great acclaim by all Canadians in 1965.