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Sir Wilfrid Laurier

1841 - 1919

Seventh Prime Minister of Canada (1896-1911). Laurier was a lawyer, an ensign in the militia, and a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Quebec. Though leader of the Liberal Party, he held views that are called "neo-conservative" today. He believed that the role of government was not to force action in any one direction but to remove barriers to citizens' efforts to achieve personal and social improvement. His fifteen years of government were among the most vigorous in Canada's history as Confederation was expanded and immigrants flooded to the land of freedom and opportunity.

This [Canada] is a hard country to govern.

1905 - in conversation to Sir John Nillison
If you remove the incentive of ambition and emulation from public enterprises, you suppress progress, you condemn the community to stagnation and immobility.

Canada has been modest in its history, in my estimation, is only commencing. ... I think we can claim that Canada will fill the twentieth century.

Jan. 18, 1904
A true patriot does not, like the ostrich, hide his head in the sand and ignore the facts, but he looks the real situation of the country in the face.

The speech from the throne has been for some years past a very dry skeleton. This year it is drier than ever and the few bones that are in it rattle together with an ominous sound.