#144: Louis St. Laurent and the Patchwork Canada

Fuck Louis St. Laurent.

This guy is a double-dinger of sloppy bullshittery. In a way, he’s the prototype for future Liberal fuckery throughout the rest of Canada’s history – manage the economy to the benefit of business interests that eventually get too cozy with Ottawa for the polity’s comfort. He was also an anti-Semite – Diefenbaker recalls his posting the first Jew to run the Bank of Canada, Louis Rasminsky, in part to spite St. Laurent. The fact that St. Laurent like King before him could barely contain his disdain for Western Canada probably didn’t help affairs much.

St. Laurent also oversaw Newfoundland. Holy shit, Newfoundland. See, here’s the thing – the Rock wasn’t too keen on joining Canada. In the first referendum of 1948 Newfoundland wisely voted to steer clear of the foul-smelling dumpster fire that is Canada but failed to hit 50%, triggering a run-off that managed to pull Newfoundland into the Vortex of Suck by a whopping 52.3%. There are of course folk allegations of fuckery in the ballot boxes, and there were movements calling for annexation by the United States expressly to avoid Canada’s Francophones.

Joey Smallwood’s role is obviously paramount to the whole thing. But, see, St. Laurent’s annexation of Newfoundland was definitely assisted by British/Canadian propaganda efforts and those folktales about fraud are a testament to the lack of legitimacy Canada suffers on the Rock. Danny Williams ordered the Canadian flags taken down over Newfoundland’s government buildings over fiscal disputes. Clearly, Newfoundland has some (likely pickled – the place has a drunken reputation) national sentiment. Which St. Laurent ignores because 52% close enough. Can’t leave with 52%, but you can join with it. Hotel California much?

He also oversaw the creation of the Trans-Canada Highway, a road which is so useful that it doesn’t go to the most populous part of the country it’s claiming to be ‘trans’-ing. His other brilliant mega-projects, the now obsolete Saint Lawrence Seaway (which is due for expansion in 2030) and the Trans-Canada Pipeline both continued to demonstrate Canadian planning skills by being entirely obsolete and in the latter case prone to leaking and exploding because why the fuck not.

Louis ran a fairly tight ship save for the typical Canadian patronages, but there’s no real way to praise a guy whose legacy is useless to a sizeable portion of the population, in her mega-projectiness rendered moot by global trade patterns, and prone to egg-farting your house to oblivion. When you build shit, you should also build in protocols to maintain the thing you just built.

Or you can be a Liberal and promise a brave new world in just a few megaprojects that happen to assist their business and dynastic interests. Just as how building huge highways with no funds to repair them was a solid idea to the Canadian mind, the caker is blinded by the prospect of someone noticing it for some kind of feat only to discover that said feat is indistinguishable in modernity from the pipelines built by Khrushchev.

Oh, and taking in a province willy-nilly without addressing seriously the protocols for entry and exit from Canada. That would have been helpful.

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