Laurier on John A. ‘a devotion to Canada’s welfare, Canada’s advancement, and Canada’s glory’
Nov. 20 was Sir Wilfrid Laurier Day across Canada thanks to an act of Parliament. It is the annual opportunity Canadians have to reflect upon the life and legacy of Laurier, Canada’s first French Canadian prime minister. Shortly after the 1891 election, which saw Sir John A. Macdonald defeat his most worthy opponent, the first prime minister died. The young Dominion was plunged into mourning when her citizens learned that John A. had passed away at Earnscliffe on the evening of June 6, 1891. When the House of Commons met in the sad aftermath, Laurier rose and delivered the greatest tribute in Canadian history. On Sir Wilfrid Laurier Day 2014, falling as it does just short weeks before Macdonald of Kingston’s bicentennial day in January, an edited version of Laurier’s eulogy of the Father of Confederation from the new book, Canada Transformed: The Speeches of Sir John A. Macdonald, A Bicentennial Celebration, is found below.