This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.
William Lyon Mackenzie King first entered Parliament in 1908 as the Liberal Member for North York. His interest in labour issues made him an obvious choice for Minister of Labour in Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s government between 1909 and 1911. He was defeated in the1911 election and from then until 1919 he was employed by the Rockefeller Foundation as a labour consultant. It was during these years that he published his book Industry and Humanity.
King’s long tenure as Prime Minister did not rest, as it had for others such as Laurier and Macdonald, on charm or personal magnetism. He was not a decisive leader and was bitterly opposed by French Canadians when he broke a campaign promise and introduced overseas conscription during World War II. However, during his tenure, Canada survived war and depression and saw the introduction of the old age pension, unemployment insurance and family allowance.
From the defeat of his government in 1911 until his death, Sir Wilfrid Laurier remained leader of the Liberal Party and a Member of Parliament. He died on February 17, 1919 after a series of strokes.
Carriage bearing the Lauriers during Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee procession in London 1897.
In 1897, while the Lauriers attended the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign in London England, Laurier House was being acquired for their use.