Paul G.

Durham, Ontario

Grey Roots Regional Heritage Fair

John Diefenbaker

John Diefenbaker was the 13th Prime Minister of Canada. What makes him special is that he was born in Neustadt, Ontario, a village only 25 km away from my home. Come with me to learn about this determined man living in an interesting time of change.




What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

John Diefenbaker wanted to be the prime minister from the age of eight. He fulfilled his dream and won the first largest majority government in Canada in 1958. Because of his dedication, he remained in politics and sought to build a better country until his death in 1979.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

From John Diefenbaker's humble beginnings to multiple elections and losses, Mr. Diefenbaker never seemed to succumb to failure and continued to follow his dream. There were significant events that were occuring at the time he became prime minister. For example, the rise of the Cold War, the introduction of nuclear missiles, the Avro Arrow Project and economic instability that all needed to be addressed. It was a huge responsibility for a prime minister at that time.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

Life in the 1950s and '60s was considerably different in Canada compared to today. Many rural children of the day lived on farms and worked to help sustain a family. It was a time post-war, with the introduction of nuclear arms, early computers and many inventions yet to come.