Following the death of his powerful Quebec Lieutenant, Ernest Lapointe, Mackenzie King searched for a new Quebec leader who would be a good successor when he retired. He chose Louis St-Laurent.
To the end, King talked with pride of the wisdom of his choice. He persuaded St-Laurent to give up a great law practice to become Justice Minister in December of 1941.French speaking father and an english speaking mother. He was fluently bilingual from childhood.
He graduated in Law from Laval University and practiced with exceptional success in Quebec. With the high respect of French-Canadians, an international reputation in legal circles and a great understanding of humanity, yet with no previous political Experience, Laurent was an immediate success in the war cabinet and thereafter.
Mackenzie King handed over the party leadership to St-Laurent in August 1948 and in November of the same year gave up the Prime Ministership to his chosen successor.
St-Laurent was responsible for several important departmental changes and was prominent in the field of international relations. He was one of the first western leaders to advocate the North Atlantic treaty Organization.
St-Laurent nominated the first Canadian-born Governor General (Rt Honourable Vincent Massey) and it was under his administration that the St Lawrence Seaway project was finally launched in cooperation with the United States.
He won the 1949 General Election, the first under his leadership, with a record 190 seats. His won a second mandate but was edged out by the Conservatives under John Diefenbaker in 1957. The debate over the northern Ontario gas pipeline led to his defeat in 1957. In early 1958, St-Laurent retired from politics and returned to his law practice in Quebec City. He died in Quebec on July 25th 1973.