Diefenbaker: A True Leader

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It takes many generations for any single country to evolve from its earliest state into what would be considered a "developed" nation. The changes that take place within the country are generally attributed to a small number of visionary individuals. Many people can be accredited for contributing to the progression of Canada. John G. Diefenbaker, conceivably the single most influential person in the history of Canada, played a crucial role in the development of the country, to what it is today. Diefenbaker's work resulted in the redefining of Canada's cultural identity, the creation of major bills and policies within government legislation as well as developing a stance on foreign affairs and many policies dealing with global issues.

John Diefenbaker was instrumental in bringing in the bill of rights, which "provides Canadians with certain quasi-constitutional rights in relation to other federal statutes," (wikipedia.com). The bill of rights was created in 1960 it gave Canadians Freedom of speech and freedom of religion, The right to life, liberty and security of the person, and in another section, rights to fundamental justice; these are all things that were left out of the charter. Diefenbaker also had some questionable decisions like the decision to cancel the Avro Arrow project, which was a mach-2 interceptor jet. This jet was supposed to be the Canadian Air Forces Interceptor from 1960 and beyond. The project had been started when the liberals were in power but in June 1957 the liberals lost the election to John Diefenbaker and the Conservatives. Diefenbaker thought that the project was taking too much time and money and in February 1959 he cancelled the project. Another policy that Diefenbaker passed was the Agriculture Rehabilitation and Development Act that was targeted at enhancing the viability of rural communities through improved resource use and retraining to facilitate the exit of marginal farmers to other jobs as well as authorized the Canadian Wheat Board to make advance payments to producers on a portion of their farm-stored grain. Diefenbaker also played a big part of getting free health care; in 1961 the Royal Commission on Health Services was created, it studied and reported on the health care needs of Canadians. The following year, the Government of Saskatchewan offered free access to physician services to all of its citizens. Diefenbaker set many bills, polices and acts into action but he was also vital in redefining Canada's culture identity.

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