List of Leaders of the Official Opposition (Canada)

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This is a List of Canadian Leaders of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition is usually the leader of the party with the second-most seats in the Canadian House of Commons, known as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. He or she is entitled to the same levels of pay and protection as a Cabinet Minister, and is often made a member of the Canadian Privy Council, generally the only non-government member of the House of Commons afforded that privilege.

If the leader of the opposition party is not a Member of Parliament, then a sitting MP takes the role of acting Leader of the Opposition until the party leader can obtain a seat. If there is a leadership race occurring within the party, an MP (usually the interim party leader) will serve as Leader of the Opposition until a new party leader is chosen.

The current Leader of the Opposition is Thomas Mulcair, the leader of the New Democratic Party. He is the 44th person to serve in this position, in the 56th term, since 1873. Nine of the previous officeholders only served as an acting Leader of the Opposition, including Deborah Grey (the first of two women to hold the position) making Mulcair the 35th permanent Leader of the Opposition. The title has been held without vacancy since 1948.

Two Leaders of the Opposition have died in office: Wilfrid Laurier in 1919 and Jack Layton in 2011.[1]

Leaders of the Opposition[edit]

Leader of the Opposition Party Took Office[2] Left Office[2] Prime Minister
     Alexander Mackenzie-portrait.jpg Alexander Mackenzie (first of two) Liberal March 1873 November 5, 1873      John A. Macdonald
     Brady-Handy John A Macdonald - cropped.jpg John A. Macdonald Liberal-Conservative November 6, 1873 October 16, 1878 Alexander Mackenzie
     Alexander Mackenzie-portrait.jpg Alexander Mackenzie (second of two) Liberal October 17, 1878 April 27, 1880 John A. Macdonald
     vacant Liberal April 28, 1880 May 3, 1880
     Edward Blake.jpg Edward Blake Liberal May 4, 1880 June 2, 1887
     vacant Liberal June 3, 1887 June 22, 1887
Laurier in 1906.jpg Wilfrid Laurier (first of two) Liberal June 23, 1887 July 10, 1896
     John Abbott
     John Sparrow David Thompson
     Mackenzie Bowell
     Charles Tupper
     Tupper Portrait.jpg Charles Tupper[NB 1] Conservative (historical) July 11, 1896 February 5, 1901 Wilfrid Laurier
     RobertLBorden.jpg Robert Borden Conservative (historical) February 6, 1901 October 9, 1911
     Laurier in 1906.jpg Wilfrid Laurier (second of two) Liberal October 10, 1911 February 17, 1919[NB 2] Robert Borden
     DanielDuncanMcKenzie.jpg Daniel Duncan McKenzie (acting)[NB 3] Liberal February 17, 1919 August 7, 1919
Wm Lyon Mackenzie King.jpg William Lyon Mackenzie King (first of three) Liberal August 7, 1919 December 28, 1921
     Arthur Meighen
     ArthurMeighenheadshot.jpg Arthur Meighen[NB 4] Conservative (historical) December 29, 1921 June 28, 1926 William Lyon Mackenzie King
     Wm Lyon Mackenzie King.jpg William Lyon Mackenzie King (second of three) Liberal June 29, 1926 September 24, 1926 Arthur Meighen
     vacant[NB 5] Conservative (historical) September 25, 1926 October 10, 1926 William Lyon Mackenzie King
     Hugh Guthrie.png Hugh Guthrie[NB 6] Conservative (historical) October 11, 1926 October 11, 1927
     Richard Bedford Bennett.jpg Richard Bedford Bennett (first of two) Conservative (historical) October 12, 1927 August 6, 1930
     Wm Lyon Mackenzie King.jpg William Lyon Mackenzie King (third of three) Liberal August 7, 1930 October 22, 1935 R. B. Bennett
     Richard Bedford Bennett.jpg Richard Bedford Bennett (second of two) Conservative (historical) October 23, 1935 July 6, 1938 William Lyon Mackenzie King
     Robert Manion.jpg Robert Manion Conservative (historical) July 7, 1938 May 13, 1940
     Richard Hanson 1940.jpg Richard Hanson (acting)[NB 7] Conservative (historical) May 14, 1940 1943
     No image.svg Gordon Graydon (acting)[NB 8] Progressive Conservative 1943 June 10, 1945
     John Bracken circa 1941.jpg John Bracken Progressive Conservative June 11, 1945 July 20, 1948
     vacant Progressive Conservative July 21, 1948 October 1, 1948
GeorgeDrew.jpg George A. Drew (first of two) Progressive Conservative October 2, 1948 November 1, 1954
Louis St. Laurent
     No image.svg William Earl Rowe (acting, first of two)[NB 9] Progressive Conservative November 1, 1954 February 1, 1955
     GeorgeDrew.jpg George A. Drew (second of two) Progressive Conservative February 1, 1955 August 1, 1956
     No image.svg William Earl Rowe (acting, second of two)[NB 10] Progressive Conservative August 1, 1956 December 13, 1956
     John G. Diefenbaker.jpg John George Diefenbaker (first of two) Progressive Conservative December 14, 1956 June 20, 1957
     Louisstlaurent.jpg Louis St. Laurent Liberal June 21, 1957 January 15, 1958 John Diefenbaker
     Lester B. Pearson with a pencil.jpg Lester B. Pearson Liberal January 16, 1958 April 21, 1963
     John G. Diefenbaker.jpg John George Diefenbaker (second of two) Progressive Conservative April 22, 1963 September 8, 1967 Lester B. Pearson
     No image.svg Michael Starr (acting)[NB 11] Progressive Conservative September 9, 1967 November 5, 1967
HFX Airport 8.jpg Robert Stanfield Progressive Conservative November 6, 1967 February 21, 1976
Pierre Trudeau
     JoeClark.jpg Joe Clark (first of two) Progressive Conservative February 22, 1976 June 3, 1979
     Pierre Elliot Trudeau-2.jpg Pierre Elliott Trudeau Liberal June 4, 1979 March 2, 1980 Joe Clark
     JoeClark.jpg Joe Clark (second of two) Progressive Conservative March 3, 1980 February 1, 1983 Pierre Trudeau
     No image.svg Erik Nielsen (acting)[NB 12] Progressive Conservative February 2, 1983 August 28, 1983
Mulroney.jpg Brian Mulroney Progressive Conservative August 29, 1983 September 16, 1984
     John Turner
     Fmr CDN PM John Turner.jpg John Turner Liberal September 17, 1984 February 7, 1990 Brian Mulroney
     Herb Gray 2008.jpg Herb Gray (acting)[NB 13] Liberal February 8, 1990 December 20, 1990
Jean Chretien 2010.jpg Jean Chrétien Liberal December 21, 1990 October 24, 1993
     Kim Campbell
     Lucien Bouchard 2009.png Lucien Bouchard Bloc Québécois October 25, 1993 January 14, 1996 Jean Chrétien
     Gilles Duceppe2.jpg Gilles Duceppe (acting)[NB 14] Bloc Québécois January 15, 1996 February 16, 1996
     No image.svg Michel Gauthier Bloc Québécois February 17, 1996 March 14, 1997
     Gilles Duceppe2.jpg Gilles Duceppe Bloc Québécois March 15, 1997 June 1, 1997
     PrestonManning.jpg Preston Manning Reform June 2, 1997 March 26, 2000
     No image.svg Deborah Grey (acting)[NB 15] Canadian Alliance March 27, 2000 September 10, 2000
     Stockwell Day - July 2010.jpg Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance September 11, 2000 December 11, 2001
     Johnreynolds2006winter.JPG John Reynolds (acting)[NB 16] Canadian Alliance December 12, 2001 May 20, 2002
Stephen Harper by Remy Steinegger.jpg Stephen Harper (first of two) Canadian Alliance May 21, 2002 January 8, 2004
Paul Martin
     No image.svg Grant Hill (acting)[NB 17] Canadian Alliance January 9, 2004 February 1, 2004
     No image.svg Grant Hill[NB 17] Conservative February 2, 2004[NB 18] March 19, 2004
     Stephen Harper by Remy Steinegger.jpg Stephen Harper (second of two) Conservative March 20, 2004 February 5, 2006
     Bill Graham by Rod Brito.jpg Bill Graham[NB 19] Liberal February 6, 2006 December 1, 2006 Stephen Harper
     Stéphane Dion.jpg Stéphane Dion Liberal December 2, 2006 December 9, 2008
     Victoria, BC Liberal Town Hall Forum public libéral.jpg Michael Ignatieff[NB 20] Liberal December 10, 2008 May 1, 2011
     Jack Layton - 2011.jpg Jack Layton New Democrat May 2, 2011 August 22, 2011[NB 2]
     Nycole Turmel.png Nycole Turmel New Democrat August 23, 2011[NB 21] March 23, 2012
     Thomas Mulcair, Lac des Castors, juin 2012.jpg Thomas Mulcair New Democrat March 24, 2012 Incumbent

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Tupper lost his seat in the 1900 election and resigned as party leader and Leader of the Opposition three months later.
  2. ^ a b Died in office.
  3. ^ McKenzie served as interim Leader of the Opposition from Laurier's death until King's election as leader of the Liberal Party.
  4. ^ Arthur Meighen's Conservatives formed the Official Opposition although the Progressive Party had more seats.
  5. ^ Meighen failed to win his seat and immediately resigned as leader of the Conservative Party.
  6. ^ Guthrie served as interim Leader of the Opposition from shortly after Meighen's resignation until Bennett's election as leader of the Conservative Party.
  7. ^ Hanson served as interim Leader of the Opposition from Manion's resignation until Meighen's election as leader of the Conservative Party. He continued as acting Leader of the Opposition throughout Meighen's term as Conservative leader, as Meighen failed in his attempts to win election to the House of Commons, and continued as acting Leader of the Opposition from Bracken's election as PC leader until his own resignation.
  8. ^ Graydon served as acting Leader of the Opposition from Hanson's resignation until Bracken entered Parliament in the 20th general election.
  9. ^ Rowe served as acting Leader of the Opposition in winter 1954-55 due to Drew's poor health.
  10. ^ Rowe again served as acting Leader of the Opposition due to Drew's poor health until Drew was replaced by Diefenbaker.
  11. ^ Starr served as acting Leader of the Opposition from Stanfield's election as PC leader until Stanfield entered Parliament via by-election.
  12. ^ Nielsen served as acting Leader of the Opposition for the two weeks preceding Clark's resignation from the post of leader of the PC Party. He continued as interim Leader of the Opposition during the 1983 Progressive Conservative leadership campaign in which Clark unsuccessfully ran to succeed himself. Nielsen continued as acting Leader of the Opposition from Mulroney's election as PC leader until Mulroney entered Parliament via by-election.
  13. ^ Gray served as parliamentary leader of the Liberal Party from John Turner's announcement that he would be stepping down through Chrétien's election as Liberal leader and until Chrétien entered Parliament via by-election.
  14. ^ Duceppe served as interim Leader of the Opposition during the 1996 Bloc Québécois leadership election initiated by Bouchard's sudden resignation from federal politics to become Premier of Quebec.
  15. ^ Grey served as interim Leader of the Opposition during the 2000 Canadian Alliance leadership campaign in which Manning unsuccessfully ran to succeed himself. She continued as acting Leader of the Opposition from Day's election as Alliance leader until Day entered Parliament via byelection.
  16. ^ Reynolds served as interim Leader of the Opposition during the 2002 Canadian Alliance leadership campaign in which Day unsuccessfully ran to succeed himself. He continued as acting Leader of the Opposition from Harper's election as Alliance leader until Harper entered Parliament via by-election.
  17. ^ a b Hill served as interim Leader of the Opposition during the 2004 Conservative leadership election in which Harper successfully ran to be leader of the new party.
  18. ^ Although the PC Party and Canadian Alliance were recognized as merged on December 7, 2003, by Elections Canada, they did not merge their parliamentary caucuses until February 2, 2004.
  19. ^ Graham served as interim parliamentary leader and Leader of the Opposition until the 2006 Liberal leadership convention.
  20. ^ Ignatieff served as interim Leader of the Opposition until the 2009 Liberal leadership convention.
  21. ^ Turmel became the acting leader of the NDP on July 28, 2011, when Layton began his leave of absence, but she did not become the Leader of the Opposition until Layton's death.

References[edit]

  1. ^ McGregor, Janyce (August 22, 2011). "Parliament and Layton's passing". CBC News. Retrieved August 23, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Parliament of Canada. "Leaders of the Official Opposition". Retrieved March 27, 2012. 

See also[edit]