List of Leaders of the Official Opposition (Canada)
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.
Leaders of the Opposition
|Leader of the Opposition||Party||Took Office||Left Office||Prime Minister|
|Alexander Mackenzie (first of two)||Liberal||March 1873||November 5, 1873||John A. Macdonald|
|John A. Macdonald||Liberal-Conservative||November 6, 1873||October 16, 1878||Alexander Mackenzie|
|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||Liberal||May 4, 1880||June 2, 1887|
|vacant||Liberal||June 3, 1887||June 22, 1887|
|Wilfrid Laurier (first of two)||Liberal||June 23, 1887||July 10, 1896|
|John Sparrow David Thompson|
|Charles Tupper[NB 1]||Conservative (historical)||July 11, 1896||February 5, 1901||Wilfrid Laurier|
|Robert Borden||Conservative (historical)||February 6, 1901||October 9, 1911|
|Wilfrid Laurier (second of two)||Liberal||October 10, 1911||February 17, 1919[NB 2]||Robert Borden|
|Daniel Duncan McKenzie (acting)[NB 3]||Liberal||February 17, 1919||August 7, 1919|
|William Lyon Mackenzie King (first of three)||Liberal||August 7, 1919||December 28, 1921|
|Arthur Meighen[NB 4]||Conservative (historical)||December 29, 1921||June 28, 1926||William Lyon Mackenzie King|
|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[NB 6]||Conservative (historical)||October 11, 1926||October 11, 1927|
|Richard Bedford Bennett (first of two)||Conservative (historical)||October 12, 1927||August 6, 1930|
|William Lyon Mackenzie King (third of three)||Liberal||August 7, 1930||October 22, 1935||R. B. Bennett|
|Richard Bedford Bennett (second of two)||Conservative (historical)||October 23, 1935||July 6, 1938||William Lyon Mackenzie King|
|Robert Manion||Conservative (historical)||July 7, 1938||May 13, 1940|
|Richard Hanson (acting)[NB 7]||Conservative (historical)||May 14, 1940||1943|
|Gordon Graydon (acting)[NB 8]||Progressive Conservative||1943||June 10, 1945|
|John Bracken||Progressive Conservative||June 11, 1945||July 20, 1948|
|vacant||Progressive Conservative||July 21, 1948||October 1, 1948|
|George A. Drew (first of two)||Progressive Conservative||October 2, 1948||November 1, 1954|
|Louis St. Laurent|
|William Earl Rowe (acting, first of two)[NB 9]||Progressive Conservative||November 1, 1954||February 1, 1955|
|George A. Drew (second of two)||Progressive Conservative||February 1, 1955||August 1, 1956|
|William Earl Rowe (acting, second of two)[NB 10]||Progressive Conservative||August 1, 1956||December 13, 1956|
|John George Diefenbaker (first of two)||Progressive Conservative||December 14, 1956||June 20, 1957|
|Louis St. Laurent||Liberal||June 21, 1957||January 15, 1958||John Diefenbaker|
|Lester B. Pearson||Liberal||January 16, 1958||April 21, 1963|
|John George Diefenbaker (second of two)||Progressive Conservative||April 22, 1963||September 8, 1967||Lester B. Pearson|
|Michael Starr (acting)[NB 11]||Progressive Conservative||September 9, 1967||November 5, 1967|
|Robert Stanfield||Progressive Conservative||November 6, 1967||February 21, 1976|
|Joe Clark (first of two)||Progressive Conservative||February 22, 1976||June 3, 1979|
|Pierre Elliott Trudeau||Liberal||June 4, 1979||March 2, 1980||Joe Clark|
|Joe Clark (second of two)||Progressive Conservative||March 3, 1980||February 1, 1983||Pierre Trudeau|
|Erik Nielsen (acting)[NB 12]||Progressive Conservative||February 2, 1983||August 28, 1983|
|Brian Mulroney||Progressive Conservative||August 29, 1983||September 16, 1984|
|John Turner||Liberal||September 17, 1984||February 7, 1990||Brian Mulroney|
|Herb Gray (acting)[NB 13]||Liberal||February 8, 1990||December 20, 1990|
|Jean Chrétien||Liberal||December 21, 1990||October 24, 1993|
|Lucien Bouchard||Bloc Québécois||October 25, 1993||January 14, 1996||Jean Chrétien|
|Gilles Duceppe (acting)[NB 14]||Bloc Québécois||January 15, 1996||February 16, 1996|
|Michel Gauthier||Bloc Québécois||February 17, 1996||March 14, 1997|
|Gilles Duceppe||Bloc Québécois||March 15, 1997||June 1, 1997|
|Preston Manning||Reform||June 2, 1997||March 26, 2000|
|Deborah Grey (acting)[NB 15]||Canadian Alliance||March 27, 2000||September 10, 2000|
|Stockwell Day||Canadian Alliance||September 11, 2000||December 11, 2001|
|John Reynolds (acting)[NB 16]||Canadian Alliance||December 12, 2001||May 20, 2002|
|Stephen Harper (first of two)||Canadian Alliance||May 21, 2002||January 8, 2004|
|Grant Hill (acting)[NB 17]||Canadian Alliance||January 9, 2004||February 1, 2004|
|Conservative||February 2, 2004[NB 18]||March 19, 2004|
|Stephen Harper (second of two)||Conservative||March 20, 2004||February 5, 2006|
|Bill Graham[NB 19]||Liberal||February 6, 2006||December 1, 2006||Stephen Harper|
|Stéphane Dion||Liberal||December 2, 2006||December 9, 2008|
|Michael Ignatieff[NB 20]||Liberal||December 10, 2008||May 1, 2011|
|Jack Layton||New Democratic||May 2, 2011||August 22, 2011[NB 2]|
|Nycole Turmel||New Democratic||August 23, 2011[NB 21]||March 23, 2012|
|Thomas Mulcair||New Democratic||March 24, 2012||November 4, 2015|
|Rona Ambrose[NB 22]||Conservative||November 5, 2015||Justin Trudeau|
- Tupper lost his seat in the 1900 election and resigned as party leader and Leader of the Opposition three months later.
- Died in office.
- McKenzie served as interim Leader of the Opposition from Laurier's death until King's election as leader of the Liberal Party.
- Arthur Meighen's Conservatives formed the Official Opposition although the Progressive Party had more seats.
- Meighen failed to win his seat and immediately resigned as leader of the Conservative Party.
- Guthrie served as interim Leader of the Opposition from shortly after Meighen's resignation until Bennett's election as leader of the Conservative Party.
- 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.
- Graydon served as acting Leader of the Opposition from Hanson's resignation until Bracken entered Parliament in the 20th general election.
- Rowe served as acting Leader of the Opposition in winter 1954-55 due to Drew's poor health.
- Rowe again served as acting Leader of the Opposition due to Drew's poor health until Drew was replaced by Diefenbaker.
- Starr served as acting Leader of the Opposition from Stanfield's election as PC leader until Stanfield entered Parliament via by-election.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Graham served as interim parliamentary leader and Leader of the Opposition until the 2006 Liberal leadership convention.
- Ignatieff served as interim Leader of the Opposition until the 2009 Liberal leadership convention.
- Turmel became interim 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.
- Ambrose elected interim party leader by the Conservative caucus to serve until a permanent leader is elected at the next Conservative Party of Canada leadership election