List of prime ministers of Canada

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Canada's prime ministers during its first century

The prime minister of Canada is an official who serves as the primary minister of the Crown, chair of the Cabinet, and thus head of government of Canada. Twenty-three people have served as prime ministers. Officially, the prime minister is appointed by the governor general of Canada, but by constitutional convention, the prime minister must have the confidence of the elected House of Commons. Normally, this is the leader of the party caucus with the greatest number of seats in the house. But if that leader lacks the support of the majority, the governor general can appoint another leader who has that support or may dissolve parliament and call a new election. By constitutional convention, a prime minister holds a seat in parliament and, since the early 20th century, this has more specifically meant the House of Commons.[1]

Model[edit]

The office is not outlined in any of the documents that constitute the written portion of the Constitution of Canada; executive authority is formally vested in the sovereign and exercised on the sovereign’s behalf by the governor general. The prime ministership is part of Canada's constitutional convention tradition. The office was modelled after that which existed in the United Kingdom at the time. John A. Macdonald was commissioned by the Viscount Monck on 24 May 1867, to form the first government of the Canadian Confederation. On 1 July 1867, the first ministry assumed office.[2]

Term[edit]

The prime minister begins their term has been determined by the date sworn into their portfolio, as an oath of office as prime minister is not required.[3] However, since 1957, the incoming prime minister has sworn an oath as prime minister.[3] Before 1920, prime ministers' resignations were accepted immediately by the governor general and the last day of the ministries were the date he died or the date of resignation.[3] Since 1920, the outgoing prime minister has only formally resigned when the new government is ready to be formed.[3] The Interpretation Act of 1967 states that "where an appointment is made effective or terminates on a specified day, that appointment is considered to be effective or to terminate after the end of the previous day".[3] Thus, although the outgoing prime minister formally resigns only hours before the incoming ministry swears their oaths, both during the day, the ministries are effectively changed at midnight the night before. Some sources, including the Parliament of Canada, apply this convention as far back as 1917.[4] Two prime ministers have died in office: John A. Macdonald (1867–1873, 1878–1891), and John Thompson (1892–1894), both of natural causes. All others have resigned, either after losing an election or upon retirement.

Prime ministers[edit]

Canadian custom is to count by the individuals who were prime minister, not by terms.[5] Since Confederation, 23 prime ministers have been "called upon" by the governor general to form 29 Canadian Ministries.[5]

Abbreviation key: No.: Incumbent number, Min.: Ministry, Refs: References
Colour key:
Provinces key: AB: Alberta, BC: British Columbia, MB: Manitoba, NS: Nova Scotia,
ON: Ontario, QC: Quebec, SK: Saskatchewan
No. Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Electoral mandates (Assembly) Political party Riding Cabinet Ref.
1
(1 of 2)
John A. Macdonald
(1815–1891)
1 July
1867
5 November
1873
Title created (caretaker government)⁠

1867 election (1st Parl.)⁠


1872 election (2nd Parl.)

Liberal–Conservative MP for Kingston, ON 1st [2][6]
Minister of Justice; Integration of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory into Canada; Manitoba Act; Red River Rebellion; British Columbia and Prince Edward Island join confederation; Creation of the North-West Mounted Police; Resigned over Pacific Scandal
2
Alexander Mackenzie
(1822–1892)
7 November
1873
8 October
1878
Appointment (2nd Parl.)⁠

1874 election (3rd Parl.)

Liberal
(Ldr. 1873)
MP for Lambton, ON 2nd [7][8]
Pacific Scandal; Creation of the Supreme Court; Passage of the Indian Act; Establishment of the Royal Military College; Created the office of the Auditor General

(2 of 2)
John A. Macdonald
(1815–1891)
17 October
1878
6 June
1891
1878 election (4th Parl.)⁠

1882 election (5th Parl.)⁠


1887 election (6th Parl.)⁠


1891 election (7th Parl.)

Liberal–Conservative MP for Victoria, BC
(1878–1882)

MP for Carleton, ON
(1882–1887)


MP for Kingston, ON
(1887–1891)

3rd [9][10]
National Policy; Railway to the Pacific; North-West Rebellion; Hanging of Louis Riel. Died in office (stroke).
3
John Abbott
(1821–1893)
16 June
1891
24 November
1892
Appointment (7th Parl.) Liberal–Conservative Senator for Quebec 4th [11][12]
Minister without Portfolio; Succeeded on Macdonald's death due to objections to the Catholic John Thompson. In ill health; retired. First prime minister born in what would become Canada, and first of only two prime ministers to serve while in the Senate.
4
John Thompson
(1845–1894)
5 December
1892
12 December
1894
Appointment (7th Parl.) Liberal–Conservative MP for Antigonish, NS 5th [13][14]
Minister of Justice; first Catholic prime minister. Manitoba Schools Question. Died in office (heart attack).
5
Mackenzie Bowell
(1823–1917)
21 December
1894
27 April
1896
Appointment (7th Parl.) Conservative Senator for Ontario 6th [15][16]
Minister of Customs; Minister of Militia and Defence; Manitoba Schools Question. Last prime minister to serve while in the Senate and last prime minister not to be born in Canada or pre-Canada until Turner.
6
Charles Tupper
(1821–1915)
1 May
1896
8 July
1896
Appointment (caretaker government) Conservative Did not hold a seat in legislature 7th [17][18]
Minister of Customs, Minister of Railways and Canals; Oldest Canadian PM to take office. Aimed to defeat Patrons of Industry, but dominated by Manitoba Schools Question. Never sat in parliament as Prime Minister.
7
Wilfrid Laurier
(1841–1919)
11 July
1896
6 October
1911
1896 election (8th Parl.)⁠

1900 election (9th Parl.)⁠


1904 election (10th Parl.)⁠


1908 election (11th Parl.)

Liberal
(Ldr. 1887)
MP for Quebec East, QC 8th [19][20]
Manitoba Schools Question; Boer War; Alberta and Saskatchewan created; Creation of the Royal Canadian Navy; Reciprocity with the US; Department of External Affairs established; first French Canadian prime minister; Removed the right of status Indians to vote.
8
Robert Borden
(1854–1937)
10 October
1911
10 July
1920
1911 election (12th Parl.)⁠

1917 election (13th Parl.)

Government (Unionist)
(Ldr. 1901)
MP for Halifax, NS
(1911–1917)

MP for Kings, NS
(1917–1920)

9th
(1911–17)
10th
(1917–20)
[20][21][22]
First World War; Military Service Act; Conscription Crisis of 1917; Union government; National Research Council; Introduction of income tax; Nickle Resolution; Women's suffrage; Suppression of Winnipeg General Strike; Canada sits at the Paris Peace Conference, signs the Treaty of Versailles and joins League of Nations.
9
(1 of 2)
Arthur Meighen
(1874–1960)
10 July
1920
29 December
1921
Appointment (13th Parl.) Conservative
(Ldr. 1920)
MP for Portage la Prairie, MB 11th [23][24]
Solicitor General of Canada, Minister of Mines, Secretary of State for Canada, Minister of the Interior, Superintendent Indian Affairs; Grand Trunk Railway placed under control of Canadian National Railways.
10
(1 of 3)
William Lyon Mackenzie King
(1874–1950)
29 December
1921
28 June
1926
1921 election (14th Parl.)⁠

1925 election (15th Parl.)

Liberal
(Ldr. 1919)
MP for York North, ON
(1921–1925)

MP for Prince Albert, SK
(1925–1926)

12th [LS] [25][26]
Minister of Labour; Chanak Crisis; lower tariffs; reinstated Crowsnest Pass Agreement; 1923 Imperial Conference; Halibut Treaty; Continued after 1925 with third party Progressive support until resigning after his request for an election was refused by Governor General Lord Byng.

(2 of 2)
Arthur Meighen
(1874–1960)
29 June
1926
25 September
1926
Appointment (15th Parl.) Conservative MP for Portage la Prairie, MB 13th [23][27]
Appointed as a result of the King–Byng Affair.

(2 of 3)
William Lyon Mackenzie King
(1874–1950)
25 September
1926
7 August
1930
1926 election (16th Parl.) Liberal MP for Prince Albert, SK 14th [25][28]
Balfour Declaration; Introduction of old age pensions; first Canadian envoys with full diplomatic status sent to foreign countries (USA, France, Japan); Great Depression.
11
R. B. Bennett
(1870–1947)
7 August
1930
23 October
1935
1930 election (17th Parl.) Conservative
(Ldr. 1927)
MP for Calgary West, AB 15th [29][30]
Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance; Great Depression; Imperial Preference; Statute of Westminster; Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission; Canadian Wheat Board; Creation of the Bank of Canada.

(3 of 3)
William Lyon Mackenzie King
(1874–1950)
23 October
1935
15 November
1948
1935 election (18th Parl.)⁠

1940 election (19th Parl.)⁠


1945 election (20th Parl.)

Liberal MP for Prince Albert, SK
(1935–1945)

MP for Glengarry, ON
(1945–1948)

16th [LS][25][31]
Creation of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; National Film Board of Canada; Unemployment Insurance Act of 1940; Nationalization of the Bank of Canada; Second World War; Japanese Canadian internment; Conscription Crisis of 1944; Canada's entry into the United Nations; Trans-Canada Airlines; Gouzenko Affair. First and to date only prime minister to serve three non-consecutive terms.
12
Louis St. Laurent
(1882–1973)
15 November
1948
21 June
1957
Appointment (20th Parl.)⁠

1949 election (21st Parl.)⁠


1953 election (22nd Parl.)

Liberal
(Ldr. 1948)
MP for Quebec East, QC 17th [32][33]
Minister of Justice, Secretary of State for External Affairs; Dominion of Newfoundland joins confederation; right of appeal to Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ended; Canada's entrance into NATO; Suez Crisis; Creation of the United Nations Emergency Force; London Declaration; Newfoundland Act; Equalization; Trans-Canada Highway; St. Lawrence Seaway; Trans-Canada Pipeline; Pipeline Debate.
13
John Diefenbaker
(1895–1979)
21 June
1957
22 April
1963
1957 election (23rd Parl.)⁠

1958 election (24th Parl.)⁠


1962 election (25th Parl.)

Progressive Conservative
(Ldr. 1956)
MP for Prince Albert, SK 18th [34][35]
Avro Arrow cancellation; Coyne Affair; Cuban Missile Crisis; NORAD; Establishment of Board of Broadcast Governors; Canadian Bill of Rights; Allowed status aboriginals to vote in federal elections 1960; Alouette 1 satellite programme.
14
Lester B. Pearson
(1897–1972)
22 April
1963
20 April
1968
1963 election (26th Parl.)⁠

1965 election (27th Parl.)

Liberal
(Ldr. 1958)
MP for Algoma East, ON 19th [36][37]
Secretary of State for External Affairs; Bomarc missile program; Federal involvement in universal healthcare; Canada Pension Plan; Canada Student Loans; Creation of a new Canadian flag; Auto Pact; Rejection of troop deployment to Vietnam; Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism; Unification of the Armed Forces; Canadian Centennial Celebrations.
15
(1 of 2)
Pierre Trudeau
(1919–2000)
20 April
1968
4 June
1979
Appointment (27th Parl.)⁠

1968 election (28th Parl.)⁠


1972 election (29th Parl.)⁠


1974 election (30th Parl.)

Liberal
(Ldr. 1968)
MP for Mount Royal, QC 20th [*][38]
Minister of Justice; "Trudeaumania"; "Just Society"; decriminalizing homosexuality and legalizing abortion; October Crisis and use of the War Measures Act; Official Languages Act; Establishment of relations with Communist China; Victoria Charter; Creation of Petro-Canada; Membership in the G7; Metrication of Canada; National Housing Act amendments; inflation and eventual state intervention; Creation of Via Rail.
16
Joe Clark
(b. 1939)
4 June
1979
3 March
1980
1979 election (31st Parl.) Progressive Conservative
(Ldr. 1976)
MP for Yellowhead, AB 21st [*][39]
Youngest Canadian PM; Freedom of Information Act; Canadian Caper; defeated in a motion of no confidence on first budget.

(2 of 2)
Pierre Trudeau
(1919–2000)
3 March
1980
30 June
1984
1980 election (32nd Parl.) Liberal
(Ldr. 1968)
MP for Mount Royal, QC 22nd [*][38]
1980 Quebec referendum; Access to Information Act; Patriation of the Canadian Constitution; Montreal Protocol; Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; National Energy Program; Canada Health Act; Western alienation.
17
John Turner
(1929–2020)
30 June
1984
17 September
1984
Appointment (32nd Parl.) Liberal
(Ldr. 1984)
Did not hold a seat in legislature 23rd [*][40]
Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance; Trudeau Patronage Appointments. Never sat in parliament as Prime Minister. First prime minister since Bowell not to have been born in Canada.
18
Brian Mulroney
(b. 1939)
17 September
1984
25 June
1993
1984 election (33rd Parl.)⁠

1988 election (34th Parl.)

Progressive Conservative
(Ldr. 1983)
MP for Manicouagan, QC
(1984–1988)

MP for Charlevoix, QC
(1988–1993)

24th [*][41]
Cancellation of the National Energy Program; Meech Lake Accord; Petro-Canada privatization; Canada-US Free Trade Agreement; Introduction of the Goods and Services Tax; Charlottetown Accord; Gulf War; Oka Crisis; Emergencies Act; Environmental Protection Act; Privatization of Air Canada, North American Free Trade Agreement; Nunavut Land Claims Agreement; Airbus affair.
19
Kim Campbell
(b. 1947)
25 June
1993
4 November
1993
Appointment (34th Parl.) Progressive Conservative
(Ldr. 1993)
MP for Vancouver Centre, BC 25th [*][42]
Minister of Justice, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Minister of National Defence, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs; first female prime minister of Canada. Defeated and lost her seat in 1993 election.
20
Jean Chrétien
(b. 1934)
4 November
1993
12 December
2003
1993 election (35th Parl.)⁠

1997 election (36th Parl.)⁠


2000 election (37th Parl.)

Liberal
(Ldr. 1990)
MP for Saint-Maurice, QC 26th [*][43]
Minister of Finance, Minister of Indian Affairs, Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, Minister of Justice and Energy Minister, President of the Treasury Board, Minister of National Revenue, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada; Privatization of Canadian National Railway, Red Book; Harmonized Sales Tax; 1995 Quebec referendum; Clarity Act; Assassination attempt; Kosovo War; 1997 Red River flood; Social Union Framework Agreement; Creation of Nunavut Territory; Youth Criminal Justice Act; Operation Yellow Ribbon; Invasion of Afghanistan; Opposition to the Invasion of Iraq; Sponsorship scandal; Kyoto Protocol; Gomery Inquiry.
21
Paul Martin
(b. 1938)
12 December
2003
6 February
2006
Appointment (37th Parl.)⁠

2004 election (38th Parl.)

Liberal
(Ldr. 2003)
MP for LaSalle—Émard, QC 27th [*][41]
Only son of Paul Martin Sr., a prominent diplomat; served as Minister of Finance; Minority government. Civil Marriage Act; Kelowna Accord; Rejection of US Anti-Missile Treaty; Sponsorship scandal; Gomery inquiry; G20; Atlantic Accord
22
Stephen Harper
(b. 1959)
6 February
2006
4 November
2015
2006 election (39th Parl.)⁠

2008 election (40th Parl.)⁠


2011 election (41st Parl.)

Conservative
(Ldr. 2004)
MP for Calgary Southwest, AB 28th [*][44]
Accountability Act; Softwood Lumber Agreement; Afghanistan Mission; 2006 Ontario terrorism plot; Québécois nation motion; 2008 Financial crisis; Coalition crisis; Economic Action Plan; Afghan detainee issue; Parliamentary contempt; Withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol; Repeal of the Long-Gun Registry; Senate expenses scandal; Anti-terrorism Act, 2015.
23
Justin Trudeau
(b. 1971)
4 November
2015
incumbent 2015 election (42nd Parl.)⁠

2019 election (43rd Parl.)⁠


2021 election (44th Parl.)

Liberal
(Ldr. 2013)
MP for Papineau, QC 29th [45]
Eldest son of Pierre Trudeau, the 15th prime minister; served as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Youth; Paris Agreement; Canada–Europe Trade Agreement; Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement; legalization of cannabis; United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement; SNC-Lavalin affair; Extradition case of Meng Wanzhou; Detention of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig; 2020 Canadian pipeline and railway protests; COVID-19 pandemic; WE Charity scandal; Convoy protest and use of the Emergencies Act; weapon shipment for defence of Ukraine; Yaroslav Hunka scandal; confidence and supply agreement with NDP; diplomatic dispute with India, Canada Child Benefit, $10 a day childcare, Canada Dental Benefit.
LSParty won the election, but prime minister lost own seat
*The Interpretation Act of 1967 states that "where an appointment is made effective or terminates on a specified day, that appointment is considered to be effective or to terminate after the end of the previous day." Under the Act, prime ministers' tenures are therefore credited as having concluded at the end of their last full day in office, although their resignation was received by the governor general on the following day. This provision applies to P. Trudeau in 1979[46] and 1984,[47] Clark,[48] Turner,[49] Mulroney,[50] Campbell,[51] Chrétien,[52] Martin,[52] and Harper.[52]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]