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List of Prime Ministers of Canada

File:Prime Ministers of Canada to 1963.jpg
Canada's Prime Ministers from 1867 to 1963

The Prime Minister of Canada is an official who serves as the primary Minister of the Crown, chairperson of the Cabinet, and thus Head of Government of Canada. 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 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 support of the majority in the House, the Governor General can appoint another leader who has the support of a majority, 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 elected House of Commons.[1]

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 his or her behalf by the Governor General. The prime ministership is part of Canada's constitutional convention tradition. The office was initially modelled after the job as it existed in Britain at the time. Sir John A. Macdonald was formally commissioned by Lord Monck on 24 May 1867 to form the first Canadian Government under Confederation. On 1 July 1867 the First Ministry assumed office.[2]

The date for which a Prime Minister begins his or her term has been determined by the date that he or she is sworn into his or her portfolio, as an oath of office as Prime Minister is not required.[3] However, starting in 1957 the incoming Prime Minister has sworn an oath as Prime Minister; as of 2006, this tradition has continued.[3] Before 1920, the 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] Although, traditionally, 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]

Prime Ministers

Abbreviation key: No.: Incumbent No., Min.: Ministry
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)
District
Min. Term of office Electoral mandates (Parliaments) Political party Refs
1
(1 of 2)
Sir John A. Macdonald
(1815–1891)
MP for Kingston, ON

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1 July
1867
5 November
1873

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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)
MP for Lambton, ON

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7 November
1873
8 October
1878

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Pacific Scandal; Creation of the Supreme Court; Establishment of the Royal Military College; Created the office of the Auditor General
1
(2 of 2)
Sir John A. Macdonald
(1815–1891)
MP for Victoria, BC until 1882
MP for Carleton, ON until 1887
MP for Kingston, ON

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17 October
1878
6 June
1891

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National Policy; Railway to the Pacific; North-West Rebellion; Hanging of Louis Riel. Died in office (stroke).
3 Sir John Abbott
(1821–1893)
Senator for Quebec

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16 June
1891
24 November
1892

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Succeeded on Macdonald's death due to objections to the Catholic John Thompson. In ill health; retired.
4 Sir John Thompson
(1845–1894)
MP for Antigonish, NS

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5 December
1892
12 December
1894

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Minister of Justice; First Catholic Prime Minister. Manitoba Schools Question. Died in office (heart attack).
5 Sir Mackenzie Bowell
(1823–1917)
Senator for Ontario

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21 December
1894
27 April
1896

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Manitoba Schools Question.
6 Sir Charles Tupper
(1821–1915)
Did not serve in Parliament while Prime Minister

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1 May
1896
8 July
1896
  • Inter-election appt. (no parl't)

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Oldest Canadian PM. Aimed to defeat Patrons of Industry, but dominated by Manitoba Schools Question. Never sat in parliament as Prime Minister.
7 Sir Wilfrid Laurier
(1841–1919)
MP for Quebec East, QC

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11 July
1896
6 October
1911

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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 Sir Robert Borden
(1854–1937)
MP for Halifax, NS until 1917
MP for Kings, NS

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10 October
1911
11 October
1917

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1917 #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
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1920 #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
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First World War; Military Service Act; Conscription Crisis of 1917; Creation of Union government; Creation of the National Research Council; Introduction of income tax; Winnipeg General Strike; Nickle Resolution; Women's suffrage; Canada demands and is granted a seat at the Paris Peace Conference, signs the Treaty of Versailles and joins League of Nations.
9
(1 of 2)
Arthur Meighen
(1874–1960)
MP for Portage la Prairie, MB

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10 July
1920
29 December
1921

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Grand Trunk Railway placed under control of Canadian National Railways.
10
(1 of 3)
William Lyon Mackenzie King
(1874–1950)
MP for York North, ON until 1925
MP for Prince Albert, SK

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29 December
1921
28 June
1926

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Chanak Crisis; lower tariffs; reinstated Crowsnest Pass Agreement; 1923 Imperial Conference; Halibut Treaty; Meighen had won a plurality of seats in the 1925 election, but King continued in office with the unofficial support of the third party Progressives until corruption scandal in the Department of Customs and Excise led to his government's defeat on a confidence vote. The King-Byng Affair saw the Governor General refuse King's request for a new election causing him to resign and Meighen to be invited to form a government.
9
(2 of 2)
Arthur Meighen
(1874–1960)
MP for Portage la Prairie, MB

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29 June
1926
25 September
1926

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Appointed as a result of the King–Byng Affair.
10
(2 of 3)
William Lyon Mackenzie King
(1874–1950)
MP for Prince Albert, SK

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25 September
1926
7 August
1930

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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)
MP for Calgary West, AB

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7 August
1930
23 October
1935

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Great Depression; Imperial Preference; Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission; Canadian Wheat Board; Creation of the Bank of Canada.
10
(3 of 3)
William Lyon Mackenzie King
(1874–1950)
MP for Prince Albert, SK until 1945
MP for Glengarry, ON

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23 October
1935
15 November
1948

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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; Conscription Crisis of 1944; Canada's entry into the United Nations; Trans-Canada Airlines; Gouzenko Affair.
12 Louis St. Laurent
(1882–1973)
MP for Quebec East, QC

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15 November
1948
21 June
1957

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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)
MP for Prince Albert, SK

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21 June
1957
22 April
1963

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Avro Arrow cancellation; Coyne Affair; Cuban Missile Crisis; NORAD; Canadian Bill of Rights; Allowed status aboriginals to vote in federal elections 1960; Alouette 1 satellite programme.
14 Lester B. Pearson
(1897–1972)
MP for Algoma East, ON

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22 April
1963
20 April
1968

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Bomarc missile program; Introduction of Canadian 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; Creation of the Canadian Forces; 1967 Canadian Centennial celebrations.
15
(1 of 2)
Pierre Trudeau
(1919–2000)
MP for Mount Royal, QC

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20 April
1968
3/4 June[*]
1979

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Minister of Justice; "Trudeaumania"; "Just Society"; 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; Metric Commission.
16 Joe Clark
(b. 1939)
MP for Yellowhead, AB

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4 June
1979
2/3 March[*]
1980

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Youngest Canadian PM. Defeated in a motion of no confidence on first budget.
15
(2 of 2)
Pierre Trudeau
(1919–2000)
MP for Mount Royal, QC

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3 March
1980
29/30 June[*]
1984

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Quebec referendum, 1980; Access to Information Act; Patriation of the Canadian Constitution; Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; National Energy Program; Canada Health Act; Western alienation.
17 John Turner
(b. 1929)
Did not serve in Parliament while Prime Minister

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30 June
1984
16/17 September[*]
1984

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Trudeau Patronage Appointments. Never sat in parliament as Prime Minister.
18 Brian Mulroney
(b. 1939)
MP for Manicouagan, QC until 1988
MP for Charlevoix, QC

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17 September
1984
24/25 June[*]
1993

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Cancellation of the NEP; Meech Lake Accord; Petro-Canada privatization; Canada-US Free Trade Agreement; Introduction of the GST; Charlottetown Accord; Gulf War; Oka Crisis; Environmental Protection Act; NAFTA; Airbus affair.
19 Kim Campbell
(b. 1947)
MP for Vancouver Centre, BC

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25 June
1993
3/4 November[*]
1993

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First female Prime Minister of Canada. Defeated and lost her seat in 1993 election.
20 Jean Chrétien
(b. 1934)
MP for Saint-Maurice, QC

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4 November
1993
11/12 December[*]
2003

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Red Book; HST; Quebec referendum, 1995; Clarity Act; Assassination attempt; Kosovo War; 1997 Red River Flood; Social Union Framework Agreement; Creation of Nunavut Territory; Youth Criminal Justice Act; Invasion of Afghanistan; Opposition to the Invasion of Iraq; Sponsorship scandal; Kyoto Protocol; Gomery Inquiry.
21 Paul Martin
(b. 1938)
MP for LaSalle—Émard, QC

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12 December
2003
5/6 February[*]
2006

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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)
MP for Calgary Southwest, AB

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6 February
2006
Incumbent

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Federal Accountability Act; GST Reduction; Afghan Mission Extension; Chuck Cadman Affair; Québécois nation motion; Apology for Chinese Head Tax; Israel-Lebanon Conflict; Veterans' Bill of Rights; Residential Schools Apology; Financial crisis of 2007–2010; 2008–2009 Canadian parliamentary dispute; Canadian Afghan detainee issue; CF-35 procurement deal; Parliamentary contempt; Withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol; Withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan; Repeal of the Long-Gun Registry; Canadian Senate expenses scandal; Office of Religious Freedom.

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Min. Minority government
LS Party 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 (the earlier date given), although their resignation was received by the Governor General on the following day. This provision applies to Trudeau in 1979[44] and 1984,[45] Clark,[46] Turner,[47] Mulroney,[48] Campbell,[49] Chrétien,[50] and Martin.[50]

Living former Prime Ministers

As of June 2015, there are six living former Prime Ministers of Canada, the oldest being John Turner (born 1929). The most recent former Prime Minister to die was Pierre Trudeau (1968–1979, 1980–1984), on 28 September 2000. John A. Macdonald (1867–1873, 1878–1891) and John Thompson (1892–1894) are the only serving Prime Ministers to die in office.

Name Term of office Date of birth
Joe Clark 1979–1980 (1939-06-05) 5 June 1939 (age 76)
John Turner 1984 (1929-06-07) 7 June 1929 (age 86)
Brian Mulroney 1984–1993 (1939-03-20) 20 March 1939 (age 76)
Kim Campbell 1993 (1947-03-10) 10 March 1947 (age 68)
Jean Chrétien 1993–2003 (1934-01-11) 11 January 1934 (age 82)
Paul Martin 2003–2006 (1938-08-28) 28 August 1938 (age 77)

See also

References

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  2. 2.0 2.1 "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation: Life of a Ministry". Government of Canada Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  4. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  5. "PARLINFO – Parliamentarian File – Federal Experience – MACKENZIE, The Hon. Alexander, P.C.". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  6. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  7. "PARLINFO – Parliamentarian File – Federal Experience – MACDONALD, The Right Hon. Sir John Alexander, P.C., G.C.B., Q.C., D.C.L., LL.D.". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
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  9. "PARLINFO – Parliamentarian File – Federal Experience – ABBOTT, The Hon. Sir John Joseph Caldwell, P.C., Q.C., K.C.M.G., B.C.L., D.C.L.". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  10. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  11. "PARLINFO – Parliamentarian File – Federal Experience – THOMPSON, The Right Hon. Sir John Sparrow David, P.C., K.C.M.G., Q.C.". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  12. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  13. "PARLINFO – Parliamentarian File – Federal Experience – BOWELL, The Hon. Sir Mackenzie, P.C., K.C.M.G.". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  14. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  15. "PARLINFO – Parliamentarian File – Federal Experience – TUPPER, The Right Hon. Sir Charles, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C.M.G., C.B., D.C.L., LL.D., M.D.". Parliament of Canada. 30 October 1915. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  16. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  17. "PARLINFO – Parliamentarian File – Federal Experience – LAURIER, The Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C., B.C.L., D.C.L., LL.D., Litt.D.". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  18. 19.0 19.1 "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  19. "PARLINFO – Parliamentarian File – Federal Experience – BORDEN, The Right Hon. Sir Robert Laird, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C., D.C.L., LL.D.". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  20. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  21. 22.0 22.1 "PARLINFO – Parliamentarian File – Federal Experience – MEIGHEN, The Right Hon. Arthur, P.C., Q.C., B.A., LL.D.". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  22. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  23. 24.0 24.1 24.2 "PARLINFO – Parliamentarian File – Federal Experience – KING, The Right Hon. William Lyon Mackenzie, P.C., O.M., C.M.G., B.A., M.A., A.M., LL.B., Ph.D.". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  24. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  25. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  26. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  27. "PARLINFO – Parliamentarian File – Federal Experience – BENNETT, The Right Hon. Richard Bedford, P.C., K.C., K.G.St.J., LL.B.". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  28. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  29. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  30. "PARLINFO – Parliamentarian File – Federal Experience – ST-LAURENT, The Right Hon. Louis Stephen, P.C., C.C., Q.C., B.A., LL.L., LL.D., D.C.L.". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  31. "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Privy Council Office. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
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Further reading

External links