Prime Ministers

The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary Minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus Head of Government of Canada. 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 Canadian 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 time of Confederation in 1867. The British prime ministership, although fully developed by 1867, was not formally integrated into the British constitution until 1905—hence, its absence from Constitution Act, 1867. The Prime Minister is almost invariably the leader of the political party that holds the largest number of seats in the House of Commons.
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Sir John A. MacDonald

1st (1867-1873,1878-1891)

Sir John Alexander Macdonald, GCB, KCMG, PC, PC (Can), (11 January 1815 – 6 June 1891) was the first Prime Minister of Canada and the dominant figure of Canadian Confederation. Macdonald's tenure in office spanned 18 years, making him the second longest serving Prime Minister of Canada. He is the only Canadian Prime Minister to win six majority governments. He was the major proponent of a national railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway, completed in 1885, linking Canada from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. He won praise for having helped forge a nation of sprawling geographic size, with two diverse European colonial origins, numerous Aboriginal nations, and a multiplicity of cultural backgrounds and political views.
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Alexander MacKenzie

2nd (1873-1878)

Alexander Mackenzie, PC (January 28, 1822 – April 17, 1892), a building contractor and newspaper editor, was the second Prime Minister of Canada from November 7, 1873 to October 9, 1878.
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Sir John Abbott

3rd (1891-1892)

Sir John Joseph Caldwell Abbott, PC, KCMG, QC (March 12, 1821 – October 30, 1893) was the third Prime Minister of Canada. He served in the office for seventeen months, from June 16, 1891 to November 24, 1892.
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Sir John Thompson

4th (1892-1894)

Sir John Sparrow David Thompson, KCMG, PC, QC (November 10, 1845 – December 12, 1894) was a Canadian lawyer, judge, politician, and university professor, who served as the fourth Prime Minister of Canada from December 5, 1892 to December 12, 1894, as well as the fifth Premier of Nova Scotia in 1882. He was the first Roman Catholic to hold the office of prime minister.
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Sir Mackenzie Bowell

5th (1894-1896)

Sir Mackenzie Bowell, PC, KCMG (December 27, 1823 – December 10, 1917) was a Canadian politician who served as the fifth Prime Minister of Canada from December 21, 1894 to April 27, 1896.
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Sir Charles Tupper

6th (1896-1896)

Sir Charles Tupper, 1st Baronet, GCMG, CB, PC (July 2, 1821 – October 30, 1915) was a Canadian father of Confederation: as the Premier of Nova Scotia from 1864 to 1867, he led Nova Scotia into Confederation. He later went on to serve as the sixth Prime Minister of Canada, sworn in to office on May 1, 1896, seven days after parliament had been dissolved. He would go on to lose the June 23 election, resigning on July 8, 1896. His 69-day term as prime minister is currently the shortest in Canadian history. At age 74, in May 1896, he was also the oldest person to serve as Prime Minister of Canada.
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Sir Wilfred Laurier

7th (1896-1911)

Sir Wilfrid Laurier, GCMG, PC, KC, baptized Henri-Charles-Wilfrid Laurier (20 November 1841 – 17 February 1919) was the seventh Prime Minister of Canada from 11 July 1896 to 5 October 1911.

As Canada's first francophone prime minister, Laurier is often considered one of the country's greatest statesmen. He is well known for his policies of conciliation, expanding Confederation, and compromise between French and English Canada. His vision for Canada was a land of individual liberty and decentralized federalism. He also argued for an English-French partnership in Canada. "I have had before me as a pillar of fire," he said, "a policy of true Canadianism, of moderation, of reconciliation." And he passionately defended individual liberty, "Canada is free and freedom is its nationality," and "Nothing will prevent me from continuing my task of preserving at all cost our civil liberty." Laurier was also well regarded for his efforts to establish Canada as an autonomous country within the British Empire, though he supported the continuation of the British Empire if it was based on "absolute liberty political and commercial".


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Sir Robert Borden

8th (1911-1920)

Sir Robert Laird Borden, PC, GCMG, KC (June 26, 1854 – June 10, 1937) was a Canadian lawyer and politician. He served as the eighth Prime Minister of Canada from October 10, 1911 to July 10, 1920, and was the third Nova Scotian to hold this office. After retiring from public life, he served as the chancellor of Queen's University.
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Arthur Meighen

9th (1920-1921,1926)

Arthur Meighen, PC, QC (June 16, 1874 – August 5, 1960) was the ninth Prime Minister of Canada from July 10, 1920 to December 29, 1921 and June 29 to September 25, 1926. He was the first Prime Minister born after Confederation, and the only one to represent a riding in Manitoba. Both of his terms of office were brief.
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William Lyon Mackenzie King

10th (1921-1926,1926-1930,1935-1948)

William Lyon Mackenzie King, PC, OM, CMG (December 17, 1874 – July 22, 1950) was the dominant Canadian political leader from the 1920s to the 1940s. He served as the tenth Prime Minister of Canada from December 29, 1921 to June 28, 1926; September 25, 1926 to August 6, 1930; and October 23, 1935 to November 15, 1948. A Liberal with 21 years in office, he was the longest-serving Prime Minister in British Commonwealth history. He is commonly known either by his full name or as Mackenzie King. Trained in law and social work he was keenly interested in the human condition; as a boy his motto was "Help those that cannot help themselves".
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R B Bennet

11th (1930-1935)

Richard Bedford Bennett, 1st Viscount Bennett, PC, KC (July 3, 1870 – June 26, 1947) was a Canadian lawyer, businessman, politician, and philanthropist. He served as the 11th Prime Minister of Canada from August 7, 1930, to October 23, 1935, during the worst of the Great Depression years. Following his defeat as prime minister, Bennett moved to England, and was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Bennett.
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Louis St Laurent

12th (1948-1957)

Louis Stephen St. Laurent, PC, CC, QC (Saint-Laurent or St-Laurent in French, baptized Louis-Étienne St-Laurent) , (February 1, 1882 – July 25, 1973) was the 12th Prime Minister of Canada from November 15, 1948, to June 21, 1957.
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John Diefenbaker

13th (1957-1963)

John George Diefenbaker, PC, CH, QC (September 18, 1895 – August 16, 1979) led Canada as its 13th Prime Minister, serving from June 21, 1957 to April 22, 1963. He was the only Progressive Conservative (PC, or Tory) party leader between 1930 and 1979 to lead it to an election victory, doing so three times, although only once with a majority of the seats in the Canadian House of Commons.
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Lester B. Pearson

14th (1963-1968)

Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson, PC, OM, CC, OBE (23 April 1897 – 27 December 1972) was a Canadian professor, historian, civil servant, statesman, diplomat, and politician, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis. He was the 14th Prime Minister of Canada from 22 April 1963, until 20 April 1968, as the head of two back-to-back minority governments following elections in 1963 and 1965.

During his time as Prime Minister, Pearson's minority government introduced universal health care, student loans, the Canada Pension Plan, the Order of Canada, and the current Canadian flag. During his tenure, Prime Minister Pearson also convened the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. With these accomplishments, together with his groundbreaking work at the United Nations and in international diplomacy, Pearson is generally considered among the most influential Canadians of the 20th century.


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Pierre Trudeau

15th (1968-1979,1980-1984)

Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, PC, CC, CH, QC, MSRC (18 October 1919 – 28 September 2000), usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from 20 April 1968 to 4 June 1979, and again from 3 March 1980 to 30 June 1984.

Pierre Trudeau was a charismatic figure who, from the late 1960s until the mid-1980s, dominated the Canadian political scene and aroused passionate reactions. "Reason before passion" was his personal motto. Admirers praise the force of Trudeau's intellect and they salute his political acumen in preserving national unity and establishing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms within Canada's constitution. His detractors accuse him of arrogance, economic mismanagement, and unduly favouring the authority of the federal government in relation to the provinces, but despite the controversy, both Trudeau's defenders and detractors agree he left a mark on the Canadian politics of his time.

Trudeau led Canada through a difficult period in Canadian history, and was often the centre of attention and controversy. Known for his flamboyance, he dated celebrities, was accused of using an obscenity during debate in the House of Commons, and once did a pirouette behind the back of Queen Elizabeth II.


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Joe Clark

16th (1979-1980)

Charles Joseph "Joe" Clark, PC, CC, AOE (born June 5, 1939) is a Canadian journalist, politician, statesman, businessman, and university professor. He served as the 16th Prime Minister of Canada, from June 4, 1979, to March 3, 1980.

Despite his relative inexperience, Clark rose quickly in federal politics, entering the House of Commons in the 1972 election and winning the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party in 1976. He came to power in the 1979 election, defeating the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau and ending sixteen continuous years of Liberal rule. Taking office the day before his 40th birthday, Clark was the youngest man to become Prime Minister, and the only person to ever defeat Pierre Trudeau in a federal election. His tenure was brief as he only won a minority government and it was defeated on a motion of non-confidence. Clark subsequently lost the 1980 election and the leadership of the party in 1983.


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John Turner

17th (1984)

John Napier Wyndham Turner, PC, CC, QC (born June 7, 1929) is a retired Canadian lawyer and politician, who served as the 17th Prime Minister of Canada from June 30 to September 17, 1984.

In his political career, Turner held several prominent Cabinet posts, including minister of justice and minister of finance, under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau from 1968 to 1975. Amid a world recession and the prospect of having to implement the unpopular wage and price controls, Turner surprisingly resigned his position in 1975. After a hiatus from politics from 1975 to 1984, Turner returned and successfully contested the Liberal leadership. Turner held the office of Prime Minister for 79 days (the second shortest tenure in Canadian history after Charles Tupper), as he dissolved Parliament immediately after being sworn in as Prime Minister, and went on to lose the 1984 election in a landslide. Turner stayed on as Liberal leader and headed the Official Opposition for the next six years, leading his party to a modest recovery in the 1988 campaign, resigning from politics in 1990.


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Brian Mulroney

18th (1984-1993)

Martin Brian Mulroney, PC, CC, GOQ (born March 20, 1939) was the 18th Prime Minister of Canada from September 17, 1984, to June 25, 1993 and was leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1983 to 1993. His tenure as Prime Minister was marked by the introduction of highly contentious economic reforms, such as the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and the Goods and Services Tax, and the failure of equally contentious constitutional reforms through the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords. Prior to his political career, he was a prominent lawyer and businessman in Montreal.
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Kim Campbell

19th (1993)

Avril Phaedra Douglas "Kim" Campbell, PC, CC, QC (born March 10, 1947) is a Canadian politician who was the 19th Prime Minister of Canada, serving from June 25, 1993, to November 4, 1993 (132 days). Campbell was the first and to date the only female Prime Minister of Canada, the first baby boomer to hold Canada's highest office and the first to have been born in British Columbia.
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Jean Chrétien

20th (1993-2003 )

Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien (born January 11, 1934), known commonly as Jean Chrétien is a retired Canadian politician who was the 20th Prime Minister of Canada. He served in the position for over ten years, from November 4, 1993 to December 12, 2003.
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Paul Martin

21st (2003-2006 )

Paul Edgar Philippe Martin, PC (born August 28, 1938), also known as Paul Martin, Jr., is a Canadian politician who was the 21st Prime Minister of Canada, as well as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
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Stephen Harper

22nd (2006-2015 )

Stephen Joseph Harper PC MP (born April 30, 1959) is a Canadian politician and member of Parliament who served as the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada from February 6, 2006, to November 4, 2015. He was the first prime minister to come from the Conservative Party of Canada, which was formed by a merger of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance.
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Justin Trudeau

23rd (2015- )

Justin Pierre James Trudeau PC MP (born December 25, 1971) is a Canadian politician who is the 23rd and current Prime Minister of Canada, as well as the Leader of the Liberal Party.[1][2] The second-youngest Canadian Prime Minister after Joe Clark, he is also, as the eldest son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the first child of a previous Prime Minister to hold the post.