prime ministers of Canada

There are about ten million sites on the net that could give you a list of all the prime ministers of Canada. However, the unique nature of the office merits a more comprehensive chart.

In this chart, I use the term "interim" to designate prime ministers who were never elected to office by the Canadian people, and simply held their position by virtue of party appointment. Once they win an election, they cease to be interim, although sometimes that never happened.

Blue signifies the "Conservative Party" (in whatever form the party was taking at the time) and red signifies the Liberal Party, obviously. The dark colors are used to signify prime ministers who were elected to their office.

#
Name: Term: Time in office: Elections won: Left office:
1
John A. MacDonald July 1, 1867 - November 7, 1873 6 years, 4 months, 6 d.
2
Resigned
2
Alexander MacKenzie (interim) November 7, 1873 - January 22, 1874 2 months , 15 d.
1
Elected
Alexander MacKenzie January 22, 1874 - October 17, 1878 4 years, 8 months, 26 d.
0
Lost election
3
John A. MacDonald (2nd time) October 17, 1878 - June 6, 1891 12 years, 7 months, 19 d.
4
Died

Nobody June 6, 1891 - June 16, 1891 10 d.

 
4
John Abbott (interim) June 16, 1891 - December 5, 1892 1 year, 5 months, 20 d.
0
Resigned
5
John Thompson (interim) December 5, 1892 - December 12, 1894 2 years, 7 d.
0
Died

Nobody December 12, 1894 - December 21, 1894 9 d.

 
6
Mackenzie Bowell (interim) December 21, 1894 - May 1, 1896 1 year, 4 months, 11 d.
0
Resigned
7
Charles Tupper (interim) May 1, 1896 - July 11, 1896 2 months, 10 d.
0
Lost election
8
Wilfrid Laurier July 11, 1896 - October 10, 1911 15 years, 2 months, 30 d.
4
Lost election
9
Robert Borden Oct 10, 1911 - July 10, 1920 8 years, 9 months
2
Resigned
10
Arthur Meighen (interim) July 10, 1920 - December 29, 1921* 1 year, 5 months
0
Lost election
11
Mackenzie King December 29, 1921 - June 28,1926 4 years, 5 months, 29 d.
2
Fired by GG
12
Arthur Meighen (2nd time) (interim) June 28, 1926 - September 25, 1926 2 months, 27 d.
0
Lost election
13
Mackenzie King (2nd time) September 25, 1926 - August 7, 1930 3 years, 10 months, 13 days
1
Lost election
14
Richard Bennett August 7, 1930 - October 23, 1935 5 years, 2 months, 16 d.
1
Lost election
15
Mackenzie King (3rd time) October 23, 1935 - November 15, 1948 13 years, 22 d.
3
Resigned
16
Louis St. Laurent (interim) November 15, 1948 - June 27, 1949 7 months, 12 d.
1
Elected
Louis St. Laurent June 27, 1949 - June 21, 1957 7 years, 11 months, 24 d.
2
Lost election
17
John Diefenbaker June 21, 1957 - April 22, 1963 5 years, 10 months, 1 d.
3
Lost election
18
Lester Pearson April 22, 1963 - April 20, 1968 4 years, 11 months, 28 d.
1
Resigned
19
Pierre Trudeau (interim) April 20, 1968 - June 25, 1968 2 months, 5 d.
1
Elected
Pierre Trudeau June 25, 1968 - June 4, 1979 10 years, 11 months, 19 d.
2
Lost election
20
Joe Clark June 4, 1979 - March 3, 1980 8 months, 30 days
1
Lost election
21
Pierre Trudeau (2nd time) March 3, 1980 - June 30, 1984 4 years, 3 months, 27 d.
1
Resigned
22
John Turner (interim) June 30, 1984 - September 17, 1984 2 months, 17 d.
0
Lost election
23
Brian Mulroney September 17, 1984 - June 25, 1993 8 years, 9 months, 8 d.
2
Resigned
24
Kim Campbell (interim) June 25, 1993 - November 4, 1993 4 months, 9 d.
0
Lost election
25
Jean Chretien November 4, 1993 - December 12, 2003 10 years, 1 month, 8 d.
3
Resigned
26
Paul Martin (interim) December 12, 2003 - June 28, 2004 6 months, 16 d.
1
Elected
Paul Martin June 28, 2004 - February 6, 2006 1 year, 7 months, 6 d.
0
Lost election
27
Stephen Harper February 6, 2006 - November 4, 2015
9 years, 8 months, 29 d.
3
 
28
Justin Trudeau November 4, 2015 -

1

Minority Governments

There have been a few cases in which a prime minister has not founnd himself in control of the majority of MPs in the House of Commons. Such a situation is known as a "minority government" and rarely lasts long before the opposition MPs decide to turn against the PM and force a no-confidence vote. Here is a timeline of Canada's minority governments:

#
Name: Term: Minority lasted: ended: Result
2
Alexander MacKenzie (interim) November 7, 1873 - January 22, 1874 2 months , 15 d.
Election Call
Elected to Majority
11
Mackenzie King October 29, 1925- June 28,1926 7 months, 29 d. Fired by GG Meighen appointed PM
12
Arthur Meighen (interim) June 28, 1926 - September 25, 1926 2 months, 27 d.
No Confidence Vote
Lost election
17
John Diefenbaker (1st minority) June 21, 1957 - March 31, 1958 9 months, 10 d.
No Confidence Vote
Elected to Majority
John Diefenbaker (2nd minority) June 18, 1962 - February 5, 1963 7 months, 15 d.
No Confidence Vote
Lost election
18
Lester Pearson (1st minority) April 22, 1963 - November 8, 1965 2 years, 6 months, 16 d. Election Call Elected to 2nd Minority
Lester Pearson (2nd minority) November 8, 1965 - April 20, 1968 2 years, 5 months, 12 d. Resigned Trudeau becomes PM
19
Pierre Trudeau (interim) April 20, 1968 - June 25, 1968 2 months, 5 d. Election Call Elected to Majority
Pierre Trudeau (2nd minority) October 30, 1972 - May 8, 1974 1 year, 6 months, 9 d.
No Confidence Vote
Elected to Majority
20
Joe Clark June 4, 1979 - December 13, 1979 6 months, 9 d.
No Confidence Vote
Lost election
26
Paul Martin June 28, 2004 - November 28, 2005 1 year, 5 months
No Confidence Vote
Lost election
27
Stephen Harper (1st minority) February 6, 2006 - October 14, 2008 2 years, 8 months, 8 d. Election Call Elected to 2nd Minority
Stephen Harper (2nd minority) October 14, 2008 - March 25, 2011 2 years, 5 months, 11 d.
No Confidence Vote
 

John A. resigned in 1873, and the governor general appointed opposition leader Alexander Mackenzie as prime minister to replace him. Mackenzie called elections shortly thereafter, which he won.

In the aftermath of the 1925 election Mackenzie King was allowed to remain prime minister despite the fact that the Conservative Party had won more seats. In 1926 Mackenzie King tried to call an election but the governor general fired him and appointed Conservative leader Arthur Meighen prime minister instead.

In determining the start and end of a minority governement I use the dates of election calls / no confidence votes as the end and the days of elections themselves as the start (if the PM is already the incumbent.)

NOTES:

The Canadian media generally refers to Justin Trudeau as the "23rd Prime Minister of Canada." This assumes that prime ministers don't count "twice" (or more) if they serve two (or more) non-consecutive terms.

Technically, there are no such things as "terms" for Canada's prime ministers. Brian Mulroney was not a "two-term" prime minister, he was just a prime minister who was elected twice. He only took the oath of office once. For the few "interim" prime ministers who were elected in their own right, I have used the date they won election as the date they ceased to be "interim." There may be a more formal date to use, such as the day the governor general officially asks them to "form government" but for the purposes of this chart, the date of an election seems sufficient.

Evem more data:

Check out my new chart, Prime Ministers of Canada - full stats.


Return to jjmccullough.com