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August 11 2011 5 11 /08 /August /2011 14:39

There have been twenty three Canadian prime ministers from the establishment of the dominion of Canada to the present day. Some, however, have served two or three terms of office. They have been split between the various parties which include Liberal and Conservative in their names, reflecting the political influences from Britain at the time of the country's establishment. Read this article to learn about Canadian prime ministers.

The 1867 to 1930

The establishment of Canada

The office of the prime minister was established following the British model in1867, when Canada was established. The list of prime ministers then began with Sir John MacDonald (1867-73; 1878- 91). Alexander MacKenzie held office from 1873-78. Following him there was a succession of short terms of office, as follows: John Abbot,1891-92, John Thompson, 1892-94, MacKenzie Bowell, 1894-96,Charles Tupper 1896, until Wilfred Laurier, whose term of office concluded in 1911.

Political parties

Up to Thompson most were Liberal-conservatives, though Alexander MacKenzie was a Liberal. Bowell and Tupper were both Conservatives, but Liberal rule returned with Laurier. Sir Robert Borden had two terms in succession under different party titles. From 1911-1917 he was in office as a Conservative, but in 1917 he changed the constituency that he represented and his party title, ruling from 1917 as Unionist.

Short terms of office

Then, we have the same two people in office twice. Arthur Meighen held office from 1920-21 as a National Liberal and Conservative, but William Mackenzie King took the post as a Liberal and held it until 1926, when Meighen recovered it, only for a few months, when he was a Conservative, but in the same year Mackenzie King recovered the position and held it until 1930.

1930 onwards

The Conservative Richard Bennet held the post until 1935, when Mackenzie King recovered it for the Liberals until 1948, seeing Canada through World War 2, when he retired and handed over to the Liberal Louis St Laurent, who held it until 1957.

Since then four prime ministers have held long terms. John Diefenbaker held office for the Progressive-conservatives until 1963, when two Liberals, Lester Pearson, left office 1968, and Pierre Trudeau, 1968-79, took over. Trudeau was briefly followed by the Conservative Joe Clark,1979-80, before Trudeau returned to rule until retirement in 1984, being followed for a few months by his liberal successor John Turner.

Since then, the Progressive-conservative party had two prime ministers in succession, Brian Mulroney from 1984-93 and Kim Campbell in 1993, before badly losing an election. The Liberals returned with John Chretien, who held office to 2003, and Paul Martin, who left office in 2006. The present prime minister Stephen Harper belongs to the Conservative party.


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