Canada has a government type that can be described as a federal parliamentary system under a constitutional monarchy. The prime minister of Canada acts as the head of government. According to the Parliament of Canada, some of the roles assigned to the the prime minister of Canada include:
- Overseeing meetings of the Cabinet (body of ministers that makes up the Canadian government).
- Meeting official government visitors from foreign countries.
- Answering any questions presented by the House of Commons.
The salary of the prime minister of Canada CAD $172,400. Canadian prime ministers do need to be Canadian citizens, although there is no law stipulating that they must be born in Canada. The official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada is in the nation's capital of Ottawa, Ontario at 24 Sussex Drive. The prime minister also has access to a seasonal home at Harrington Lake in Gatineau, Quebec and a temporary home at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa. There is no limit to how long a Canadian prime minister can serve.
Notable Prime Ministers
Below is an overview of some of the most notable prime ministers to have ever taken office in Canada.
Sir John A. Macdonald
Sir John A. Macdonald was the first prime minister of Canada. However, he is also remembered for his role in Canadian confederation, the process which created the Dominion of Canada (today just known as Canada). Macdonald was Scottish-born, and a lawyer by trade. He served two separate terms in office, first from 1867-1873 and second from 1878 to 1891. Some of the things attributed to Macdonald include loyalty to the British Empire, a separate identity from the United States, and the completion of the cross-Canada railway. The Macdonald-Cartier Freeway (Highway 401), one of the busiest highways in North America, is partially named for Sir John A. Macdonald.
Wilfrid Laurier was the first French Canadian prime minister of Canada. He served between the years of 1896 and 1911. Throughout his years in power, he was well-known for standing up for the presence of both French and English Canadian, and was known as a great compromiser. Laurer is often considered to be the best prime minister in Canada's history. Today, there are several places named for Wilfrid Laurier, including Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario and various places in Montreal, which counts at minimum a street, a metro station, and a park named after Laurier.
Pierre Trudeau is one of the most well-known prime ministers in Canadian history. He served throughout parts of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s and was very influential in shaping the Canadian identity in the late 20th century. There is even a word, "Trudeaumania", that is used to describe the media hype that surrounded Pierre Trudeau while he was in office. He is the father of incumbent prime minister Justin Trudeau.
Brian Mulroney represented the Conservative Party, and was prime minister of Canada in the 1980s and 1990s. He is well known for his economic policies.
Jean Chrétian served as prime minister of Canada for ten years, from 1993 to 2003. He is known for refusing to send Canadian troops to Iraq, and also for progessive social policies. Chrétien was a member of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Stephen Harper was the prime minister of Canada between the years 2006 and 2015. He came from the riding of Calgary Southwest. Stephen Harper was known for his economically and socially conservative policies.
Justin Trudeau is the current prime minister of Canada. He is the 23rd person to ever hold the title, and represents the Liberal Party of Canada. He has held the position since October of 2015.
Other Prime Ministers of Canada
Find a full list of all of the prime ministers who have ever served Canada in chronological order below.