Prime Minister of Canada Incumbent: Stephen Harper PC, MP since 6 February 2006 Style: Appointed by: First : Formation: Term: Residence

: Website: The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean as Governor General of Canada Sir John A. Macdonald 1 July 1867 At Her Majesty's pleasure 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa Harrington Lake, Gatineau Park

The current, and 22nd, Prime Minister of Canada is the Conservative Party's Stephen Harper, who was appointed as such on 6 February 2006 by Governor General Michaëlle Jean, following the general election that took place that year. As with all other Canadian prime ministers, Harper is styled as The Right Honourable (French: Le Très Honorable), a privilege maintained for life.  Origin of the office The position of prime minister is outlined in no Canadian constitutional document and is mentioned only in passing in [3][4] Schedule B of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the Letters Patent [5] issued in 1947 by King George VI. The office and its functions are instead governed by constitutional conventions and modelled on the same office in the United Kingdom. Qualifications and selection The prime minister, along with the other ministers in cabinet, is [6] appointed by the governor general on behalf of the Queen. However, by the conventions of responsible government, designed to maintain administrative stability, the viceroy will call to form a government the individual most likely to receive the support, or confidence, of a majority of the directly-elected House of [7] Commons; as a practical matter, this is often the leader of a party whose members form a majority, or a very large plurality, of [8] Members of Parliament (MPs). Legally, this may be any citizen of Canada of voting age (18 years and over) — the requirements to gain election to the House of Commons. It is not actually clear as to whether there are age or citizenship restrictions on the position of prime minister itself, as it is not necessary for the incumbent to be a sitting MP. However, this is more of an academic question since the constitutional conventions involved in selecting the prime minister make the appointment of anyone ineligible for election to the house an obvious infeasibility.

The Prime Minister of Canada (French: Premier ministre du Canada) is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers [1] vested in them by the constitution. Not outlined in any constitutional document, the office exists only as per longestablished convention originating in Canada's former colonial power, the United Kingdom, which stipulate that the monarch's representative, the governor general, must select as prime minister the person most likely to command the confidence of the elected House of Commons; this individual is typically the leader of the political party that holds the largest number of seats in that [n 1][2] chamber.

however. or dies. Macdonald.In rare circumstances individuals who are not members of the Commons can be appointed prime minister. a convention that has since evolved toward the appointment of an interim leader in such a scenario. Similarly. It should be noted that the Senate was considered a much more powerful body in the first half century after confederation. both. the typical process that follows is that a junior member in the governing political party will immediately resign to allow the prime [9] minister to run in the resulting by-election. on the advice of the prime minister. more seats than any other party but less than a majority — the prime minister can attempt to maintain the confidence of the House by forming a coalition with other minority . and. by the Canada Elections Act to four years. Prime ministers who are not Members of Parliament upon their appointment (or who lose their seats while in office) have since been expected to seek election to the Commons as soon as possible. and hence no sitting senator had been known to have serious aspirations of becoming prime minister whilst remaining in the Senate. A safe seat is usually chosen. Should the prime minister's party win such an election. in their roles as Government Leader in the Senate. Mandate The Canadian prime minister serves At Her Majesty's pleasure. once appointed and sworn in by the governor general. Turner won a riding in the next election but the Liberal Party was swept from power. it was found that 51% of the sample group thought the prime minister was directly elected by [10] Canadians. the prime minister must run in the resulting general election if he or she wishes to maintain a seat in the House of Commons. Two former prime ministers — Sir John Joseph Caldwell Abbott and Sir Mackenzie [9] Bowell — served in the 1890s while members of the Senate.e. the first Prime Minister of Canada (1867– 1873. after 2007. is dismissed. it is unnecessary to re-appoint the prime minister or [11] again swear him or her into office. Turner was the last sitting prime minister to not hold a Commons seat. if the governing party selects a new leader shortly before an election is due. The lifespan of parliament is limited by the constitution to five years. the prime minister may resign or be dismissed by the governor general. an opposition party wins a majority of seats in the House of Commons. Following parliamentary dissolution. meaning the post does not have a fixed term. For example William Lyon Mackenzie King. the New Democrats and other smaller parties typically do not follow the same convention. the King-Byng Affair was the only time since Confederation that the viceroy deemed it necessary to refuse his prime minister's request for a general vote. briefly "governed from the hallway" before winning a by-election a few weeks later. he or she will normally await the upcoming election before running for a seat in parliament. 1878–1891) Should a sitting prime minister today lose his seat in the legislature (or should a new prime minister be appointed without holding a seat). though the governor general may still. However.. after losing his seat in the same general election that his party won. By the 1920s however the Senate had lost much of its original influence. dissolve parliament and issue the writs of election prior to the expiry of four years. Should the prime minister's party achieve a minority while an opposition party wins a plurality — i. Macdonald in 1891 and John Sparrow David Thompson in 1894). John Turner replaced Pierre Trudeau as leader of the Liberal Party in 1984 and subsequently was appointed prime minister even though he did not hold a seat in the lower chamber of parliament. the prime minister remains in [11] office until he or she resigns. If. In a poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid following the first prorogation of the 40th parliament on 4 December 2008. succeeded prime ministers who died in office (John A. Sir John A. and that new leader is not a member of the legislature. while the Liberal and now defunct Progressive Conservative parties traditionally observed a convention of not running a candidate against another party's new leader in the by-election.

he or she is [n 2] sometimes erroneously referred to as Canada's head of state. which is itself filled by political and administrative staff selected at the prime minister's discretion. meaning the Royal Prerogative belongs to the Crown and not to any of its [25][26][27] ministers. a higher turnover rate of MPs after each election. as happened with Jean Chrétien. the jurisdiction of the federal government is limited to areas prescribed by the constitution. and an Americanised system for selecting political party leaders. There do exist checks on the prime minister's power: parliament may revoke its confidence in an incumbent prime minister. However. such as when Brian Mulroney's bill creating the Goods and Services Tax (GST) came before the upper chamber. the Cabinet. in fact. the head [2] of government. As such. Further. instead. as per the doctrines of constitutional monarchy. in practice. heads of crown corporations. as executive power is constitutionally vested in the monarch. Role and authority Further information: Queen's Privy Council for Canada Canada's Prime Ministers from 1867 to 1963 Because the prime minister is. and even mere threats of such action can persuade and/or compel a prime minister to resign his post. leaving the [13] latter to act in predominantly ceremonial fashions. the last time being in 1925. responsible for giving advice to the monarch or the viceroy on how to exercise the Royal Prerogative and executive powers given to them by the written and unwritten tenets of the constitution. William Lyon Mackenzie King. the provincial lieutenant governors. justices of the Supreme Court. represented [12] by the governor general. Savoie quoted an anonymous minister from the Liberal Party as saying Cabinet had become "a kind [20][21] of focus group for the Prime Minister. and. the 10th Prime Minister of Canada (1921–1926. to the point that its incumbents publicly outshine the actual head of [17][18] state. ambassadors to foreign countries. consolidating power in the PMO. analysts — such as Jeffrey Simpson. this option has almost never been entertained in Canada. that post is held by the Canadian monarch. cabinet or caucus revolts can quickly bring down a sitting premier. At the end of the 20th century and into the 21st. including the governor general. Today. 1935–1948) Brian Mulroney. and John Gomery — argued that both parliament and the Cabinet had [15] become eclipsed by prime ministerial power. when. the prime minister plays a prominent role in the legislative process — with the majority of bills put before parliament originating in the Cabinet — and the leadership of the Canadian Forces.100 other positions." while Simpson called [n 3][23] cabinet a "mini-sounding board".parties. controls the appointments of many key figures in Canada's system of governance. particularly. the prime minister. senators. the sovereign's supremacy over the prime minister . the advice given by the prime minister is ordinarily binding. the function of the prime minister has evolved with increasing power. supported by the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO). the Senate may delay or impede legislation put forward by the Cabinet. throughout his tenure as prime [14] minister between 1968 and 1984. former governor general Adrienne Clarkson alluded to what she saw as "an unspoken rivalry" that had developed between [19] the prime minister and the Crown. given Canada's federal nature. Canada has fewer MPs. Donald Savoie. It has been theorised that such is the case in Canada as its parliament is less influential on the executive than in other countries with Westminster parliamentary systems. Further. The prime minister is. meaning the prime minister effectively carries out those duties ascribed to the sovereign and/or governor general. leaving them accountable to the party membership rather than caucus. and approximately 3. 1926–1930. the most politically powerful member of the Canadian government. Indeed. the 18th Prime Minister of Canada (1984–1993) Pierre Trudeau is credited with. as is the case in the United [24] Kingdom. the position [14][16] has been described as undergoing a "presidentialisation".

it was against non-binding policy for the sovereign to grant such honorific titles to Canadians. Prime Minister of Canada. All of the aforementioned is supplied by the Queen-in-Council through budgets approved by parliament.574. For transportation. Mister President). Richard Bennett was in 1941. of the first eight premiers of Canada. while in the House of Commons during Question Period. however." Privileges 24 Sussex Drive. Style of address Kim Campbell. Still. where Queen Victoria permitted his lying-in-state before his body was [35] returned to Canada for a state funeral in Halifax. and to warn'[. he or she is accorded a state funeral. only Alexander Mackenzie refused the honour of a knighthood from Queen Victoria. Bennett also being the only former Prime Minister of Canada to die and be buried outside the country and Bowell the only whose funeral was not attended by politicians.] Without really revealing any secrets. Accordingly. should they remain sitting MPs. when the Prime Minister bows [28][29] before the Queen. However. they may be referred as The Right Honourable Member . In earlier years. John Thompson also died outside Canada. Adrienne Clarkson stated: "My constitutional role has lain in what are called 'reserve powers': making sure that there is a prime minister and a government in place. Should a sitting or former prime minister die. Only Mackenzie Bowell and the Viscount Bennett were given private funerals. I can tell you that I have [31] done all three. the remainder being the normal salary of a Member of Parliament. Former prime ministers retain the prefix The Right Honourable for the remainder of their lives. the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada Two official residences are provided to the prime minister — 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa and Harrington Lake. The written form of address for the prime minister should use his or her full parliamentary title: The Right Honourable [name]. six years after he stepped down as prime minister. he bows before us [the Canadian people]. who was premier at the time the Nickle Resolution was debated in the House of Commons. elevated to the peerage by King George VI as the Viscount Bennett of Mickleham in the County of [36] Surrey and of Calgary and Hopewell. wherein their casket lies in state in the Centre Block of [34] Parliament Hill. Member for [prime minister's riding] or simply The Right Honourable Prime [37] Minister. a country retreat in Gatineau Park — as well an office in the Langevin Block. Following the 1919 Nickle Resolution. the 19th Prime Minister of Canada and only female and British Columbia-born individual to hold the office Canada continues the Westminster tradition of using the title Prime Minister when one is speaking to the federal head of government directly. the prime minister is granted an armoured car and shared use of two official aircraft — a CC-150 Polaris for international flights and a Challenger 601 for domestic trips. across from [32] Parliament Hill. [post-nominal letters]. Only about half of this income is specific to the role of prime minister. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police also furnish constant personal security for the prime minister and his or her family. several carried the prefix Sir before their the constitutional order is thus seen as a "rebuff to the pretensions of the elected: As it has been said. other members of parliament may address the prime minister as The Right Honourable. to advise. at Windsor Castle. and exercising the right 'to encourage. crisis situations. it was traditional for the monarch to bestow a knighthood on newly appointed Canadian prime ministers. as is the prime minister's annual [33] salary of CAD$317. the last prime minister to be knighted was Sir Robert Borden." Either the sovereign or his or her viceroy may therefore oppose the [n 4][30] prime minister's will in extreme. this is in contrast to the United States protocol of addressing the federal head of government as mister (as in.. Near the end of her time as governor general..

where the premiers are addressed in French as Premier ministre du [province]. Joe Clark and Kim Campbell. Bennett moved to the United Kingdom [47] after being elevated to the House of Lords. B. who [54] acted as Chancellor of Carleton University. Alexander Mackenzie and John Diefenbaker. the modern practice is such that the federal head of government is known almost exclusively as the prime minister. Meighen was also appointed to the Senate following his second period as prime minister. Laurent. both prior [49] to sitting as regular Members of Parliament until their deaths. but resigned his seat to seek re-election and moved to private enterprise after failing to [53] win a riding. [50] [51] Wilfrid Laurier dying while still in the post. Lester B. as well as working in the financial sector. Arthur Meighen. . all before being re-appointed as premier (Mackenzie King twice). and John Turner.for [member's riding] or by their portfolio title (if appointed to one). former prime ministers of Canada have engaged in various pursuits. and Charles Tupper. for example — or published their memoires — such as [49] Diefenbaker and Paul Martin. while Pierre [55] Trudeau and Jean Chrétien returned to legal practice. and a number led Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in the Canadian parliament: John A. and Pierre Trudeau. a custom that continued until the First World War. [48] Macdonald. each before they returned to private business. while the provincial heads of government are termed premiers (save for within Quebec and New Brunswick. who became university professors. Former prime ministers also commonly penned autobiographies — [51] Tupper. who served as Chancellor of Queen's and McGill Universities. Following Meighen into civilian life were: Robert Borden. Activities post-commission After exiting office. [52] Louis St. as in The Right Honourable Minister of Defence. Some remained in politics: Mackenzie Bowell was appointed to the Senate. While contemporary sources will still [44][45][46] speak of early prime ministers of Canada as premier. R. around the time of Robert [41][42][43] Borden's premiership. Pearson. it was common practice to [38][39][40] refer to the prime minister as Premier of Canada. William Lyon Mackenzie King. Clark also consultant and Campbell working in international diplomacy and as the director of private companies and chairperson of interest groups. literally translated as Prime Minister of [province]). In the decades following Confederation.

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