Prime Minister of Canada
Overview
 
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown
Minister of the Crown
Minister of the Crown is the formal constitutional term used in the Commonwealth realms to describe a minister to the reigning sovereign. The term indicates that the minister serves at His/Her Majesty's pleasure, and advises the monarch, or viceroy, on how to exercise the Crown prerogatives...

, chairman of the Cabinet
Cabinet of Canada
The Cabinet of Canada is a body of ministers of the Crown that, along with the Canadian monarch, and within the tenets of the Westminster system, forms the government of Canada...

, and thus head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 for Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, charged with advising
Advice (constitutional)
Advice, in constitutional law, is formal, usually binding, instruction given by one constitutional officer of state to another. Especially in parliamentary systems of government, Heads of state often act on the basis of advice issued by prime ministers or other government ministers...

 the Canadian monarch or viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 on the exercise of the executive powers
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 vested in them by the constitution
Constitution of Canada
The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law in Canada; the country's constitution is an amalgamation of codified acts and uncodified traditions and conventions. It outlines Canada's system of government, as well as the civil rights of all Canadian citizens and those in Canada...

. Not outlined in any constitutional document, the office exists only as per long-established convention originating in Canada's former colonial power, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, which stipulate that the monarch's representative, the governor general
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

, must select as prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 the person most likely to command the confidence
Confidence and supply
In a parliamentary democracy confidence and supply are required for a government to hold power. A confidence and supply agreement is an agreement that a minor party or independent member of parliament will support the government in motions of confidence and appropriation votes by voting in favour...

 of the elected House of Commons
Canadian House of Commons
The House of Commons of Canada is a component of the Parliament of Canada, along with the Sovereign and the Senate. The House of Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 308 members known as Members of Parliament...

; this individual is typically the leader of the political party that holds the largest number of seats in that chamber.

The current, and 22nd, Prime Minister of Canada is the Conservative Party
Conservative Party of Canada
The Conservative Party of Canada , is a political party in Canada which was formed by the merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 2003. It is positioned on the right of the Canadian political spectrum...

's Stephen Harper
Stephen Harper
Stephen Joseph Harper is the 22nd and current Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Conservative Party. Harper became prime minister when his party formed a minority government after the 2006 federal election...

, who was appointed on 6 February 2006 by Governor General Michaëlle Jean
Michaëlle Jean
Michaëlle Jean is a Canadian journalist and stateswoman who served as Governor General of Canada, the 27th since Canadian Confederation, from 2005 to 2010....

, following the general election that took place that year
Canadian federal election, 2006
The 2006 Canadian federal election was held on January 23, 2006, to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons of the 39th Parliament of Canada. The Conservative Party of Canada won the greatest number of seats: 40.3% of seats, or 124 out of 308, up from 99 seats in 2004, and 36.3% of votes:...

.
Timeline

1891    John Abbott becomes Canada's third Prime Minister.

1926    Arthur Meighen returns to office as Prime Minister of Canada.

1948    Louis Stephen St. Laurent succeeds William Lyon Mackenzie King as Prime Minister of Canada. King had the longest combined time (3 terms, 22 years in total) as Premier in Commonwealth of Nations history.

2005    Prime Minister Paul Martin announces that Michaëlle Jean will be Canada's 27th Governor General.

2006    The Canadian House of Commons endorses Prime Minister Stephen Harper's motion to declare Quebec a nation within a unified Canada.

Encyclopedia
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown
Minister of the Crown
Minister of the Crown is the formal constitutional term used in the Commonwealth realms to describe a minister to the reigning sovereign. The term indicates that the minister serves at His/Her Majesty's pleasure, and advises the monarch, or viceroy, on how to exercise the Crown prerogatives...

, chairman of the Cabinet
Cabinet of Canada
The Cabinet of Canada is a body of ministers of the Crown that, along with the Canadian monarch, and within the tenets of the Westminster system, forms the government of Canada...

, and thus head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 for Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, charged with advising
Advice (constitutional)
Advice, in constitutional law, is formal, usually binding, instruction given by one constitutional officer of state to another. Especially in parliamentary systems of government, Heads of state often act on the basis of advice issued by prime ministers or other government ministers...

 the Canadian monarch or viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 on the exercise of the executive powers
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 vested in them by the constitution
Constitution of Canada
The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law in Canada; the country's constitution is an amalgamation of codified acts and uncodified traditions and conventions. It outlines Canada's system of government, as well as the civil rights of all Canadian citizens and those in Canada...

. Not outlined in any constitutional document, the office exists only as per long-established convention originating in Canada's former colonial power, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, which stipulate that the monarch's representative, the governor general
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

, must select as prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 the person most likely to command the confidence
Confidence and supply
In a parliamentary democracy confidence and supply are required for a government to hold power. A confidence and supply agreement is an agreement that a minor party or independent member of parliament will support the government in motions of confidence and appropriation votes by voting in favour...

 of the elected House of Commons
Canadian House of Commons
The House of Commons of Canada is a component of the Parliament of Canada, along with the Sovereign and the Senate. The House of Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 308 members known as Members of Parliament...

; this individual is typically the leader of the political party that holds the largest number of seats in that chamber.

The current, and 22nd, Prime Minister of Canada is the Conservative Party
Conservative Party of Canada
The Conservative Party of Canada , is a political party in Canada which was formed by the merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 2003. It is positioned on the right of the Canadian political spectrum...

's Stephen Harper
Stephen Harper
Stephen Joseph Harper is the 22nd and current Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Conservative Party. Harper became prime minister when his party formed a minority government after the 2006 federal election...

, who was appointed on 6 February 2006 by Governor General Michaëlle Jean
Michaëlle Jean
Michaëlle Jean is a Canadian journalist and stateswoman who served as Governor General of Canada, the 27th since Canadian Confederation, from 2005 to 2010....

, following the general election that took place that year
Canadian federal election, 2006
The 2006 Canadian federal election was held on January 23, 2006, to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons of the 39th Parliament of Canada. The Conservative Party of Canada won the greatest number of seats: 40.3% of seats, or 124 out of 308, up from 99 seats in 2004, and 36.3% of votes:...

. As with all other Canadian prime ministers, Harper is styled
Style (manner of address)
A style of office, or honorific, is a legal, official, or recognized title. A style, by tradition or law, precedes a reference to a person who holds a post or political office, and is sometimes used to refer to the office itself. An honorific can also be awarded to an individual in a personal...

 as The Right Honourable
The Right Honourable
The Right Honourable is an honorific prefix that is traditionally applied to certain people in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Anglophone Caribbean and other Commonwealth Realms, and occasionally elsewhere...

, a privilege maintained for life.

Origin of the office

The position of prime minister is not outlined in any Canadian constitutional document and is mentioned only in passing in Schedule B of the Constitution Act, 1982
Constitution Act, 1982
The Constitution Act, 1982 is a part of the Constitution of Canada. The Act was introduced as part of Canada's process of "patriating" the constitution, introducing several amendments to the British North America Act, 1867, and changing the latter's name in Canada to the Constitution Act, 1867...

, and the Letters Patent issued in 1947 by King George VI
George VI of the United Kingdom
George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death...

. The office and its functions are instead governed by constitutional conventions and modelled on the same office in the United Kingdom
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

.

Qualifications and selection

The prime minister, along with the other ministers in cabinet
Cabinet of Canada
The Cabinet of Canada is a body of ministers of the Crown that, along with the Canadian monarch, and within the tenets of the Westminster system, forms the government of Canada...

, is appointed by the governor general
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 on behalf of the Queen. However, by the conventions of responsible government
Responsible government
Responsible government is a conception of a system of government that embodies the principle of parliamentary accountability which is the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy...

, 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 Commons
Canadian House of Commons
The House of Commons of Canada is a component of the Parliament of Canada, along with the Sovereign and the Senate. The House of Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 308 members known as Members of Parliament...

; as a practical matter, this is often the leader of a party whose members form a majority, or a very large plurality, of Members of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MPs). Legally, this may be any citizen of Canada
Canadian nationality law
Canadian citizenship is typically obtained by birth in Canada, birth abroad when at least one parent is a Canadian citizen and was born or naturalized in Canada, or by adoption abroad by at least one Canadian citizen. It can also be granted to a permanent resident who lives in Canada for three out...

 of voting age
Voting age
A voting age is a minimum age established by law that a person must attain to be eligible to vote in a public election.The vast majority of countries in the world have established a voting age. Most governments consider that those of any age lower than the chosen threshold lack the necessary...

 (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.

In rare circumstances individuals who are not members of the Commons can be appointed prime minister. Two former prime ministers Sir John Joseph Caldwell Abbott and Sir Mackenzie Bowell
Mackenzie Bowell
Sir Mackenzie Bowell, PC, KCMG was a Canadian politician who served as the fifth Prime Minister of Canada from December 21, 1894 to April 27, 1896.-Early life:Bowell was born in Rickinghall, Suffolk, England to John Bowell and Elizabeth Marshall...

served in the 1890s while members of the Senate; both, in their roles as Government Leader in the Senate
Leader of the Government in the Senate (Canada)
The Leader of the Government in the Senate is a Canadian cabinet minister who leads the government side in the Canadian Senate and is chiefly responsible for promoting and defending the government's program in the Upper House. The government leader's counterpart on the Opposition benches is the...

, succeeded prime ministers who died in office (John A. Macdonald
John A. Macdonald
Sir John Alexander Macdonald, GCB, KCMG, PC, PC , QC was the first Prime Minister of Canada. The dominant figure of Canadian Confederation, his political career spanned almost half a century...

 in 1891 and John Sparrow David Thompson in 1894), a convention that has since evolved toward the appointment of an interim leader
Interim leader
An interim leader, in Canadian politics, is a party leader appointed by the party's legislative caucus or the party's executive to temporarily act as leader when a gap occurs between the resignation or death of a party leader and the election of a formal successor...

 in such a scenario. It should be noted that the Senate was considered a much more powerful body in the first half century after confederation. By the 1920s however the Senate had lost much of its original influence, and hence no sitting senator had been known to have serious aspirations of becoming prime minister whilst remaining in the Senate. 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. For example William Lyon Mackenzie King
William Lyon Mackenzie King
William Lyon Mackenzie King, PC, OM, CMG was the dominant Canadian political leader from the 1920s through the 1940s. He served as the tenth Prime Minister of Canada from December 29, 1921 to June 28, 1926; from September 25, 1926 to August 7, 1930; and from October 23, 1935 to November 15, 1948...

, after losing his seat in the same general election that his party won, briefly "governed from the hallway" before winning a by-election a few weeks later. Similarly, John Turner
John Turner
John Napier Wyndham Turner, PC, CC, QC is an English Canadian lawyer and retired politician, who served as the 17th Prime Minister of Canada from June 30 to September 17, 1984....

 replaced Pierre Trudeau
Pierre Trudeau
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, , usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.Trudeau began his political career campaigning for socialist ideals,...

 as leader of the Liberal Party
Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberal Party of Canada , colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federally registered party in Canada. In the conventional political spectrum, the party sits between the centre and the centre-left. Historically the Liberal Party has positioned itself to the left of the Conservative...

 in 1984 and subsequently was appointed prime minister even though he did not hold a seat in the lower chamber of parliament; Turner won a riding in the next election but the Liberal Party was swept from power. Turner was the last sitting prime minister to not hold a Commons seat.
Should a sitting prime minister today lose his seat in the legislature (or should a new prime minister be appointed without holding a seat), the typical process that follows is that a junior member in the governing political party will immediately resign to allow the prime minister to run in the resulting by-election. A safe seat
Safe seat
A safe seat is a seat in a legislative body which is regarded as fully secured, either by a certain political party, the incumbent representative personally or a combination of both...

 is usually chosen; while the Liberal and now defunct Progressive Conservative
Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada was a Canadian political party with a centre-right stance on economic issues and, after the 1970s, a centrist stance on social issues....

 parties traditionally observed a convention of not running a candidate against another party's new leader in the by-election, the New Democrats and other smaller parties typically do not follow the same convention. However, if the governing party selects a new leader shortly before an election is due, and that new leader is not a member of the legislature, he or she will normally await the upcoming election before running for a seat in parliament.

In a poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid
Ipsos-Reid
Ipsos Reid is a research company based in Canada and is the Canadian arm of the global Ipsos Group. Founded in Winnipeg in 1979, the company expanded across the country and became part of the Ipsos Group in 2000....

 following the first prorogation of the 40th parliament on 4 December 2008, it was found that 51% of the sample group thought the prime minister was directly elected by Canadians.

Mandate

The Canadian prime minister serves at Her Majesty's pleasure
At Her Majesty's pleasure
At Her Majesty's pleasure is a legal term of art derived from all legitimate authority for government stemming from the Crown. Originating from the United Kingdom, it is now used throughout the Commonwealth realms...

, meaning the post does not have a fixed term; once appointed and sworn in by the governor general, the prime minister remains in office until he or she resigns, is dismissed, or dies. The lifespan of parliament is limited by the constitution to five years and, though the governor general may still, on the advice of the prime minister, dissolve parliament and issue the writs of election
Writ of election
A writ of election is a writ issued by the government ordering the holding of a special election for a political office.In the United Kingdom and in Canada, this is the only way of holding an election for the House of Commons...

 prior to the date mandated by the Canada Elections Act
Canada Elections Act
Canada Elections Act is an Act of the Parliament of Canada respecting the election of members of parliament to the Canadian House of Commons, repealing other Acts relating to elections and making consequential amendments to other Acts....

; the King-Byng Affair
King-Byng Affair
The King–Byng Affair was a Canadian constitutional crisis that occurred in 1926, when the Governor General of Canada, the Lord Byng of Vimy, refused a request by his prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, to dissolve parliament and call a general election....

 was the only time since Confederation
Canadian Confederation
Canadian Confederation was the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies were formed into four Canadian provinces...

 that the viceroy deemed it necessary to refuse his prime minister's request for a general vote.

Following parliamentary dissolution, the prime minister must run in the resulting general election if he or she wishes to maintain a seat in the House of Commons. Should the prime minister's party subsequently win, it is unnecessary to re-appoint the prime minister or again swear him or her into office. If, however, an opposition party
Opposition (parliamentary)
Parliamentary opposition is a form of political opposition to a designated government, particularly in a Westminster-based parliamentary system. Note that this article uses the term government as it is used in Parliamentary systems, i.e. meaning the administration or the cabinet rather than the state...

 wins a majority
Majority government
A majority government is when the governing party has an absolute majority of seats in the legislature or parliament in a parliamentary system. This is as opposed to a minority government, where even the largest party wins only a plurality of seats and thus must constantly bargain for support from...

 of seats in the House of Commons, the prime minister may resign or be dismissed by the governor general. Should the prime minister's party achieve a minority while an opposition party wins a plurality i.e., 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
Coalition government
A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament...

 with other minority parties. This option has almost never been entertained in Canada, the last time being in 1925.

Role and authority

Because the prime minister is, in practice, the most politically powerful member of the Canadian government
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

, he or she is sometimes erroneously referred to as Canada's head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

, when, in fact, that post is held by the Canadian monarch, represented by the governor general
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

. The prime minister is, instead, the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, responsible for giving advice to the monarch or the viceroy on how to exercise the Royal Prerogative
Royal Prerogative
The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy as belonging to the sovereign alone. It is the means by which some of the executive powers of government, possessed by and...

 and executive powers given to them by the written and unwritten tenets of the constitution. However, the function of the prime minister has evolved with increasing power. Today, as per the doctrines of constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

, the advice
Advice (constitutional)
Advice, in constitutional law, is formal, usually binding, instruction given by one constitutional officer of state to another. Especially in parliamentary systems of government, Heads of state often act on the basis of advice issued by prime ministers or other government ministers...

 given by the prime minister is ordinarily binding, meaning the prime minister effectively carries out those duties ascribed to the sovereign and/or governor general, leaving the latter to act in predominantly ceremonial fashions. As such, the prime minister, supported by the Office of the Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister (Canada)
In Canada, the Office of the Prime Minister , located in the Langevin Block, on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, is one of the most powerful parts of the government. It is made up of the prime minister and his or her top political staff, who are charged with advising the prime minister on decisions,...

 (PMO), controls the appointments of many key figures in Canada's system of governance, including the governor general, the Cabinet, justices of the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial, territorial and federal appellate courts, and its decisions...

, senators, heads of crown corporations
Crown corporations of Canada
Canadian Crown corporations are enterprises owned by the federal government of Canada , one of Canada's provincial governments or one of the territorial governments. Crown corporations have a long standing presence in the country and have been instrumental in the formation of the state...

, ambassadors to foreign countries
Ambassadors from Canada
This is a list of ambassadors and high commissioners from Canada to other countries and entities:- Sources :* *...

, the provincial lieutenant governors
Lieutenant Governor (Canada)
In Canada, a lieutenant governor is the viceregal representative in a provincial jurisdiction of the Canadian monarch and head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, who resides predominantly in her oldest realm, the United Kingdom...

, and approximately 3,100 other positions. Further, 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
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

.
Pierre Trudeau is credited with, throughout his tenure as prime minister between 1968 and 1984, consolidating power in the PMO, which is itself filled by political and administrative staff selected at the prime minister's discretion. At the end of the 20th century and into the 21st, analysts such as Jeffrey Simpson
Jeffrey Simpson
Jeffrey Carl Simpson, OC , is a Canadian journalist. He has been The Globe and Mails national affairs columnist for almost three decades...

, Donald Savoie, and John Gomery
John Gomery
John H. Gomery, BCL, BA, QC is a retired Canadian jurist. He was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.-Personal life:Gomery has a daughter, Cym Gomery, who is a partisan and candidate of municipal party Projet Montreal. Gomery is fluently bilingual, as is his daughter...

argued that both parliament and the Cabinet had become eclipsed by prime ministerial power. Indeed, the position has been described as undergoing a "presidentialisation", to the point that its incumbents publicly outshine the actual head of state; former governor general Adrienne Clarkson
Adrienne Clarkson
Adrienne Louise Clarkson is a Canadian journalist and stateswoman who served as Governor General of Canada, the 26th since Canadian Confederation....

 alluded to what she saw as "an unspoken rivalry" that had developed between the prime minister and the Crown. Savoie quoted an anonymous minister from the Liberal Party as saying Cabinet had become "a kind of focus group for the Prime Minister," while Simpson called cabinet a "mini-sounding board". 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
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

; particularly, Canada has fewer MPs, a higher turnover rate of MPs after each election, and an Americanised system for selecting political party leaders, leaving them accountable to the party membership rather than caucus, as is the case in the United Kingdom.

There do exist checks on the prime minister's power: parliament may revoke its confidence in an incumbent prime minister; cabinet or caucus revolt
Caucus revolt
A Caucus Revolt occurs when enough members of a political party pressure its leadership to step down or to remove planned bills\legislation\policies from its platform. A Caucus Revolt generally concludes with the party leader resigning his position as such a revolt is usually seen to show poor...

s can quickly bring down a sitting premier, and even mere threats of such action can persuade and/or compel a prime minister to resign his post, as happened with Jean Chrétien
Jean Chrétien
Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien , known commonly as Jean Chrétien is a former 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....

; the Senate may delay or impede legislation put forward by the Cabinet, such as when Brian Mulroney
Brian Mulroney
Martin Brian Mulroney, 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 major economic reforms, such as the Canada-U.S...

's bill creating the Goods and Services Tax
Goods and Services Tax (Canada)
The Goods and Services Tax is a multi-level value added tax introduced in Canada on January 1, 1991, by then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his finance minister Michael Wilson. The GST replaced a hidden 13.5% Manufacturers' Sales Tax ; Mulroney claimed the GST was implemented because the MST...

 (GST) came before the upper chamber; and, given Canada's federal nature
Canadian federalism
Canada is a federation with two distinct jurisdictions of political authority: the country-wide federal government and the ten regionally-based provincial governments. It also has three territorial governments in the far north, though these are subject to the federal government...

, the jurisdiction of the federal government is limited to areas prescribed by the constitution. Further, as executive power is constitutionally vested in the monarch, meaning the Royal Prerogative belongs to the Crown and not to any of its ministers, the sovereign's supremacy over the prime minister in the constitutional order is thus seen as a "rebuff to the pretensions of the elected: As it has been said, when the Prime Minister bows before the Queen, he bows before us [the Canadian people]." Either the sovereign or his or her viceroy may therefore oppose the prime minister's will in extreme, crisis situations. Near the end of her time as governor general, Adrienne Clarkson
Adrienne Clarkson
Adrienne Louise Clarkson is a Canadian journalist and stateswoman who served as Governor General of Canada, the 26th since Canadian Confederation....

 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, and exercising the right 'to encourage, to advise, and to warn'[...] Without really revealing any secrets, I can tell you that I have done all three."

Privileges

Two official residence
Official residence
An official residence is the residence at which heads of state, heads of government, gubernatorial or other senior figures officially reside...

s are provided to the prime minister 24 Sussex Drive
24 Sussex Drive
24 Sussex Drive is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada, located in the New Edinburgh neighbourhood of Ottawa, Ontario. Built between 1866 and 1868 by Joseph Merrill Currier, it has been the official home of the Canadian prime minister since 1951.-History:The house at 24 Sussex...

 in Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

 and Harrington Lake
Harrington Lake
Harrington Lake estate is the name of the official country retreat of the Prime Minister of Canada and also the name of the land which surrounds it. It is located near Meech Lake where the Meech Lake Accord was negotiated in 1987approximately 35 kilometers northwest of Ottawa, in an area known as...

, a country retreat in Gatineau Park
Gatineau Park
Gatineau Park is a park located in the National Capital Region, in Quebec's Outaouais region, just north of Ottawa, Ontario. Administered by the National Capital Commission, the park is a 361 km² wedge of land to the west of the Gatineau River...

as well an office in the Langevin Block
Langevin Block
The Langevin Block is an office building facing Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada. As the home of the Privy Council Office and Office of the Prime Minister, it is the working headquarters of the executive branch of the Canadian government...

, across from Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill , colloquially known as The Hill, is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. Its Gothic revival suite of buildingsthe parliament buildings serves as the home of the Parliament of Canada and contains a number of architectural...

. For transportation, the prime minister is granted an armoured car and shared use of two official aircraft a CC-150 Polaris
CC-150 Polaris
-External links:* *...

 for international flights and a Challenger 601 for domestic trips. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police , literally ‘Royal Gendarmerie of Canada’; colloquially known as The Mounties, and internally as ‘The Force’) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal,...

 also furnish constant personal security for the prime minister and his or her family. All of the aforementioned is supplied by the Queen-in-Council
Queen-in-Council
The Queen-in-Council is, in each of the Commonwealth realms, the technical term of constitutional law that refers to the exercise of executive authority, denoting the monarch acting by and with the advice and consent of his or her privy council or executive council The Queen-in-Council (during...

 through budgets approved by parliament, as is the prime minister's annual salary of CAD
Canadian dollar
The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

$317,574. Only about half of this income is specific to the role of prime minister, the remainder being the normal salary of a Member of Parliament.

Should a sitting or former prime minister die, he or she is accorded a state funeral
State funerals in Canada
State funerals in Canada are public events held to commemorate former governors general, prime ministers, members of the Cabinet who died in office, and, at the Cabinet's discretion, other eminent Canadians...

, wherein their casket lies in state in the Centre Block
Centre Block
The Centre Block is the main building of the Canadian parliamentary complex on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario, containing the Commons and Senate chambers, as well as the offices of a number of Members of Parliament and Senators, as well as senior administration for both legislative houses...

 of Parliament Hill. Only Mackenzie Bowell
Mackenzie Bowell
Sir Mackenzie Bowell, PC, KCMG was a Canadian politician who served as the fifth Prime Minister of Canada from December 21, 1894 to April 27, 1896.-Early life:Bowell was born in Rickinghall, Suffolk, England to John Bowell and Elizabeth Marshall...

 and the Viscount Bennett
R. B. Bennett
Richard Bedford Bennett, 1st Viscount Bennett, PC, KC 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...

 were given private funerals, 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. John Thompson also died outside Canada, at Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

, where Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

 permitted his lying-in-state before his body was returned to Canada for a state funeral in Halifax.
In earlier years, it was traditional for the monarch to bestow a knighthood on newly appointed Canadian prime ministers. Accordingly, several carried the prefix Sir before their name; of the first eight premiers of Canada, only Alexander Mackenzie
Alexander Mackenzie
Alexander Mackenzie, PC , a building contractor and newspaper editor, was the second Prime Minister of Canada from November 7, 1873 to October 8, 1878.-Biography:...

 refused the honour of a knighthood from Queen Victoria. Following the 1919 Nickle Resolution, however, it was against non-binding policy for the sovereign to grant such honorific titles to Canadians; the last prime minister to be knighted was Sir Robert Borden
Robert Borden
Sir Robert Laird Borden, PC, GCMG, KC 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...

, who was premier at the time the Nickle Resolution was debated in the House of Commons. Still, Richard Bennett was in 1941, six years after he stepped down as prime minister, elevated to the peerage
Peerage
The Peerage is a legal system of largely hereditary titles in the United Kingdom, which constitute the ranks of British nobility and is part of the British honours system...

 by King George VI
George VI of the United Kingdom
George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death...

 as the Viscount Bennett of Mickleham
Mickleham, Surrey
Mickleham is a village and civil parish between the towns of Dorking and Leatherhead in Surrey, England covering . The parish includes the hamlet of Fredley.-History:Mickleham lies near to the old Roman road known as Stane Street...

 in the County of Surrey
Surrey
Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. The historic county town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of...

 and of Calgary
Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

 and Hopewell
Hopewell Hill, New Brunswick
Hopewell Hill is a Canadian rural community in Albert County, New Brunswick.It is most famous for being the birthplace of the Right Honourable Richard Bedford Bennett, 1st Viscount Bennett, PC , KC , LL.B , who was the eleventh Prime Minister of Canada from August 7, 1930 to October 23,...

.

The Canadian Heraldic Authority
Canadian Heraldic Authority
The Canadian Heraldic Authority is part of the Canadian honours system under the Queen of Canada, whose authority is exercised by the Governor General. The Authority is responsible for the creation and granting of new coats of arms , flags and badges for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and...

 (CHA) has granted former prime ministers an augmentation of honour
Augmentation of Honour
In heraldry, an augmentation is a modification or addition to a coat of arms, typically given by a monarch as either a mere mark of favour, or a reward or recognition for some meritorious act...

 on the personal coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 of those who pursued them. The heraldic badge, referred to by the CHA as the mark of the Prime Ministership of Canada, consists of four red maple leaves joined at the stem on a white field ("Argent four maple leaves conjoined in cross at the stem Gules"); the augmentation has, so far, been granted either as a canton sinister
Canton (heraldry)
Canton is a square charge placed in the upper dexter corner. It is classed by some heraldic writers as one of the honorable ordinaries; but, strictly speaking, it is a diminutive of the Quarter, being two-thirds the area of that ordinary. However, in the roll of Henry III the quarter appears in...

 or centred in the chief
Chief (heraldry)
In heraldic blazon, a chief is a charge on a coat of arms that takes the form of a band running horizontally across the top edge of the shield. Writers disagree in how much of the shield's surface is to be covered by the chief, ranging from one-fourth to one-third. The former is more likely if the...

. To date, former prime ministers Joe Clark, Pierre Trudeau, John Turner, Brian Mulroney, and Kim Campbell were granted arms with the augmentation.

Style of address

Canada continues the Westminster tradition of using the title Prime Minister when one is speaking to the federal head of government directly; this is in contrast to the United States protocol of addressing the federal head of government as mister
Mr. President (title)
The title "Mr. President" and "Madame President" may apply to persons holding the title of President or presiding over certain other governmental bodies. Adopted by President of the United States George Washington as his official manner of address as head of state, "Mister President" was...

(as in, Mister President). The written form of address for the prime minister should use his or her full parliamentary title: The Right Honourable [name], [post-nominal letters
Post-nominal letters
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honour. An individual may use several different sets of...

], Prime Minister of Canada
. However, while in the House of Commons during Question Period
Question Period
Question Period, known officially as Oral Questions occurs each sitting day in the Canadian House of Commons. According to the House of Commons Compendium, “The primary purpose of Question Period is to seek information from the Government and to call it to account for its actions.”-History:The...

, other members of parliament may address the prime minister as The Right Honourable, Member for [prime minister's riding
Electoral district (Canada)
An electoral district in Canada, also known as a constituency or a riding, is a geographical constituency upon which Canada's representative democracy is based...

]
or simply The Right Honourable Prime Minister. Former prime ministers retain the prefix The Right Honourable for the remainder of their lives; should they remain sitting MPs, they may be referred as The Right Honourable Member for [member's riding
Electoral district (Canada)
An electoral district in Canada, also known as a constituency or a riding, is a geographical constituency upon which Canada's representative democracy is based...

]
or by their portfolio title (if appointed to one), as in The Right Honourable Minister of National Defence.

In the decades following Confederation, it was common practice to refer to the prime minister as Premier of Canada, a custom that continued until the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, around the time of Robert Borden
Robert Borden
Sir Robert Laird Borden, PC, GCMG, KC 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...

's premiership. While contemporary sources will still speak of early prime ministers of Canada as premier, the modern practice is such that the federal head of government is known almost exclusively as the prime minister, while the provincial heads of government
Premier (Canada)
In Canada, a premier is the head of government of a province or territory. There are currently ten provincial premiers and three territorial premiers in Canada....

 are termed premiers (save for within Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 and New Brunswick
New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

, where the premiers are addressed in French as Premier ministre du [province], literally translated as Prime Minister of [province]).

Activities post-commission

After exiting office, former prime ministers of Canada have engaged in various pursuits. Some remained in politics: Mackenzie Bowell continued to serve as a senator; R. B. Bennett moved to the United Kingdom after being elevated to the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

; and a number led Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition
Official Opposition (Canada)
In Canada, Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition , commonly known as the Official Opposition, is usually the largest parliamentary opposition party in the House of Commons or a provincial legislative assembly that is not in government, either on its own or as part of a governing coalition...

 in the Canadian parliament: John A. Macdonald, Arthur Meighen
Arthur Meighen
Arthur Meighen, PC, QC was a Canadian lawyer and politician. He served two terms as the ninth Prime Minister of Canada: from July 10, 1920 to December 29, 1921; and from June 29 to September 25, 1926. He was the first Prime Minister born after Confederation, and the only one to represent a riding...

, William Lyon Mackenzie King, and Pierre Trudeau, all before being re-appointed as premier (Mackenzie King twice); Alexander Mackenzie
Alexander Mackenzie
Alexander Mackenzie, PC , a building contractor and newspaper editor, was the second Prime Minister of Canada from November 7, 1873 to October 8, 1878.-Biography:...

 and John Diefenbaker
John Diefenbaker
John George Diefenbaker, PC, CH, QC was the 13th Prime Minister of Canada, serving from June 21, 1957, to April 22, 1963...

, both prior to sitting as regular Members of Parliament until their deaths; Wilfrid Laurier
Wilfrid Laurier
Sir Wilfrid Laurier, GCMG, PC, KC, baptized Henri-Charles-Wilfrid Laurier was the seventh Prime Minister of Canada from 11 July 1896 to 6 October 1911....

 dying while still in the post; and Charles Tupper
Charles Tupper
Sir Charles Tupper, 1st Baronet, GCMG, CB, PC 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...

, Louis St. Laurent
Louis St. Laurent
Louis Stephen St. Laurent, PC, CC, QC , was the 12th Prime Minister of Canada from 15 November 1948, to 21 June 1957....

, and John Turner, each before they returned to private business. Meighen was also appointed to the Senate following his second period as prime minister, but resigned his seat to seek re-election and moved to private enterprise after failing to win a riding. Following Meighen into civilian life were: Robert Borden
Robert Borden
Sir Robert Laird Borden, PC, GCMG, KC 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...

, who served as Chancellor of Queen's
Queen's University
Queen's University, , is a public research university located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Founded on 16 October 1841, the university pre-dates the founding of Canada by 26 years. Queen's holds more more than of land throughout Ontario as well as Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England...

 and McGill Universities
McGill University
Mohammed Fathy is a public research university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The university bears the name of James McGill, a prominent Montreal merchant from Glasgow, Scotland, whose bequest formed the beginning of the university...

, as well as working in the financial sector; Lester B. Pearson
Lester B. Pearson
Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson, PC, OM, CC, OBE 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...

, who acted as Chancellor of Carleton University
Carleton University
Carleton University is a comprehensive university located in the capital of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. The enabling legislation is The Carleton University Act, 1952, S.O. 1952. Founded as a small college in 1942, Carleton now offers over 65 programs in a diverse range of disciplines. Carleton has...

; Joe Clark
Joe Clark
Charles Joseph "Joe" Clark, is a Canadian statesman, businessman, and university professor, and former journalist and politician...

 and Kim Campbell
Kim Campbell
Avril Phædra Douglas "Kim" Campbell, is a Canadian politician, lawyer, university professor, diplomat, and writer. She served as the 19th Prime Minister of Canada, serving from June 25, 1993, to November 4, 1993...

, who became university professors, Clark also consultant and Campbell working in international diplomacy and as the director of private companies and chairperson of interest groups; while Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chrétien
Jean Chrétien
Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien , known commonly as Jean Chrétien is a former 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....

 returned to legal practice. Former prime ministers also commonly penned autobiographies Tupper, for example or published their memoires such as Diefenbaker and Paul Martin
Paul Martin
Paul Edgar Philippe Martin, PC , 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....

.

See also


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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