Chronology of the Prime Ministers of Canada

Canadian Prime Ministers Since Confederation in 1867

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Prime Minister Stephen Harper. WPA Pool / Getty Images

The prime minister of Canada heads the government of Canada and serves as the primary minister of the sovereign, in this case, the monarch of the United Kingdom. Sir John A. Macdonald was the first prime minister since Canadian Confederation and assumed office on July 1, 1867.

Chronology of the Canadian Prime Ministers

The following list chronicles the Canadian prime ministers and their dates in office since 1867.

Prime MinisterDates in Office
Justin Trudeau2015 to Present
Stephen Harper2006 to 2015
Paul Martin2003 to 2006
Jean Chretien1993 to 2003
Kim Campbell1993
Brian Mulroney1984 to 1993
John Turner1984
Pierre Trudeau1980 to 1984
Joe Clark1979 to 1980
Pierre Trudeau1968 to 1979
Lester Pearson1963 to 1968
John Diefenbaker1957 to 1963
Louis St Laurent1948 to 1957
William Lyon Mackenzie King1935 to 1948
Richard B Bennett1930 to 1935
William Lyon Mackenzie King1926 to 1930
Arthur Meighen1926
William Lyon Mackenzie King1921 to 1926
Arthur Meighen1920 to 1921
Sir Robert Borden1911 to 1920
Sir Wilfrid Laurier1896 to 1911
Sir Charles Tupper1896
Sir Mackenzie Bowell1894 to 1896
Sir John Thompson1892 to 1894
Sir John Abbott1891 to 1892
Sir John A Macdonald1878 to 1891
Alexander Mackenzie1873 to 1878
Sir John A Macdonald1867 to 1873

More About the Prime Minister

Officially, the prime minister is appointed by the governor general of Canada, but by constitutional convention, the prime minister must have the confidence of the elected House of Commons.

Normally, this is the leader of the party caucus with the greatest number of seats in the house. But, if that leader lacks the support of the majority, the governor general can appoint another leader who has that support or may dissolve parliament and call a new election. By constitutional convention, a prime minister holds a seat in parliament and, since the early 20th century, this has more specifically meant the House of Commons.