Humanities › Issues Chronology of the Prime Ministers of Canada Canadian Prime Ministers Since Confederation in 1867 Share Flipboard Email Print Henryk Sadura / Getty Images Issues Canadian Government The U. S. Government U.S. Foreign Policy U.S. Liberal Politics U.S. Conservative Politics Women's Issues Civil Liberties The Middle East Terrorism Race Relations Immigration Crime & Punishment Animal Rights View More by Susan Munroe Susan Munroe, a public affairs and communications professional, has lived and worked in Canada for more than 30 years. Updated July 03, 2019 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 Minister Dates in Office Justin Trudeau 2015 to Present Stephen Harper 2006 to 2015 Paul Martin 2003 to 2006 Jean Chretien 1993 to 2003 Kim Campbell 1993 Brian Mulroney 1984 to 1993 John Turner 1984 Pierre Trudeau 1980 to 1984 Joe Clark 1979 to 1980 Pierre Trudeau 1968 to 1979 Lester Pearson 1963 to 1968 John Diefenbaker 1957 to 1963 Louis St Laurent 1948 to 1957 William Lyon Mackenzie King 1935 to 1948 Richard B Bennett 1930 to 1935 William Lyon Mackenzie King 1926 to 1930 Arthur Meighen 1926 William Lyon Mackenzie King 1921 to 1926 Arthur Meighen 1920 to 1921 Sir Robert Borden 1911 to 1920 Sir Wilfrid Laurier 1896 to 1911 Sir Charles Tupper 1896 Sir Mackenzie Bowell 1894 to 1896 Sir John Thompson 1892 to 1894 Sir John Abbott 1891 to 1892 Sir John A Macdonald 1878 to 1891 Alexander Mackenzie 1873 to 1878 Sir John A Macdonald 1867 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. Continue Reading Learn About Canadian Prime Ministers and Their Role in Government What Are the Canadian Prime Minister's Responsibilities? How to Canadian Federal Election How Does a Parliamentary Government Work? Is it True that the Queen Turns Bills into Law by Nodding Her Head? What Does Canada's Cabinet Do? How Much Do Canadian Senators Make? Biography of William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canadian Prime Minister What Was Canadian Confederation? What Was the British North America Act? Who Were the Israeli Prime Ministers Since the State's Establishment in 1948? When Did Canadian Provinces Join the Confederation? Michaëlle Jean: Canada's First Black Governor General Canada's Government Welcomes Constant Criticism from Losing Party What Does the Governor General of Canada Do? What Do Canadian Members of Parliament Do?