Chronology of the Prime Ministers of Canada

Canadian Prime Ministers Since Confederation in 1867

Bonsecours Market Building in Montreal
Henryk Sadura / 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 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.