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Historical rankings of Canadian prime ministers

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Title: Historical rankings of Canadian prime ministers  
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Subject: Prime Minister of Canada, List of burial places for Prime Ministers of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, List of Prime Ministers of Canada by languages spoken, Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom
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Historical rankings of Canadian prime ministers

East Block (left) and Langevin Block (right) have housed the office of the prime minister since Canadian Confederation, the former from 1867-1977 and the latter since 1977.

In political science, historical rankings of Canadian prime ministers are surveys conducted in order to construct rankings of the success of individuals who have served as Prime Minister of Canada. Ranking systems are usually based on surveys of academic historians and political scientists. The rankings focus on the achievements, leadership qualities, failures and faults in office.

Scholar survey results

  • Blue backgrounds indicate first quartile.
  • Green backgrounds indicate second quartile.
  • Orange backgrounds indicate third quartile.
  • Red backgrounds indicate fourth quartile.

Note: Click the "sort" icon at the head of each column to view the rankings for each survey in numerical order.

Sequence Prime Minister Political party Maclean's 1997[1] Maclean's 2011[2] Aggr.[3]
1 John A. Macdonald Conservative 2 2 01 (tie)
2 Alexander Mackenzie Liberal 11 13 12 (tie)
3 John Abbott ^ Conservative 17 19 18 (tie)
4 John Thompson ^ Conservative 10 14 12 (tie)
5 Mackenzie Bowell ^ Conservative 19 21 21
6 Charles Tupper ^ Conservative 16 18 18 (tie)
7 Wilfrid Laurier Liberal 3 1 01 (tie)
8 Robert Borden Conservative, Unionist 7 8 07 (tie)
9 Arthur Meighen ^ Conservative 14 16 16
10 William Lyon Mackenzie King Liberal 1 3 01 (tie)
11 R. B. Bennett Conservative 12 12 12 (tie)
12 Louis St. Laurent Liberal 4 7 06
13 John Diefenbaker Progressive Conservative 13 10 11
14 Lester Pearson Liberal 6 4 04 (tie)
15 Pierre Trudeau Liberal 5 5 04 (tie)
16 Joe Clark ^ Progressive Conservative 15 17 17
17 John Turner ^ Liberal 18 20 20
18 Brian Mulroney Progressive Conservative 8 9 09
19 Kim Campbell ^ Progressive Conservative 20 22 22
20 Jean Chrétien Liberal 9* 6 07 (tie)
21 Paul Martin ^ Liberal 15 15
22 Stephen Harper Conservative 11* 10

Sequence listed by first term as Prime Minister

* Ranking calculated before the prime minister had left office

^ Served less than 2 years, 3 months, as Prime Minister, while all others served for more than 4 years, 11 months.

John A. Macdonald
Wilfrid Laurier
William Lyon Mackenzie King
John A. Macdonald, Wilfrid Laurier, and William Lyon Mackenzie King tied for first place based on an aggregate ranking.

Other surveys

Lester B. Pearson

The Institute for Research on Public Policy undertook a survey to rank the prime ministers who had served in the 50 years preceding 2003.[4] They ranked those nine prime ministers as follows:

  1. Pearson
  2. Mulroney
  3. Trudeau
  4. St. Laurent
  5. Chrétien
  6. Diefenbaker
  7. Clark ^
  8. Turner ^
  9. Campbell ^

^ Served less than 10 months as Prime Minister, while all others served for more than 4 years, 11 months.

See also


  1. ^ Hillmer, Norman and Granatstein, J. L. "Historians rank the BEST AND WORST Canadian Prime Ministers," Maclean's, April 21, 1997. Accessed July 9, 2012.
  2. ^ Hillmer, Norman and Azzi, Stephen. "Canada's best prime ministers," Maclean's, June 10, 2011. Accessed July 9, 2012.
  3. ^ Aggregate of all polls in the table using Copeland's method.
  4. ^ MacDonald, L. Ian. "The Best Prime Minister of the Last 50 Years — Pearson, by a landslide," Policy Options, June–July 2003. Accessed April 3, 2014.
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