Canada's Top 10 Prime Ministers

Victoria 2008

10. Louis St. Laurent

'Uncle Louis' was a prime minister for almost 10 years without any notable failures and his successes were rewarded to others. While Prime Minister Canada achieved 'Middle Power' status but his foreign minister, Lester Pearson was more responsible for this than him. Simarily with the addition of Newfoundland as Canada's 10 province which was obtain by Joey Smallwood's populism.

9. Brian Mulroney

Mulroney is one of the post polarizing figures in Canadian history. He failed twice attempting to ammend the constitution which resulted in the rise of Quebec Nationalism. Under his helm the GST and Free Trade were introduced which were heavily criticized by the opposition but never reversed. Mulroney's domestic agenda was weak but he was able to maximize Canada's role as a soft power on the world stage. Canada played a key role in the end of apartheid and the signing of the acid rain treaty.

8. Sir Robert Borden

Canada's Prime Minister during the Great War securing a seperate seat for Canada at the Paris Peace Conference. Borden advocated for Canadian autonomy from Britain and introduced Canada's First Income Tax. Borden's two major failures were the internment of Eastern Europeans and using troops during the Winnipeg General Strike.

7. John Diefenbaker

Diefenbaker led the country during a weak economic period and is remembered today as a 'Red Tory' and Canada's most nationalist Prime Minister. He introduced Canada's first bill of Human Rights. He also extended the franchise to indians, spoke out against apartheid in South Africa, and his popularity in Western Canada made that region a secure region for Conservatives for decades. Diefenbaker advocated for more independence from Britain and the US.  There is not better example of this than his refusal to put Canada on high alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His shutting down of the Avro Arrow project and his fight against the Maple Leaf as Canada's flag were his two major flaws. 

6. William Lyon Mackenzie King

King was Canada's longest-serving Prime Minister but is more well-known for his bizarre antics that included seances with the dead. He oversaw Canada's development after the First World War and Canada's Prime Minister during World War II. Under his leadership, Canada's modern welfare state was created and his greatest achievement was the Statue of Westminster. He also presided over the internment of Japanese Canadians during WW2 and compared Hitler to Joan of Arc.

5. Jean Chretien

Under Chretien's leadership the federal government made massive spending cuts in its goal to balance the budget. His goal was to introduce practical policies and reverse the damage done to national unity by Mulroney's ambition. The clarity act was part of his tough love approach and his toughness was also shown to the US by refusing to support the Iraq war. Policies like the ratification of the Kyoto protocol and reforming political party funding have gained more prominence after the initial debate.

4. Sir Wilfred Laurier

Canada's First Francophone Prime Minister was known as the great conciliator who praciticed moderatate politics. Laurier opened up Canada to immigration, advocated more independence from Britain, and also visioned a bi-cultrural partnership between the English and French. His attempted Free Trade Agreement with the US defeated his government. Chretien's biggest political failings were the sponsorship scandal and also losing the Quebec referendum in 1995.

3. Pierre Elliot Trudeau

Trudeau patriated the constitution and enshrined the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Consitution. He was also Prime Minister during the FLQ Crisis and introduced bilingualism. Trudeau was a divisive figure who alienated Western Canada and is despised by Quebec Nationalists.

2. Lester Pearson

Lester Pearson greatest political accomplishments came outside of his tenure as Prime Minister. He is the only Canadian to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in stopping the governments he introduced universal healthcare and made the Maple Leaf the centre of Suez Crisis with the first deployment of peacekeepers. As Prime Minister in minority Canada's current national flag. 

1. Sir John A Macdonald

Canada's First Prime Minster built this country as a union between English and the French. This early union was the base for Canada's current multiculturalism. Canada was started on the right track from the beginning with Macdonald as the primary authour of the BNA Act. Macdonald built a national railway to unite the country, was cautious about Canada's relationship with the US, and negotiated Canada's independence from Britain without a shot fired. His two blemishes on his record were the hanging of Louis Riel and the Pacific Railway Scandal.

Montreal 2007

External Links:

Canada's best prime ministers

Historians rank the BEST AND WORST Canadian Prime Ministers

Related Links:

Greatest Canadians

Canada is Ready for Change

Rejuvenated Conservative Party in Quebec wins most seats in divided parliament

Updated: January 5, 2011
Created: December 27, 2007 Creations 2003-2011