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Prime Minister of Canada

The prime minister (PM) is the head of the federal government. It is the most powerful position in Canadian politics. Prime ministers are not specifically elected to the position; instead, the PM is typically the leader of the party that has the most seats in the House of Commons. The prime minister controls the governing party and speaks for it; names senators and senior judges for appointment; and appoints and dismisses all members of Cabinet. As chair of Cabinet, the PM controls its agenda and greatly influences the activities and priorities of Parliament. In recent years, a debate has emerged about the growing power of prime ministers, and whether this threatens other democratic institutions.

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Kennedy Stewart

Kennedy Stewart, politician, academic, mayor of Vancouver (2018–present) (born 8 November 1966 in Halifax, Nova Scotia). Stewart served as a Member of Parliament for Burnaby–Douglas and Burnaby South and was a member of the NDP caucus. He is an associate professor on leave at Simon Fraser University’s School of Public Policy. Stewart is currently the 40th mayor of Vancouver.

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Ed Schreyer

Edward Richard Schreyer, PC, CC, CMM, teacher, politician, diplomat, premier of Manitoba 1969-1977, governor general of Canada 1979-1984 (born 21 December 1935 in Beausejour, MB). Schreyer was the first New Democrat to form a government anywhere in Canada. He was also the first Manitoban to become governor general. In that post, Schreyer was a strong advocate of bilingualism, the environment and women’s equality, and sought to make Rideau Hall more accessible to Canadians.

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Dwight Ball

Dwight Ball, pharmacist, businessman, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador 2015–20, leader of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador 2013–20 (born 21 December 1957 in Deer Lake, NL). Ball became premier at a time of economic crisis. After several years of prosperity, slumping oil revenues required his government to bring in unpopular austerity measures to fight a burgeoning provincial debt. Ball retained the premiership in 2019, when his Liberal Party won a minority government. On 17 February 2020, Dwight Ball announced his intention to resign as premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. He remained in that position until 19 August 2020, when Andrew Furey was sworn in as premier. (See also Politics in Newfoundland and Labrador.)

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Amir Khadir

Khadir, physicist, doctor, activist and politician (born 12 June 1961 in Tehran, Iran). Amir Khadir was spokesperson for Québec solidaire from 2006 to 2013 and the first member of this left-wing political party to be elected to the National Assembly of Québec.

Macleans

Jack Layton (Profile)

With the minority Liberal government all but sure to fall this week, politicians - not to mention voters - are grimacing at the prospect of a campaign that runs through the holiday season.

Macleans

Preston Manning (Profile)

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on September 22, 1997. Partner content is not updated.

The view from Reform party headquarters in Calgary is of the Canadian Rockies, but inside the sixth-floor conference room the words are from Virginia, courtesy of Thomas Jefferson.

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Patriation of the Constitution

In 1982, Canada fully broke from its colonial past and “patriated” its Constitution. It transferred the country’s highest law, the British North America Act (which was renamed the Constitution Act, 1867), from the authority of the British Parliament to Canada’s federal and provincial legislatures. The Constitution was also updated with a new amending formula and a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These changes occurred after a fierce, 18-month political and legal struggle that dominated headlines and the agendas of every government in the country.

Macleans

Clark and NDP Win in BC

Well, perhaps. In fact, the contrasts displayed on election night last week in British Columbia were, for the most part, more apparent than real - as was Clark's claim to be leading the province of 3.8 million down a radically new road.

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Joe Clark

Charles Joseph “Joe” Clark, PC, CC, journalist, author, 16th prime minister of Canada 1979-80, (born 5 June, 1939 at High River, AB). Clark was Canada's youngest prime minister when he took office one day before his 40th birthday. His brief term put a temporary end to 16 years of Liberal rule. He later gained respect as a senior minister in the Progressive Conservative government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, especially on the international stage.

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Roberta Jamieson

Roberta Louise Jamieson, OC, Kanyen'kehà:ka (Mohawk) lawyer, ombudsman, Six Nations chief, policy advisor, senior mediator, businesswoman (born in 1953 at Six Nations of the Grand River Territory near Brantford, ON). Jamieson was the first Indigenous woman in Canada to earn a law degree (1976); first non-Parliamentarian appointed to a House of Commons committee (1982); first woman appointed ombudsman in Ontario (1989); and first woman elected as Six Nations chief (2001).

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Jeanne Sauvé

Jeanne-Mathilde Sauvé, PC, CC, governor general of Canada 1984-1990, journalist, politician, speaker of the House of Commons (born 26 April 1922 in Prud'homme, Saskatchewan; died 26 January 1993 in Montreal). Sauvé was Canada's first woman to be Speaker of the House of Commons and first woman to serve as governor general.

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John Diefenbaker

John George “Dief the Chief” Diefenbaker, PC, CH, KC, FRSC, prime minister 1957–63, politician, lawyer (born 18 September 1895 in Neustadt, ON; died 16 August 1979 in Ottawa, ON). John Diefenbaker was Canada’s 13th prime minister. He was well known as a defence lawyer before his election to Parliament, and was an eloquent spokesman for “non-establishment” Canada. A supporter of civil rights for all, Diefenbaker championed the Canadian Bill of Rights and the extension of the right to vote to First Nations peoples. He also played an important role in the anti-apartheid statement that led to South Africa’s departure from the Commonwealth in 1961. He was a charismatic and popular speaker; but he was also a divisive force within the Progressive Conservative Party. He was criticized for his indecision concerning nuclear missiles on Canadian soil; for his strained relations with US President John F. Kennedy; and for his cancellation of the Avro Arrow project.