Historical rankings of prime ministers of Canada

Maclean's List of prime ministers of Canada by time in office Enlarge
East Block (left) and the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council (right) have housed the office of the prime minister since Canadian Confederation, the former from 1867-1977 and the latter since 1977.

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, economists and political scientists. The rankings focus on the achievements, leadership qualities, failures and faults in office.

Scholar survey results

Legend
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] Maclean's 2016[3] Aggr.[4] Time in office (rank)
1 Sir John A. Macdonald Conservative 2 2 3 03 2
2 Alexander Mackenzie Liberal 11 13 13 13 13
3 Sir John Abbott ^ Conservative 17 19 20 20 18
4 Sir John Thompson ^ Conservative 10 14 16 15 16
5 Sir Mackenzie Bowell ^ Conservative 19 21 21 22 19
6 Sir Charles Tupper ^ Conservative 16 18 19 18 23
7 Sir Wilfrid Laurier Liberal 3 1 2 02 4
8 Sir Robert Borden Conservative, Unionist 7 8 9 08 8
9 Arthur Meighen ^ Conservative 14 16 17 17 17
10 William Lyon Mackenzie King Liberal 1 3 1 01 1
11 R. B. Bennett Conservative 12 12 14 14 11
12 Louis St. Laurent Liberal 4 7 6 06 9
13 John George Diefenbaker Progressive Conservative 13 10 12 12 10
14 Lester B. Pearson Liberal 6 4 5 05 12
15 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Liberal 5 5 4 04 3
16 Joseph Clark ^ Progressive Conservative 15 17 18 18 20
17 John Napier Turner ^ Liberal 18 20 22 21 22
18 Brian Mulroney Progressive Conservative 8 9 8 09 7
19 Kim Campbell ^ Progressive Conservative 20 22 23 23 21
20 Jean Chretien Liberal 9* 6 7 07 5
21 Paul Martin ^ Liberal 15 15 16 15
22 Stephen Harper Conservative 11* 11 11 6
23 Justin Trudeau Liberal 10* 10 14

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. There is a strong correlation between time served in office and the poll rankings: the bottom quartile of the aggregate poll rankings are all in the bottom quartile of time served in office. Similarly, the top four Prime Ministers in terms of aggregate rankings are in the top four of time spent in office.

William Lyon Mackenzie King (photo) is the highest rated prime Minister based on three aggregate results from Maclean's, and is also Canada's longest serving prime minister.

William Lyon Mackenzie King

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.[5] 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.

In October 2016, Maclean's again ranked the prime ministers, this time splitting them into two lists. The long-serving prime ministers were ranked as follows:

  1. King
  2. Laurier
  3. Macdonald
  4. Pierre Trudeau
  5. Pearson
  6. St. Laurent
  7. Chrétien
  8. Mulroney
  9. Borden
  10. Harper
  11. Diefenbaker
  12. Mackenzie
  13. Bennett

The short-term prime ministers were ranked as follows:

  1. Justin Trudeau
  2. Martin
  3. Thompson
  4. Meighen
  5. Clark
  6. Tupper
  7. Abbott
  8. Bowell
  9. Turner
  10. Campbell

See also

References

  1. ^ Hillmer, Norman and Granatstein, J. L. "Historians rank the BEST AND WORST Canadian Prime Ministers" Archived 2001-07-19 at the Wayback Machine. 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. ^ Hillmer, Norman and Azzi, Stephen. "Ranking Canada’s best and worst prime ministers" Maclean's, October 7, 2016. Accessed June 22, 2017.
  4. ^ Aggregate of all polls in the table using Copeland's method.
  5. ^ MacDonald, L. Ian. "The Best Prime Minister of the Last 50 Years — Pearson, by a landslide," Archived 2014-04-07 at the Wayback Machine Policy Options, June–July 2003. Accessed April 3, 2014.