Party Leaders

Leaders of Canadian political parties since Confederation (1867).

Current federal party leaders

LEADERPARTYTENURE
Thomas MulcairNDPMar 24, 2012 -
Justin TrudeauLiberal PartyApr 14, 2013 -
Rona Ambrose (acting)Conservative PartyNov 5, 2015 -
Rhéal Fortin (acting)Bloc QuebecoisOct 22, 2015-

Former federal party leaders

Leaders of the “Old” Conservative Parties (1867-2003)

The “old” Conservative (or “Tory”) Party that existed in Canada prior its dissolution in 2003 went through three phases, during which it used three different names.

Leaders of the Liberal Conservative Party

LEADERTENURE
John A. MacDonaldJul 1, 1867 - Jun 6, 1891
John AbbottJun 16, 1891 - Nov 24, 1892
John ThompsonDec 5, 1892 - Dec 12, 1894

Leaders of the Conservative Party

Successor to the Liberal-Conservative Party (1894-1941).

LEADERTENURE
Mackenzie BowellDec 21, 1894 - Apr 27, 1896
Charles TupperMay 1, 1896 - Feb 5, 1901
Robert BordenFeb 6, 1901 - Jul 9, 1920
Arthur MeighenJul 10, 1920 - Sep 24, 1926
Hugh GuthrieOct 11, 1926 - Oct 11, 1927
R.B. BennettOct 12, 1927 - Jul 6, 1938
Robert ManionJul 7, 1938 - May 13, 1940
Richard Burpee Hanson (acting)May 14, 1940 - Nov 11, 1941
Arthur Meighen (2nd time)Nov 12, 1941 - Dec 9, 1942

Leaders of the Progressive Conservative Party

Successor to the Conservative Party (1942-2003).

LEADERTENURE
John BrackenDec 11, 1942 - Jul 20, 1948
George DrewOct 2, 1948 - Nov 29, 1956
John DiefenbakerDec 14, 1956 - Sep 8, 1967
Robert StanfieldSep 9, 1967 - Feb 21, 1976
Joe ClarkFeb 22, 1976 - Jun 10, 1983
Brian MulroneyJun 11, 1983 - Jun 12, 1993
Kim CampbellJun 12, 1993 - Dec 14, 1993
Jean CharestDec 14, 1993 - Apr 2, 1998
Elsie Wayne (acting)Apr 2, 1998 - Nov 13, 1998
Joe Clark (2nd time)Nov 14, 1998 - May 30, 2003
Peter MacKayMay 31, 2003 - Feb 1, 2004

Leaders of the Reform Party of Canada

LEADERTENURE
Preston ManningNov 1, 1987 - Mar 26, 2000

Leaders of the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance

Successor to the Reform Party (2000-2004).

LEADERTENURE
Deborah Grey (acting)Mar 27, 2000 - Jul 7, 2000
Stockwell DayJul 8, 2000 - Dec 11, 2001
John Reynolds (acting)Dec 12, 2001 - Mar 19, 2002
Stephen HarperMar 20, 2002 - Jan 21, 2004

Leaders of the Conservative Party of Canada

Merger of Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties.

LEADERTENURE
John Lynch-Staunton (acting)Dec 8, 2003 - Mar 19, 2004
Stephen HarperMar 20, 2004 - Nov. 5, 2015
Rona Ambrose (acting)Nov. 5, 2015 -

Leaders of the Liberal Party of Canada

* Note: Officially, there was no formal, organized Liberal party between 1867 and 1873, just a broad coalition of politicians opposed to the government and party of John A. Macdonald.

LEADERTENURE
Alexander MackenzieMar 6, 1873 - Apr 27, 1880
Edward BlakeMay 4, 1880 - Jun 2, 1887
Wilfrid LaurierJun 23, 1887 - Feb 17, 1919
Daniel Duncan McKenzie (acting)Feb 17, 1919 - Aug 7, 1919
W.L. Mackenzie KingAug 7, 1919 - Aug 6, 1948
Louis St. LaurentAug 7, 1948 - Jan 15, 1958
Lester PearsonJan 16, 1958 - Apr 5, 1968
Pierre TrudeauApr 6, 1968 - Jun 15, 1984
John TurnerJun 15, 1984 - Jun 22, 1990
Jean ChretienJun 23, 1990 - Nov 13, 2003
Paul MartinNov 14, 2003 - Mar 19, 2006
Bill Graham (acting)Mar 20, 2006 - Dec 1, 2006
Stephane DionDec 2, 2006 - Dec 10, 2008
Michael IgnatieffDec 10, 2008 - May 19, 2011
Bob Rae (acting)May 19, 2011 - April 14, 2013
Justin TrudeauApril 14, 2013 -

Leaders of the National Progressive Party

LEADERTENURE
T. A. Crerar1920 - 1922
Robert Forke1922 - 1926

Leaders of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF)

LEADERTENURE
J.S. WoodsworthAug 1, 1932 - Mar 21, 1942
M.J. ColdwellJul, 1942 - Aug 10, 1960
Hazen ArgueAug 11, 1960 - Aug 2, 1961

Leaders of the New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP)

Successor to the CCF.

LEADERTENURE
Tommy DouglasAug 3, 1961 - Mar 23, 1971
David LewisMar 24, 1971 - Jul 6, 1975
Ed BroadbentJul 7, 1975 - Dec 4, 1989
Audrey McLaughlinDec 4, 1989 - Oct 13, 1995
Alexa McDonoughOct 14, 1995 - Jan 24, 2003
Jack LaytonJan 25, 2003 - Jul 28, 2011
Nycole Turmel (acting)Jul 28, 2011 - Mar 24, 2012
Thomas MulcairMar 24, 2012 -

Leaders of the Bloc Quebecois

LEADERTENURE
Lucien BouchardJul 25, 1990 - Jan 15, 1996
Gilles DuceppeJan 15, 1996 - Feb 16, 1996
Michel GauthierFeb 17, 1996 - Mar 14, 1997
Gilles Duceppe (2nd time)Mar 15, 1997 - Jun 2, 2011
Louis Plamondon (house leader)*Jun 2, 2011 - Dec 11, 2011
Daniel PailléDec 11, 2011 - Dec 16, 2013
André Bellavance (house leader)*Dec 16, 2013 - Feb 26, 2014
Jean-François Fortin (house leader)*Feb 26, 2014 - Jun 14, 2014
Mario BeaulieuJun 14, 2014 - Jun 10, 2015
Gilles Duceppe (3rd time)Jun 10, 2015 - Oct 22, 2015
Rhéal Fortin (acting)Oct 22, 2015 -

* Note: The Bloc Quebecois’ leadership system isn’t like that of other parties; when a leader abruptly resigns there is no official person serving as full-time, “acting leader.” The list above considers the floor leaders in the House of Commons to be the interim leaders, other lists sometimes consider the party president in this role.

Leaders of the Social Credit Party

LEADERTENURE
John H. Blackmore1935 - 1944
Solon Earl Low1944 - 1961
Robert Thompson1961 - Mar 1967
Alexander Patterson (acting)1967 - 1968
Party briefly collapsed. As leader of the rebel "Ralliement des Creditistes" faction, Real Caouette was recognized as de facto leader from around 1963 to 1971.1968-1971
Real Caouette1971 - 1976
André-Gilles Fortin1976 - 1977
Gilles Caouette (acting)1977 - 1978
Charles-Arthur Gauthier1978
Lorne Reznowski1978-1979
Charles-Arthur Gauthier (2nd time, acting)1979
Fabien RoyMar 30, 1979 - Nov 1, 1980
J. Martin HattersleyJul 3, 1980 - Jul 14, 1983
Ken Sweigard (acting)Jul 15, 1983 - Jun 21, 1986
Harvey LainsonJun 22, 1986 - Jul 26, 1987
Jim Keegstra (acting)Jul 27, 1987 - Aug ? 1987
Harvey Lainson (2nd time)Sep ? 1987 - 1990
Ken Campbell1990 - 1993

Quick Facts:

  • Every political party in Canada has a "leader" who serves as the party's highest authority.
  • Leaders serve as their party's candidate for prime minister during federal elections, and continue to be leader if they are elected.
  • Leaders are elected and re-elected by the members of their parties through periodic party conventions.
  • When a leader resigns, a minor politician from the party will often serve as acting or "interim" leader until a new leadership election is held.