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Prime Minister

The Prime Minister is the leader of the party with the most seats in the House of Commons. He or she is not elected directly by the public nor is he or she limited to a number of years in office. On top of all this, the Prime Minister has considerable power because he or she controls the House of Commons - much more than the President of the United States who is separate from the elected Members of Congress. The Prime Minister is 2nd on the Canadian Order of Precedence.


Role and Responsibilities

The Prime Ministership is not created by law, though it is recognized by the law. The Prime Minister is normally a member of the House of Commons (there have been two from the Senate, Abbott from 1891 to 1892 and Bowell from 1894 to 1896). A non-member could hold the office (Turner in 1984) but would, by custom, have to get elected to a seat very soon (Turner was his seat in a general election that year but his party lost power). A Prime Minister may lose his or her seat in an election, but can remain in office as long as the party keeps a majority in the House of Commons, though again, he or she must, by custom, win a seat very promptly (King lost his seat in 1925 but his party retained power; he won a seat in a by-election early in 1926). The traditional way of arranging this is to have a member of the majority party resign, thereby creating a vacancy, which gives the defeated Prime Minister of non-member party leader the opportunity to run in a by-election.

The Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor General. Ordinarily, the appointment is automatic - going to the leader of the party with the most seats in the House of Commons. If the opposition wins more than half the seats in an election, or if the government is defeated in the House of Commons and resigns, the Governor General must call on the leader of the opposition to form a new government.

The Prime Minister used to be described as "the first among equals" in the cabinet, or as "a moon among minor stars." This is no longer so. He or she is now incomparably more powerful than any colleague. The Prime Minister chooses the ministers in the first place, and can also ask any of them to resign; if the minister refuses, the Prime Minister can advise the Governor General to remove that minister and the advice would invariably be followed. Cabinet decisions do not necessarily go by majority vote. A strong Prime Minister, having listened to everyone's opinion, may simply announce that his or her view is the policy of the government, even if most, or all, the other ministers are opposed. Unless the dissenting ministers are prepared to resign, they must bow to the decision.

The official residence of the Prime Minister is found right across the road from Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General. 24 Sussex Drive (officially called Gorffwysfa - the Welsh word meaning place of peace) has been the official residence of the prime minister since 1950. The house is situated on the cliffs above the Ottawa River, in sight of the Parliament buildings. The Prime Minister also has an official summer residence at Harrington Lake, Quebec.

Gorffwysfa, OttawaHarrington Lake, Quebec
GorffwysfaHarrington Lake

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau

Justin was first elected to Parliament in the Montreal riding of Papineau in 2008, defying political insiders who believed that a federalist candidate would have little chance against an incumbent member of the Bloc Québécois. For Justin, the people of Papineau – 50 percent of whom speak neither French nor English as their mother tongue – exemplify Canada’s rich diversity, evolving identity, and the struggle for equality of opportunity. He has served the hard working middle class families and small businesses of his constituency, who, in recent years, have faced economic challenges. He has worked alongside local community organisations by bringing together different cultures and religions, and establishing local initiatives on social issues, the environment, and the arts.

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
The Right Honourable
Justin Trudeau
As a Member of Parliament, Justin has had many responsibilities including the Liberal Party Critic for Youth, Post-Secondary Education, Amateur Sports, Multiculturalism, and Citizenship and Immigration. Furthermore, he previously sat on the Parliamentary Committees on Environment and Sustainable Development and Citizenship and Immigration.

As a Parliamentarian, and prior to that, Justin travelled the country and met with Canadians in every region, consistently speaking about shared values, the importance of youth empowerment, protecting our wilderness, and living up to our place in the world. Some of Justin’s proudest accomplishments include his advocacy for victims of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, his activism to protect the Nahanni river in the Northwest Territories in 2005 and holding the post of chair of Katimavik, Canada’s national youth service program, from 2002 to 2006. At the heart of Justin’s professional achievements – whether as a math and French teacher in British Columbia, or his leadership role in Katimavik, or even his strong defense of Quebec as a Member of Parliament – is a deep respect for Canadians from coast to coast to coast and his desire to serve them.

On April 14, 2013, Justin was elected Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada in the most open and accessible leadership election in Canadian history, in which tens of thousands of Canadians participated.

Justin has a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University, and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia. He was born on December 25, 1971, the eldest son of the late former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Margaret Sinclair Trudeau Kemper. Justin is married to Sophie Grégoire. The couple welcomed their first child, Xavier James Trudeau on October 18, 2007 and added to their family with the arrival of Ella-Grace Trudeau on February 5, 2009, and Hadrien Trudeau on February 28, 2014.

SOURCES: Prime Minister of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada.

See also
Prime Minister's Office
Former Prime Ministers of Canada
Length of Terms of Former Prime Ministers
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Official Residences
Deputy Prime Minister

External Links
Prime Minister of Canada Official Website

Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt