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Prime Minister's Office

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO), a central agency that came into its own in the late 1960s. It differs from its counterparts in that it is staffed with temporary political appointees rather than full-time, career civil servants and has no statutory base, its budget being a component of the estimates for the Privy Council Office (PCO).


The Prime Minister determines the PMO's organization and role; its functions derive from his political responsibilities as leader of his party rather than as head of government, though in practice the division between these responsibilities is not clear, thereby providing opportunities for the PMO to trespass on the more purely administrative preserves of other central agencies. It is responsible for press and public relations, the PM's large correspondence, his speaking engagements, etc; it advises on candidates for appointment to the numerous order-in-council appointees, eg, directorships on crown corporations, members of regulatory commissions, on which the Prime Minister's recommendation is essential and decisive; it maintains contact with the party's officials outside the legislature and with the party caucus in the legislature; it generally serves as a listening post and a "gate-keeper" determining which matters will be brought to the Prime Minister's attention and ensuring that the political dimensions of public policies are not overlooked by the permanent bureaucracy.

Langevin Block
Langevin Block, Wellington Street
which houses the Prime Minister's Office
There is potential for overlap and competition with the Privy Council Office. The expansion of the personnel and functions of the PMO under The Right Honourable Pierre Trudeau was a clear reflection of the increasingly dominant role of the Prime Minister, as both head of government and head of party.

This trend was perpetuated when The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney became Prime Minister. The inherent tension between the political party-oriented role and the policy advisory functions of his PMO staff has given rise to contradictory conclusions that either the PMO is weak and failing to provide direction or else is too strong and trespassing on the turf of other central agencies - most notably the PCO.

Current PMO Staff

NameTitleTerm (
Butts, GerarldPrincipal Secretary(2015.11 - )
Telford, KatieChief of Staff(2015.11.04 - )
Bouchard, MathieuSenior Advisor(2015.11.04 - )
Reporter, CyrusSenior Advisor(2015.11.04 - )
Paris, RolandSenior Advisor(2015.11.04 - )
SOURCE: Government of Canada.

See also
Prime Minister
The Queen's Privy Council for Canada

External Links
Prime Minister of Canada Official Website

Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt