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Elections and Ridings Section
Federal Election Trivia Prime Ministers



Who was the oldest Prime Minister to take office?

The Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Tupper became Prime Minister May 1, 1896 at the age of 74 years and 10 months.

Who was the youngest Prime Minister to take office?

The Rt. Hon. Charles Joseph Clark became Prime Minister June 4, 1979 at the age of 39 years and 11 months.

Who was the longest serving Prime Minister?

The Rt. Hon. William Lyon Mackenzie King was Prime Minister for 21 years, 5 months and 1 day from December 29, 1921 to June 28, 1926, from September 25, 1926 to August 6, 1930 and from October 23, 1935 to November 14, 1948.

Who was the shortest serving Prime Minister?

The Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Tupper was Prime Minister for 2 months and 7 days from May 1 to July 8, 1896.

Which Prime Minister ran in the most federal elections while serving as Prime Minister?

The Rt. Hon. Wilfrid Laurier, while serving as Prime Minister, ran and was elected in 8 federal elections between1896 and 1911.

Which Prime Minister won the most consecutive elections with a governmental majority?

The Rt. Hon. John Alexander Macdonald (Liberal Conservative) won 4 consecutive elections (September 17, 1878, June 6, 1882, February 2, 1887 and March 5, 1891) with a governmental majority.

Wilfrid Laurier (Liberal) also won 4 consecutive elections (June 23, 1896, November 11, 1900, November, 3, 1904 and October 10, 1908) with a governmental majority.

Has Canada ever had a woman as Prime Minister?

The Rt. Hon. A. Kim Campbell was the first woman to become Prime Minister of Canada on June 25, 1993, although the Hon. Ellen Louks Fairclough served as Acting Prime Minister in 1958 for 2 days.

Which Canadian Prime Minister is known to have said: "The right to vote is one of the great privileges of democratic society, for after all it is you the people, not the Gallup poll, who determine into whose hands the guidance of public affairs may best be entrusted."?

The Rt. Hon. John G. Diefenbaker, June 15, 1962.

On how many occasions did a Prime Minister lose his or her seat in a general election?

A Prime Minister has lost his seat in a general election on 5 different occasions:

The Rt. Hon. Arthur Meighen, while Prime Minister from July 10, 1920 to December 28, 1921, lost his Portage la Prairie, Manitoba seat in the December 6, 1921 general election. With the defeat of the Government in the general election, Meighen resigned from office. He was however re-elected to the House of Commons in a January 26, 1922 by-election for the riding of Grenville, Ontario.

The Rt. Hon. William Lyon Mackenzie King, while Prime Minister from December 29, 1921 to June 28, 1926, lost his York North, Ontario seat in the October 29, 1925 general election. King did not resign from office and was re-elected to the House of Commons in a February 15, 1926 by-election for the riding of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

The Rt. Hon. Arthur Meighen, while Prime Minister from June 29, 1926 to September 24, 1926, lost his Portage la Prairie, Manitoba seat in the September 14, 1926 general election. Following the defeat of the Government in the general election, Meighen resigned from office.

The Rt. Hon. William Lyon Mackenzie King, while Prime Minister from October 23, 1935 to November 14, 1948, lost his Prince Albert, Saskatchewan seat in the June 11, 1945 general election. King did not resign from office and was re-elected to the House of Commons in an August 6, 1945 by-election for the riding of Glengarry, Ontario.

 

What happens if a Prime Minister (or Party Leader) loses his or her seat in an election?

"... the prime ministership (premiership), like the parties, 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, from 1891 to 1892 and from 1894 to 1896). A non-Member could hold the office but would, by custom, have to get elected to a seat very soon. A Prime Minister may lose his or her seat in an election, but can remain in office as long as the party has sufficient support in the House of Commons to be able to govern, though again, he or she must, by custom, win a seat very promptly. The traditional way of arranging this is to have a Member of the party resign, thereby creating a vacancy, which gives the defeated Prime Minister the opportunity to run in a by-election. (This arrangement is also followed when the Leader of the Opposition or other party leader is not a Member.)"

(Source: How Canadians Govern Themselves)

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Updated on: 2008.12.03

Revised on: 2011.06.01

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