PARLINFO

Federal government Section
Leadership of the Prime Minister's Office 1867 to Date

The organizational structure of the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) has traditionally been hierarchical in its design. At the upper echelons of this hierarchy resides the small circle of individuals entrusted with running the PMO. Depending on the personal approach of the Prime Minister, the duties of managing, administrating and co-ordinating the activities of the PMO might belong to the Principal Secretary, the Chief of Staff, or another key advisor.

The head of the PMO is granted virtually uninhibited access to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers. He or she oversees the activities of the Prime Minister’s staff, and can also serve as an important political adviser. In addition, the head of the PMO has the duty of liaising with the Privy Council Office (PCO), and attends the weekly meetings of the PCO’s senior staff as the representative of the PMO.

The functions served by the PMO, itself, have greatly evolved over time. In the ministries which followed Confederation, the Prime Minister’s secretaries mainly fulfilled basic service roles, such as responding to routine correspondence. In more recent times, with the institutionalization of the PMO, the raison d’être of the PMO and its staff has expanded to include a wider variety of tasks, including the provision of policy advice, information gathering, communications, planning, and strategizing.

SOURCES

  1. Biographies of Prime Ministers, popular and academic books on Canadian politics.
  2. Memo from Jack Pickersgill.
  3. Interviews with:
    • E.A. Pickering (King)
    • Jack Granatstein (King)
    • Gordon Roberston (Pearson Marc Lalonde)
    • Professor Waite (Thompson)
    • *Huguette Fournier (Pearson, Lalonde)
    • Tom Kent (Pearson)
*(Marc Lalonde's Secretary, Montréal - Office of Stikeman & Elliot.)

Nota bene: Secondary sources were used to complete this list. It should not be considered an official list.

 
Harper, Stephen (2006.02.06 - )
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Novak, Raymond Chief of Staff (2013.05.20 - )
Wright, Nigel S. Chief of Staff (2011 - 2013.05.19)
Giorno, Guy Chief of Staff (2008.07.01 - 2010.12.31)
Novak, Raymond Principal Secretary (2008.07.01 - 2013.05.19)
Brodie, Ian Chief of Staff (2006 - 2008.06.30)

Martin, Paul Edgar Philippe (2003.12.12 - 2006.02.05)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Fox, Francis Principal Secretary (2004 - 2006)

Chrétien, Joseph Jacques Jean (1993.11.04 - 2003.12.11)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Goldenberg, Edward Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor (2003.06.27 - 2003.12.11)
Downe, Percy E. Chief of Staff (2001.05.02 - 2003.06.26)
Pelletier, Jean Chief of Staff (1993.11.04 - 2001.05.01)

Campbell, A. Kim (1993.06.25 - 1993.11.03)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Riou, Jean Principal Secretary (1993 - 1993)

Mulroney, Martin Brian (1984.09.17 - 1993.06.24)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Roy, Michel Senior Advisor (1992 - 1993)
Segal, Hugh Senior Advisor (1991 - 1992)
Trbovich, Tom Senior Policy Advisor (1990 - 1991)
White, Peter G. Principal Secretary (1988 - 1989)
Roy, Bernard A. Principal Secretary (1984 - 1988)

Turner, John Napier (1984.06.30 - 1984.09.16)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Swift, John Principal Secretary (1984 - 1984)

Trudeau, Pierre Elliott (1980.03.03 - 1984.06.29)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Axworthy, Tom Principal Secretary (1981.07.23 - 1984)
Coutts, James A. Principal Secretary (1980 - 1981.07)

Clark, Charles Joseph (1979.06.04 - 1980.03.02)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Neville, William Chief of Staff (1979.06.13 - 1980)

Trudeau, Pierre Elliott (1968.04.20 - 1979.06.03)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Coutts, James A. Principal Secretary (1975.08.19 - 1979)
O'Connell, Martin Principal Secretary (1973.02.16 - 1974)
Lalonde, Marc Principal Secretary (1968.07.31 - 1972)

Pearson, Lester Bowles (1963.04.22 - 1968.04.19)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Lalonde, Marc
Tom Kent and Gordon Robertson think that Mr. Lalonde was in the position of principal secretary with Mr. Pearson. However, this has not been confirmed by Mr. Lalonde.
Special Adviser (1967.04 - 1968.07)
Hodgson, John Principal Secretary (1966 - 1967.04)
Kent, Tom Policy Secretary to the Prime Minister (1964 - 1965)
Kent, Tom Coordinator of Programming (1963 - 1964)

Diefenbaker, John George (1957.06.21 - 1963.04.21)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Richardson, Bert Special Assistant (1962 - 1963)
Fisher, John Special Assistant (1961 - 1962)
Guest, Gowen Executive Assistant (1958 - 1961)
Bedson, Derek Head PM's office (1957 - 1958)

St-Laurent, Louis Stephen (1948.11.15 - 1957.06.20)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Thomson, Dale Principal Secretary (1952 - 1953)
Asselin, Pierre Private Secretary (1952 - 1958.01.16)

King, William Lyon Mackenzie (1935.10.23 - 1948.11.14)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Matte, Gideon Private Secretary (1945 - 1948)
Pickersgill, Jack W. Special Assistant to Prime Minister (1945 - 1952)
Pickersgill, Jack W. Assistant Principal Secretary (1940 - 1945)
Turnbull, Walter J. Principal Secretary (1940 - 1945)
Heeney, Arnold Principal Secretary (1938.10 - 1940.03.22)
Pickering, E.A. Assistant Private Secretary (1935.10 - 1938.08)
Henry, Howard R.L. Private Secretary (1935 - 1935.10)

Bennett, Richard Bedford (1930.08.07 - 1935.10.22)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Maclean, Andrew D. Secretary (1931 - 1935)
Merriam, Arthur Private Secretary (1930 - 1935)
Finlayson, Rod Principal Senior Secretary (1930 - 1935)

King, William Lyon Mackenzie (1926.09.25 - 1930.08.06)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Baldwin, Harry Principal Private Secretary (1929.06 - 1930.08)
Rogers, Norman Assistant Secretary (1929 - 1930)
Measures, Howard Personal Secretary (1925 - 1930)

King, William Lyon Mackenzie (1921.12.29 - 1926.06.28)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Campney, Ralph title unknown (1924 - 1926)
Moyer, Leslie Clare Private Secretary (1922 - 1927)
Beaudry, Laurent Private Secretary (1921 - 1922)
McGregor, Fred A. Secretary (1921 - 1922)

Meighen, Arthur (1920.07.10 - 1921.12.28)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Christie, Loring Principal Advisor (External Affairs) (1920 - 1921)
Merriam, Arthur Principal Secretary (1920 - 1921)

Borden, Robert Laird (1911.10.10 - 1917.10.11)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Christie, Loring Principal Advisor (External Affairs) (1914 - 1920)
Blount, Austin Ernest Private Secretary (1911 - 1917)

Laurier, Wilfrid (1896.07.11 - 1911.10.06)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Lemaire, E.J. Private Secretary (1904 - 1912)

Tupper, Charles (1896.05.01 - 1896.07.08)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Blount, Austin Ernest title unknown (1896.05 - 1896.07)

Thompson, John Sparrow David (1892.12.05 - 1894.12.12)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Stewart, Douglas Secretary (1892 - 1894)

Abbott, John Joseph Caldwell (1891.06.16 - 1892.11.24)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Pope, Joseph
few months in 1892
Secretary (1892 - 1892)

Macdonald, John Alexander (1878.10.17 - 1891.06.06)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Pope, Joseph Private Secretary (1882 - 1891)
Pope, Joseph Under Private Secretary (1878 - )
White, Fred Private Secretary (1878 - 1882)

Mackenzie, Alexander (1873.11.07 - 1878.10.08)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Buckingham, William Secretary (1873 - 1878)

Macdonald, John Alexander (1867.07.01 - 1873.11.05)
NameTitleTerm (yyyy.mm.dd)
Bernard, Hewitt Private Secretary (1867 - )

^

Updated on: 2013.05.20

Revised on: 2013.05.21

© Library of Parliament