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Ranking Canada’s best and worst prime ministers

A survey of scholars across the country weigh in on Canada’s best and worst prime ministers, ranked in duration of their terms


 
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau speaks to supporters during a campaign stop in Toronto on Monday, August 17, 2015. (Darren Calabrese/CP)

Justin Trudeau speaks to supporters during a campaign stop in Toronto on Monday, August 17, 2015. (Darren Calabrese/CP)

As he approaches the end of his first year as Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau surfs a wave of publicity and goodwill. Stephen Harper is meanwhile consigned to oblivion—or worse. In the third Maclean’s prime ministers survey, carried out in the late summer of 2016, Trudeau has a substantial lead on Harper when experts are asked to assess the effectiveness of Canadian leaders.

Trudeau still has the shine of the new about him. He has the advantage of not carrying the load of almost 10 years of hard labour at the job, as Harper did, but there is more to it than that. According to scholars, commentators, and journalists, Trudeau has many more of the attributes Canadian prime ministers must have to be successful.

We set out to discover how Harper and Trudeau compare—both to one another, and to their predecessors. We also wanted to see if views on earlier prime ministers had changed over the years (previous Maclean’s surveys were conducted in 1997 and 2011), and to examine the qualities that drive successful Canadian leadership.

Our survey produced 123 responses from academics and journalists who are experts in history, politics, international relations and economics, making it the largest canvas of opinion on the subject ever undertaken in Canada.

This year’s survey probed deeply into what Canadian prime ministers must do to make a mark on their country. We wanted to know how the leaders managed their cabinets and their parties, communicated with the public, dealt with turbulent times, and how they demonstrated their honesty and integrity—or not. For the first time, we have separated our rankings into two lists, recognizing that it is unfair to compare leaders who served for a long time to those who were in office for only a few months—or, in some cases, only a few days. Here are those two lists:

CANADA'S BEST PMS_SHORT TERM

CANADA'S BEST PMS_LONGEST SERVING

Although Justin Trudeau appears on a different list than Stephen Harper, the gap between them is apparent. Respondents were asked to assess all the prime ministers on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (outstanding). Trudeau achieved a score of 3.27 out of 5, while Harper languished at 2.97. Yet can Trudeau’s impact last, as his father’s has? Will he measure up to the great prime ministers of Canada, or even the good ones, once the burdens of office bear heavily down on him?

The great prime ministers, according to our authorities, were William Lyon Mackenzie King, Wilfrid Laurier, and John A. Macdonald, who were closely clustered at the top of the list—except when experts were 30 years old or younger, or from Quebec.

For younger respondents, Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau tied for third, knocking Macdonald out of the elite three. Quebecers also put Pearson third, this time at the expense of Laurier, whom they ranked fourth. Trudeau tumbled all the way to seventh among Quebec experts.

World War II. From left: Canadian Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Second Quebec Conference, (codenamed OCTAGON), Quebec City, Canada, September 1944. (Everett Collection)

Canadian Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King (left), US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Second Quebec Conference, (codenamed OCTAGON), Quebec City, Canada, September 1944. (Everett Collection)

Among the experts there was consensus on the skills and traits that make for effective leadership. The fundamentals start with an aptitude for holding onto power. “Survival is the ultimate test of political leadership,” said Blair Neatby, who authored books on the durable Laurier and King. “How else can anything be accomplished?” King, Laurier, and Macdonald each had at least 15 years as prime minister and received the highest marks for winning and maintaining support of their party, the public, and Parliament.

Our experts also wanted to see a clear record of significant accomplishments, beyond the ability to cajole voters and manage immediate problems. Crucial also was a sensitivity to national unity, particularly in keeping relations between anglophones and francophones on an even keel. The highest-ranked leaders were those who had devoted their political lives to brokering compromise among the country’s diverse interests and distinct regions.

The experts have changed their criteria over three surveys. This time, large numbers of respondents commented on the way the prime ministers approached Indigenous issues and penalized those leaders who performed poorly in that respect. Experts were also more likely than in the past to make reference to a leader’s environmental policies.

All prime ministers face common challenges: staying in office; building a representative cabinet; holding together a country divided by linguistic and regional cleavages; and maintaining Canadian independence in the shadow of a powerful U.S. Still, many respondents commented on the challenge of evaluating leaders from different eras and contend that governments should be seen in the context of their circumstances. University of Calgary historian Patrick Brennan spoke of the importance of understanding prime ministers in their own times, not making them conform to ours.

For instance, Wilfrid Laurier was prime minister in the prosperous early 20th century, and Louis St. Laurent in the lush and tranquil 1950s—fortunate men both. R.B. Bennett took advantage of an economic downturn to win the election of 1930, only to endure the crisis of the Great Depression.

Steering the ship in bad weather was an important part of our experts’ evaluation. King’s repute rests heavily on his stewardship of the country through the six years of the Second World War. Robert Borden, the First World War prime minister, finished many places behind King because he drove Canadians apart at home in his zeal to win the great battles overseas. John Diefenbaker, in spite of attempts by the Harper government to burnish his reputation, is stuck in the ratings cellar, in large measure because he could not cope with the pressures of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and deteriorating relations with the United States.

When evaluating the prime ministers, many respondents considered the degree of difficulty, as is done in gymnastics or diving competitions. Duke University’s John Herd Thompson insisted that Louis St. Laurent had to be downgraded because “he presided over a Canada that was easier to govern domestically than it had been for any PM who preceded him.”

King, ranked No. 1 in the 1997 survey, regained the position of best prime minister that he lost to Wilfrid Laurier in the 2011 poll. As King specialist Hector Mackenzie pointed out, the longest-serving prime minister’s record is unmatched in Canadian politics and government. King gained independence from the British Empire; founded the welfare state; navigated the perils of the 1939-45 war and the early Cold War; smoothly guided his cabinet and caucus; intuitively understood and responded to popular attitudes; and made his Liberals the government party. Most of all, King never lost sight of Canadian unity, particularly in wartime. “He bridged the solitudes,” in the words of Frédéric Bastien, a professor at Dawson College in Montreal.

The solitudes did not include all Canadians. Nor was King’s Canada hospitable to Asian immigrants or the Jewish refugees of Europe. Stephanie Bangarth, an authority on human rights, put the spotlight on the Second World War “incarceration of Canadians of Japanese ancestry as a true black mark on Canadian history.” Even so, she could appreciate how good King was at his trade: “I both loathe and admire WLMK.”

Dean Oliver, director of research and chief curator at the Canadian Museum of History, said: “King was stubby, sweaty, and sneaky, but what a mind for tactics, openings, and leverage, for people and their foibles, for overarching strategies and destinations.”

King underwhelmed his contemporaries. His unappetizing personality is captured on almost every page of the hundreds of thousands of words in his obsessive daily diary, now preserved at Library and Archives Canada. He fascinates people today, mainly because of his eccentric private life, but when he was prime minister, he left little impression on Canadians unless it was to make them angry. “King would be unelectable today,” laments Jonathan Vance of Western University. “That says a lot about us as voters.”

Wilfrid Laurier, who ranked first in the 2011 survey and moves into second place this time, is an enduring favourite. “Who wouldn’t admire such an endearing, optimistic personality,” Patrick Brennan asked. “Probably our most intelligent prime minister, and certainly the most poetical,” wrote John English, director of the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History.

Réal Bélanger, co-editor of the Dictionnaire biographique du Canada and Laurier’s biographer, emphasized the first francophone prime minister’s cultural sophistication and intellect, linked to an abiding faith in tolerance and compromise as the way forward for an insecure, easily fractured and colonial Canada. Bélanger agreed with Barry Ferguson of the University of Manitoba that Laurier also opened up a new country to the world.

Barbara Messamore of the University of the Fraser Valley warned that sometimes Laurier’s compromises could be “a moral evasion,” as it was when he surrendered the constitutional rights of Manitoba’s French Catholic minority with a deal “that fundamentally represented an abandonment of those rights.”

Sir John A. MacDonald's statue in Kingston, Ontario on June 21, 2012. (Lars Hagberg/CP)

Sir John A. Macdonald’s statue in Kingston, Ontario on June 21, 2012. (Lars Hagberg/CP)

John A. Macdonald, prime minister for almost as long as King and during Canada’s precarious first years, falls from second to third place in the rankings.

“The man who made us,” Richard Gwyn’s biography of Macdonald shouts, and the experts were largely of a similar view, with important reservations. University of Victoria political scientist Reg Whitaker described John A’s use of grubby politics “in the service of an encompassing vision and sense of mission.”

Nipissing University’s Rob Gendron reported that his views had changed since the 2011 Maclean’s survey in light of revelations about the systemic and deliberate campaign mounted by Macdonald and his government against First Nations in the West.

Gendron was responding to scholarship examining Macdonald’s Indigenous policies more closely and declaring them unenlightened, even by the standards of the day. To clear the West for new settlers, Ottawa starved First Nations people and deprived the Metis of their land.

Last year’s final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission made it impossible for many observers to champion Macdonald, even as they acknowledged his unrivalled political acumen. “His policies toward Indigenous communities have left a scar on the country that has yet to heal,” declared Queen’s University doctoral student Andrew Sopko.

Robert Bothwell of the University of Toronto urged historical perspective. “Macdonald has been unfairly abused for being a man of the 19th century. He had moral failings, and was sometimes indifferent to or negligent of serious problems. He did not have our sensibilities, and had many of the characteristics of his period that at the time passed without comment because they were so widely held.”

Pierre Trudeau and Lester B. Pearson complete the upper echelon of prime ministers who have served four years or more. Pearson received almost exactly the same score as he did last time, but Trudeau has moved markedly ahead of him. Perhaps, in a curious twist, the father’s rise can be explained in part by his son’s current popularity.

But Pierre Trudeau can make it on his own. He brought the French fact to Ottawa and beyond, battled a Quebec separatist movement that seemed sure to succeed, and established a new Constitution with a revolutionary Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“For all his faults, [he is] the saviour of his country,” says historian Michael Bliss of Trudeau. But francophone Quebecers are apt to reject the claim, made so often in English Canada. Historian Éric Bédard told us that Trudeau “remade Canada, but in doing so completely isolated one of its founding communities. He was largely responsible for the near victory of the Yes side in the 1995 referendum.”

Pearson had a sunnier personality and has a reputation to match. The specialists who took part in the survey remembered a poor politician but a creative prime minister whose initiatives included the Canadian flag, medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, peacekeeping, and royal commissions on bilingualism and biculturalism and the status of women. Writing from Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Que., David Webster said: “Through an act of will and a willingness to see the need for changes, Pearson helped allow a better Canada to be born, instead of fighting those Canadians who were working to make the country a better and more just place.”

Brian Mulroney too was widely interpreted as a transformative prime minister. Queen’s University political scientist Kim Richard Nossal chose him as “best ever” because of “his long-term policy legacies,” including free trade with the United States, the Goods and Services Tax, and pension reform, as well as his focus on human rights internationally and the environment.

Jean Chretien Election Campaign 1997. (Andrew Stawicki/Toronto Star/Getty Images)

Jean Chretien during his election campaign in 1997. (Andrew Stawicki/Toronto Star/Getty Images)

The assessments of Jean Chrétien teetered between condemnations of his role in both the 1995 Quebec independence vote and the sponsorship scandal and compliments for the slaying of the budget deficit, for the Clarity Act that set rules for a future Quebec referendum, and for the decision to stay out of the Iraq war. Chrétien finished one place ahead of Mulroney, whose downfall in the survey came from his failure to achieve constitutional reform and, as University of Regina history professor Raymond Blake put it, “the revelations about his life after office that tarnished his remarkable record.”

Stephen Harper was 11th in the 2011 survey, when he was on the verge of forming a majority government. Five years later, he has moved up only one place in the rankings, having (in Kim Nossal’s phrasing) “frittered it away in a splurge of hubris and hyper-partisan nastiness.” Harper received the lowest scores of all the prime ministers in promoting Canadian interests abroad and communicating with the public.

Donald Wright of the University of New Brunswick was happy to see the end of one-party Liberal rule, but was dismayed by Harper’s policies on the environment and the Senate, and by “his shameful decision to go after Islamic women and the niqab during the 2015 election campaign.” Nova Scotia historian Ken Dewar concluded that what Harper left behind “was mainly destructive, which is not really surprising since the driving force of his rise to power seems to have been to dismantle the legacy of postwar Liberalism.”

In their criticisms of Harper, the experts make clear what they want their leaders to be. At their best, prime ministers set a tone of civility and unity. They govern for all Canadians. They make fundamental change by lifting up the country or shaking it to the roots. They leave Canada better than they found it.

Justin Trudeau fits the experts’ job description, but the hard work begins in the second year of his government. He has strong public support and weak opposition, and he has piled up the promises. He has to deliver.

Our experts identify one challenging opportunity for the current PM. Trudeau could put the full powers of the federal government behind an effort to tackle the problems of Indigenous dispossession and destitution. The national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is a step in the right direction, but it only deals with one aspect of a much larger issue. The Prime Minister will not have to solve the problems facing Indigenous peoples overnight, but he could wage war vigorously, systemically, and on many fronts, confronting not only the immediate problems of Indigenous health, education, and housing, but also the long-term complexities of self-government and access to land and resources.

The Prime Minister must frame his program not as a favour that Ottawa bestows on Indigenous peoples, but as a recognition that their rights have been too long denied. If Justin Trudeau does that, he could find himself near the front of the list in the Maclean’s survey of 2030.

Stephen Azzi is associate professor in the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management at Carleton University. Norman Hillmer is Chancellor’s Professor of History and International Affairs at Carleton University.

Methodology

In late August and early September 2016, we invited 187 experts in Canadian political history (economists, journalists, political scientists, historians, and international relations scholars) to complete a survey on Canada’s prime ministers. We received responses from 123. They were asked to vote for Canada’s best prime minister, to evaluate each prime minister on a five-point scale, and to rate the long-serving prime ministers (those with at least four years in office) in their abilities in several categories: effectively managing cabinet; winning and maintaining the support of the party, the public, and Parliament; converting promises into deeds; demonstrating personal integrity; leaving a significant policy legacy; communicating effectively with the public; defending and promoting Canadian interests abroad; fostering national unity; and managing turbulent times.


 

Ranking Canada’s best and worst prime ministers

  1. What a complete pile of hogwash. If you look at where these so called “experts” come from, it’s a pile of leftist progressive hotbeds. They score Chrétien and Trudeau senior very high for bringing Canada “together” when Chrétien very nearly lost the referendum that would have destroyed Canada and Trudeau”s policies have set separatist sentiments in Quebec and the west on fire. Then they say they rank Harper low for dividing the country when separatist sentiments had never been lower under his rule. They say they score high for rulers that have taken the country through rough times well but again they rank Harper near the bottom even though we managed to come through the worse global recession since the 1930’s in he best position of any country in the G20!-and still balanced the budget. Trudeau senior set off a wave of deficit spending and growth in government that took an entire generation to recover from. (Chrétien deserves credit for that). Harper’s signed more free trade deals that will make a lasting impression off Canada’s economy than any other PM. These so called “experts” confuse popularism with effectiveness. Let some time pass and the devastation of Trudeau Juniors policies and debt sink in and then let’s see where Mr Harper sits on this scale.

    • The reason Canada is the country it is today, is because of progressive liberal ideas, if Canada had to stay in a perpetual leadership of conservatism and it’s ideology, we would have our own church like England(Church of England), you know the one Henry the 8th invented in order to get his divorce, and that ideology still lives today even in Canada. Whenever I hear the word conservatism or conservative, I am reminded of the word FEAR, oh no, not that again.

      • I agree with you about the church thing. I really hate conservatism. Their favourite colour is brown and think Marconi is a giggle. They think they are the only ones in the ‘game’. Some even involve their children. Worst kept secret among Alberta youth who think it’s the Evangelicals who are solely responsible. If they only knew.

        I think not talking about Marconi is wrong. Holding a secret over people gives the perpetrators power. They stalk, break into my home, hack into my satellite and radio and I get the metaphoric kick to my head on a daily basis. Why? Because I’m a Muslim, at least that’s what one of neighbours’ think. I’m telling you it’s one of the worst kept secrets in Canada.

        How come no one told me we’re at war? should be a title to a book.

        Maybe it’s me posting or maybe it’s one of my housebreakers.

        I don’t speak Chinese, economics, German or stock markets.

      • Canada’s prosperity results from the stability from our inherited British democratic system and our abundant resources.

        The “progressives” contribution is unfortunately nothing more than the recent attempt to gerrymander our democratic system to ensure a permanent place at the public trough, and to render it impossible to sell our resources.

    • Enough with the CPC hogwash: Harper never balanced a budget as the stats show and only managed to conjure up the appearance of one by extending a budget year long enough to complete a fire sale of public assets. To be sure he bumbled through the financial meltdown but soon enough followed up with a second recession of his own devising which he proceeded to disown with a lot of jibber-jabber about technical versus ‘actual’ recessions.
      Chretian had the sponsorship scandal which is small potatoes dollar wise compared to Harper’s gazebo gate.

    • MAPS,
      You are absolutely right. Rather than a survey of academics perhaps they should get input from business people who try to create jobs. You’d find very few Liberals anywhere near the top of those results!!

  2. Very good article. Trudeau was instilled with values of how to respect people in todays world, he was taught humility and understanding, and was also taught how to be tough when it calls for it, he is the PM for this date in time to take our country in a new direction. The only other PM beside PET I have a lot of respect for, is MacKenzie King, the man who has stood in the shadows of WWII, even Canada doesn’t talk about King the way they talk about the other 2 leaders in that big picture on the battleship. Every time you see a documentary about Canada’s role in the second world war, King is never mentioned, even as a part of the North Atlantic Accord. King is the guy who sits next to Churchill and Roosevelt, and today I bet when looking at that picture of the Atlantic Accord with these 3 leaders, the first question most people would ask, who is that other man sitting next to Churchill and Roosevelt. That is the said part of our war history of the past, when people talk about the North Atlantic Accord, King is never mentioned, he will always be just the guy who sits next to Churchill and Roosevelt on the bow of that battleship, that day in Placentia Bay, NL..

    • King was a major a architect of WWII, and Beaverbrook got all the glory.

    • It appears these rankers value arrogance and narcissism. That’s all I’ve seen Trudeau demonstrate to date. For those who are in love with Liberalism, take a good look at the disaster they have created in Ontario. We now have the highest electrical costs in North America which is forcing businesses to leave, and many citizens to choose between paying their hydro bills or eating and we have a debt so large, that if Ontario was a sovereign nation, on per capita basis, it would be the most indebted nation in the world. Trudeau is heading in the same direction. His father, who was far smarter, also amassed record debt and left as his legacy 18% mortgage rates. Apropos to see that Trudeau Sr. got rated highly by these academics too. I’d suggest that MacLean’s run a survey with input from senior business people who actually try to create jobs through developing successful businesses and see what the real world thinks.

  3. La la la la la la. Please end this farce and close your doors. Liberal propaganda organs fool no one.

  4. I do hope the silliness of this article is apparent to everyone who reads it. Justin Trudeau has no business even being mentioned in this article,an honest journalist would have left the rookie out.

    If Macleans was to do an article on the greatest hockey players ever, would you include Connor McDavid and Auston Mathews along with Gordie Howe,Wayne Gretzky,and Bobby Orr?

    Yeah, ridiculous, and so is JT’s inclusion in an article about great Canadian PM’s.

  5. I’m generally encouraged by what I’ve seen of Trudeau so far, but I don’t think it makes all that much sense to rate someone who is still in office (and only about a year into his term; likewise, the really short-lived PMs are hard to rate at all). Of the people with any length of time in office, Bowell, whose poor leadership during the Manitoba Schools question seriously divided the country, seems the weakest to me.

    Diefenbaker probably deserves his comparably low rating, but I will say, he must be credited for at last restoring equal political rights for all Canadians by restoring First Nations voting rights. As well as his highly commendable, and solitary, stand against the Japanese-Canadian internment as a rookie MP during World War II.

    • The cancellation of the Avro Arrow

      That single act is still doing damage to Canada.

  6. You will definitely have to do better then this Slobbering Tribute of the Little Spud or you will NOT get any of the $1.5B that he gives to Trudeau Vision® (CBC)…..OR your Publishing Schedule will be Bi-Yearly..

  7. “… 123 responses from academics and journalists who are experts in history, politics, international relations and economics”

    All who live in the GTA.

    • Halifax and the Fraser Valley are in the GTA now? This seems to me to be a well-distributed group with representation from not only across the country but also from both large and small universities as well as a smattering of non-academic institutions.

  8. Your list is garbage, especially putting Trudeau so high. Like Obama, he comes in with big promises of hope and change, but the results are totally different. Stephen Harper was the best prime minister ever.

    • “Stephen Harper was the best prime minister ever”

      They why do so many hate him? Yes. Yes! Being a PM is in fact, by definition, a popularity contest. YOU may think he was the best PM ever, he may have actually been the best PM for YOU. But, for over half of us… we hated him, his policies, and had enough of his politics of division.

      • “But, for over half of us…”. What election did you participate in? 65% of voters preferred a leader other than Trudeau. Harper was the best thing to happen to Canada in a long, long time.
        As has generally been the case, two terms is about the best any leader can do before the populace grows tired and thinks it’s time for a change. But picking a snow boarder, come bouncer, come drama teacher will prove to be a grave error.
        His carbon tax is nothing more than a cash grab. Canada currently generates 732 mega tonnes of CO2 but, because of our vast forested and green areas, absorbs 920 meg tonnes of CO2. So Canada is consuming a net 188 mega tonnes of CO2 and making a huge contribution to reducing CO2 already. His carbon tax will result in the various governments collecting $36 billion in added taxes or $1000 for every man, woman and child. Since we are already making a major contribution to reducing CO2, the rationale for taking another $4000/ year from the average Canadian family is insane.

        • Yup, the vote was split. But… anyone but Harper. Yup, an inexperienced drama teacher won the day. Says a lot about the guy you love, doesn’t it? Clearly, a majority of Canadians do NOT think Harper was the best PM ever.

          As for the policies… international optics matter. Harper’s policies were heading for boycotts, Trudeau’s for acclaim. The reality on the ground, as you say, won’t matter much, but the optics do. As well, governments require taxes to operate. Shifting… SHIFTING taxes is how governments implement policy. Will taxes also go up? Probably, though they will go up more for those that buck the international consensus on climate change. But, that is the point, isn’t it?

  9. Popular, effective and transformative are different and disparate qualities. Macdonald’s expansionist colonialust vision was certainly formative in establishing the basic notion of a unified country and he remarkably managed to co-opt Nova Scotian and British Columbian politicians into a ‘forced marriage’ which was essential to the foundation of a sea-to-sea union but he also got lucky with a brief sea change in attitude in the British colonial office. Wiley at his best, his frequent drunken exploits and strident outbursts in parliament would in the modern era have been the subject of endless press coverage.
    One should perhaps start with prime ministers that presided over major break points in Canadian history:
    – Macdonald – establishing the notion of a single unified colony and the BNA act which slightly but importantly began the shift in colonial status
    – Cartier – negotiated the formal surrender of HBC lands facilitating the integration of western provinces and northern territories.
    – Robert Borden – at various turns established precedents for Canada operating independently in national and international affairs; gave women the right to vote.
    – John Diefenbaker – the Canadian Bill of Rights although largely ineffectual established the principle of certain basic inalienable human rights.
    – Lester Pearson – the Canadian Flag, a small but important step on casting off vestiges of British Colonialism; also established Canada’s image and role as a peacekeeper.
    – Pierre Trudeau – the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which placed basic human rights on a constitutional basis; a constitution act which formally made Canada a country rather than a colony; also establishment of the concept of a diverse society (which some rednecks decry as divisiveness, Harper none the least); also first PM to elevate women to important cabinet posts.
    As far as integrating first nations people, we are sadly still waiting for a PM to do something formative or at least reverse the damage done by colonial twits such as Francis Bond Head.

    • If we’re going to consider presiding over break points in Canadian history as a major criterion why is Mulroney’s successes in negotiating free trade omitted ?

  10. From a fiscal standpoint it has to be Trudeau Sr.
    Not only did he grow the Canadian debt 10 fold, but we are still paying interest (today) on that debt of $150 billion (in today’s $). He was PM for 15 years and ran deficits for 14 years. He actually has the record for the most back-to-back deficits of any PM. I cold go on ad nauseam.

    Second worse PM for me would be Kennedy’s puppet Pearson. And I only would rank him 2nd strictly because of the strong US influence he allowed in Canada at that time.

  11. I can’t believe this BS! I have cancelled my paper subscription to MacLeans for other reasons but this crap just reinforces it! Justinian shouldn’t even be on this list except as one of the worst pandering Libs next to his Daddy. For my money, Harper is unreasonably downgraded. And as for balancing general interests in Canada, I think King did a good job. Goodbye Emily one two and three and MacLeans!

      • If you leave, I might stay to provide some balance to MacLean’s Liberal B.S.

        • Maclean’s isn’t Liberal, and neither am I

          The media generally supports whatever party is in power….right up until the end when the knives come out on a bad govt.

          Cons, however, are partisan no matter what the topic…which is why you can’t have a conversation with them.

          • More Bullroar

    • Like I said Blacktop, no one can have a conversation with a Con……it’s all a campaign commercial

      10 years.

      • Emily,
        If you believe that MacLean’s doesn’t have a Liberal bias, you’re in La La land. And IF you are not a Liberal, I have to conclude you are either a socialist or a close friend of the drama teacher turned Prime Minister.

        • Jerome …..to you guys, EVERYthing has a Liberal bias

          Except it doesn’t.

  12. Kim Campbell didn’t do nearly as much damage in her 4 months as our current PM has in one year. Good God, even Paul Martin in 3 years didn’t do as much damage as JT has in one year!

    Who on Earth are these judges?

  13. As for rating Medical Doctors, it appears that bedside maner is the driver not results or competence plus in this case ideology.

  14. Joke Clark…2.3 out of 5? MacLean’s…you and your so called ‘experts’ are hillarious! Try 0 out of 5 for that dolt!

  15. Thank goodness it was not a partisan poll.

  16. Mulroney and Harper do not belong in the top ten. However, they would make the
    top of the list of the worst Prime Ministers in Canadian history. They are both so
    bad it is hard to say which one should claim the number one spot. The only place they ever belonged was as Masters of the Dark Arts at Hogwarts.

    • Your name says it all!! O, sorry, I thought the P in your last name was an F!! How much booze had you consumed when you came up with this line of crap before tucking yourself in with your teddy bear?

  17. I could have told you, without even opening the article that it would paint Trudeau and Liberals in general in a very, very positive light. More Liberal tinged garbage from Canadas newest tabloid mag at MacLeans.

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