Skip navigation links (access key: Z)Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives CanadaSymbol of the Government of Canada
Français - Version française de cette pageHome - The main page of the Institution's websiteContact Us - Institutional contact informationHelp - Information about using the institutional websiteSearch - Search the institutional - Government of Canada website

Archived Content

This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.

Graphical elementGraphical element
Alone at the Top
The Path to Power
Leading Canada
Private Life
Graphical element
Graphical element
Banner: First Among Equals: The Prime Minister in Canadian Life and Politics
Banner: Afterwards, with photos

"I've lived history, I've made history, and I know I'll have my place in history. That's not egoism."  -- John Diefenbaker, 1973

Only two Canadian prime ministers have died in office (Macdonald and Thompson). The others either retired from the position or were defeated in elections. Many served for a time as leader of the opposition, and a few even managed to regain the prime minister's office. Nonetheless, the time eventually comes when our leaders must give up the reins of power. Once retired from leadership, prime ministers either remain in Parliament or return to private life. It is only at this point, as they withdraw from the public stage, that we can start to assess their accomplishments and failures. This process is later followed by commemoration in both public art and popular culture. The desire to celebrate politicians who had previously been the object of criticism, if not hostility, results from a sometimes grudging recognition of their contributions to Canada.

Life After Leadership


Historical Perspective

previous next

Proactive Disclosure