Not being a political historian or very well versed in the ins and outs of Canadian prime ministers I am not in a place to offer a well supported list of the best PMs to counter the one provided by Bliss. (To be honest, after reading Bliss I am not sure why he ranks the PMs the way he does – hell he don’t even include some of them as more than passing mentions.) Of course this will not stop me from having a little fun and make an alternative, highly biased list!
The Bliss List:
1) William Lyon MacKenzie King
2) – tie – Sir John A MacDonald and Pierre Elliott Trudeau
4) Sir Robert Borden
5) Sir Wilfred Laurier
6) Lester Pearson
7) Louis St. Laurent
8 ) – tie – Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien
9) Alexander Mackenzie
11) John Diefenbaker
My List – in a vague order since the exact ranking changes depending on the day and including non-PMs
Pearson – excellent diplomate at the time when that was the kind of PM we needed, and because well “I like Mike” and there is a pub at Carleton named after him
MacDonald – I don’t care if he didn’t care much for the idea of Canada, he was entertaining and got stuff done
Tommy Douglas – seriously he was voted the “Greatest Canadian” is the father of medicare and Trudeau took a lot of credit for his ideas, just imagine if he had been PM…
Bennett – he was good with money, ego yes but what self-made millionaire isn’t, and imagine what he could have done if it wasn’t the Depression.
Laurier – just because he should be there, but he never stands out in my mind
Mackenzie of “Honest Sandy” – I love honest politicians, unfortunately it doesn’t get you a long term or much mention in the history books, and another one who was cursed by an economic depression – plus he declined a knighthood
Preston Manning – no one has done popularism better (not even Trudeau), he has the strangest accent/delivery, and I feel it is my duty as an Albertan to include him (I rarely agree with his policy and ideology but he was a strong voice for the west)
Trudeau – he will forever be marked in Alberta for the NEP and in Quebec just because it is Quebec, but the man had style, understood the usefulness of mass media and mastered it like no other PM has since
Martin and Clark – both suffered minorities after decades of strong majorities and where just too nice for the job and the times.
Mulroney – usually gets bad reviews (and for the most part deserves them), but his humanitarian record is solid, oh and he gave us the inescapable plague of Ben.
Chretien – possibly the most dishonest PM we’ve ever had, though he was playing the game better than John A (fat chance he invented the game) and abused his power to try and get away with figurative murder (Sponsorship Scandal is probably the tip of the iceberg)
Diefenbaker, Meighen, Borden, St. Laurent, and all the rest – meh.