Friday, June 10, 2011

Who's on top?

Macleans updates it's 1997 list ranking Canada's Best PMs, and produces the following top 10:

1. Wilf
2. Johnny Mac
3. The Lyon
4. Mikey B
5. PET
6. JC
7. Uncle Louis
8. Robbie B
9. Lyin' Brian
10. The Chief

From top to bottom, it's a well researched and thoughtful list. As someone who has read many Prime Ministerial bios and studied this in school, I'm not sure I would have shifted anyone on the list by more than a few spots from where they wound up (though I'd personally rank Macdonald first).

As some of you may recall, I ran a bracket-style contest along these lines on this blog in 2005 and, sure enough, Laurier defeated Macdonald in the final by a 403-340 vote. King and Trudeau both fell in the semi-finals.

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  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 3:36 p.m.  

  • I personaly think that Louis St. Laurent should be first in this list.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 3:37 p.m.  

  • No.1 - MacDonald
    No.2 - Stephen Harper

    Too early to judge? Only if you hve your fingers crossed that he'll be a disaster. If that's the case, then you must have awful finger cramps from 6 years of crossing.

    By Anonymous Toronto Blue, at 8:13 p.m.  

  • Toronto Blue is a lunatic. Stephen Harper is the worst thing to ever happen to this country.

    Worse than New Coke.

    Worse than the McRib.

    Worse than a bed of supersharp nails at the end of a razor-lined slide.

    Worse than six-weeks in a confined area with Gilbert Godfried.

    Stephen Harper makes me wish I lived in Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

    By Anonymous Canadians for Ignatieff, at 8:17 p.m.  

  • Some of these calls are ridiculous. Pearson as #4? Mulroney as #9 and Dief as 10#? Seriously??? These last two were absolute disasters as Prime Minister. Pearson I think does well in these surveys because he is perceived as reflecting 'Canadian values' - peacekeeping, the welfare state, bumbling and fumbling through somehow. He was a great diplomat and an intelligent, kindly man, but he was a weak, weak leader and a piss-poor politician. Basically he was Canada's Adlai Stevenson.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:27 p.m.  

  • I like Brian Mulroney, he had a truly national party and was a bold politican.

    I'm not saying he was the best but I definitely respect him, he obviously has had his screw ups but I think overall his term as Prime Minister was succesful.

    I think Jean Chretien was also a great Prime Minister. He never tried to implement bold changes like Mulroney, becuase prople didn't want him to, but he did a lot of great. The Liberals need to look at Chretien's premiership and realize that is the direction the party needs to go in in the future.

    By Blogger Jordan, at 10:40 p.m.  

  • Let's look at it from a more abstract view: what defining act or characteristic made our Prime Ministers "Great"?

    Mulroney modernized our consumption tax system, replacing the horrid Manufacturer's Sales Tax with the hated - but visible - Goods & Services Tax.

    Chretien brought in more modern Party financing rules to reduce the effect that big businesses could exert over politics. (Harper has promised to advance that effort further, but that story is not yet complete).

    MacDonald brought together disparate Provinces under Confederation.

    Trudeau patriated the Constitution. And while some will argue that the Charter of Rights & Freedoms has been a disaster, this ranking is not about the political judgement of an action but about the desire to do what that politician believes is right for the People of Canada.

    What defines our other PMs?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:48 p.m.  

  • I can't believe PET and JC rate as high as they do. Personally I prefer Kim Campbell to both of them.

    By Blogger Joe, at 4:19 p.m.  

  • Honestly, #18-20 and 22 on that list are hardly worth ranking, solely because of the shortness of their tenure; they really can't be compared to people who actually had the space to do something. I'd almost say that for Bowell too, but he is, to my mind, easily the worst prime minister the country had; he was an anti-Catholic and anti-French bigot whose idiocy greatly exacerbated the Manitoba Schools Question and did great damage to his own party.

    Meighen and Clark too arguably shouldn't be included (though Meighen's career as a minister, if considered, would also earn him a place near the bottom).

    To my mind, Borden is the hardest to judge. He was generally a good wartime leader, and he made enormous, enormous contributions to the development of Canadian independence (ironically, given that he was elected in 1911 on an imperial unity platform), but his handling of the conscription crisis and the blatant attempts to manipulate the ensuing federal election show an appalling lack of judgement.

    By Blogger Sean C, at 12:07 p.m.  

  • The leaders have generally been ranked based on how their fared electorally, with Pearson the most glaring exception to that.

    And I agree it's awfully hard to rank the place holders on this list, unless you consider the rest of their careers. For Campbell, Turner, Tupper, etc, you're basically ranking them on their success running campaigns rather than their success as Prime Ministers.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:29 p.m.  

  • Oh my god, there is a great deal of worthwhile data above!

    By Anonymous tablet pc windows, at 5:41 a.m.  

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