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Banner: First Among Equals: The Prime Minister in Canadian Life and Politics
Leading Canada

Once a person is prime minister, the real work starts: running the country. The prime minister must pay attention to the wants and needs of many different groups.

Did you know? Stephen Harper is our 22nd prime minister. Stephen Harper is the first Conservative prime minister of Canada since 1993. On October 15, 2003, he signed an agreement in principle with Progressive Conservative Party leader Peter MacKay to create the Conservative Party of Canada. In March 2004, Harper received a mandate from Conservative Party members to lead the new party. Following the January 23, 2006 federal election, the Conservative Party will form a minority government.

Key Word

  • mandate:
    • The political authority that voters give to a candidate that wins an election.
  • federal election:
    • The party that wins the most ridings in a general federal election is asked by the governor general to form the government. The leader of that party becomes the prime minister of Canada. If the party wins in more than 154 ridings, it will have a majority government, which makes it much easier to get legislation passed in the House of Commons.
  • minority government:
    • If the winning party wins 154 seats or fewer, it will form a minority government. In order to get legislation through the House, a minority government usually has to adjust policies to get enough votes from members of Parliament of other parties. A minority government must constantly work to maintain the confidence of the House of Commons in order to stay in power.