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

Only two prime ministers died in office: Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir John Thompson. The others retired, resigned or were defeated in elections. Once retired from leadership, prime ministers can stay in Parliament or do other things. When a prime minister or former prime minister dies, Canadians usually are very sad. When Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, John Diefenbaker and Pierre Trudeau died, many thousands of people came to pay their respects.

We also remember prime ministers in other ways. On our money, there are pictures of Sir Robert Borden ($100), Mackenzie King ($50), Macdonald ($10) and Laurier ($5).


Key Phrase

  • to pay respects:
    • People pay their respects by visiting the family or the coffin of the person who died, or by writing a note. It is a way to say that you care and share the family's sadness.