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Canadian Parliamentsmarker are the legislative bodies of the Government of Canada. They are composed of the Canadian House of Commons (lower house), the Canadian Senate (upper house), and the Sovereign, represented by the Governor General. Most major legislation originates from the House, as it is the only body that is directly elected. A new parliament begins after an election of the House of Commons and can sit for up to five years. The number of seats in parliament has varied as new provinces joined the country and as population distribution between the provinces changed; there are currently 308 MPs and 105 Senators (when there are no vacancies).

Canada uses a Westminster-style parliamentary government, in which the leader of the party with the most seats in the House of Commons becomes Prime Minister, even if he or she is not an elected member of parliament. The leader of the party with the second-most seats in the House becomes the Leader of the Opposition, and debate (formally called Oral Questions) between the parties is presided over by the Speaker of the House. When the party with the most seats has less than half of the total number of seats, it forms a minority government, which can be voted out of power by the other parties. The Canadian Parliament is located at Parliament Hillmarker in the capital city, Ottawamarker.

The current assembly is the 40th Canadian Parliament since the confederation of Canada in 1867.


Parliaments

Diagram Parliamentmarker
election
sessions

From
To
Governing Party
(Seat Count as of election)
Prime Minister and Ministry Official Opposition Party and Leader Other Parties with Official status Speaker of the House
1st Canadian Parliament
elected 1867
—(5 sessions)

Nov. 6, 1867
Jul.

8, 1872
Conservative Party
(100 of 180 House seats)
Sir John A. Macdonald
1st Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
Edward Blake
Anti-Confederation Party James Cockburn
2nd Canadian Parliament
elected 1872
—(2 sessions)

Mar. 5, 1873
...
Conservative Party
(99 of 200 House seats)
Sir John A. Macdonald
1st Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
Alexander Mackenzie
none James Cockburn
Nov. 7, 1873
Jan.

2, 1874
Liberal Party minority
(95 of 200 House seats)
Alexander Mackenzie
2nd Canadian Ministry
Conservative Party:
Sir John A.

Macdonald
3rd Canadian Parliament
elected 1874
—(5 sessions)

Mar. 26, 1874
Aug.

17, 1878
Liberal Party
(129 of 206 House seats)
Alexander Mackenzie
2nd Canadian Ministry
Conservative Party:
Sir John A.

Macdonald
none Timothy Warren Anglin
4th Canadian Parliament
elected 1878
—(4 sessions)

Feb. 13, 1879
May 18, 1882
Conservative Party
(134 of 206 House seats)
Sir John A. Macdonald
3rd Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
Alexander Mackenzie (1878-1880)
Edward Blake (1880-1882)

none Joseph Godéric Blanchet
5th Canadian Parliament
elected 1882
—(4 sessions)

Feb. 8, 1883
Jan.

15, 1887
Conservative Party
(133 of 211 House seats)
Sir John A. Macdonald
3rd Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
Edward Blake
none George Airey Kirkpatrick
6th Canadian Parliament
elected 1887
—(4 sessions)

Apr. 13, 1887
Feb.

3, 1891
Conservative Party
(122 of 215 House seats)
Sir John A. Macdonald
3rd Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
Edward Blake (1887)
Wilfrid Laurier (1887-1896)

none Joseph-Aldéric Ouimet
7th Canadian Parliament
elected 1891
—(6 sessions)

Apr. 29, 1891
...
Conservative Party
(117 of 215 House seats)
Sir John A. Macdonald
3rd Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
Wilfrid Laurier
none Peter White
Jun. 16, 1891
...
Sir John Abbott
4th Canadian Ministry
Dec 5, 1892
...
Sir John Thompson
5th Canadian Ministry
Dec 21, 1894
Apr.

24, 1896
Sir Mackenzie Bowell
6th Canadian Ministry
8th Canadian Parliament
elected 1896
—(5 sessions)

Aug. 19, 1896
Oct.

9, 1900
Liberal Party
(117 of 213 House seats)
Sir Wilfrid Laurier
8th Canadian Ministry
Conservative Party:
Sir Charles Tupper
none James David Edgar (1896-1899)
Thomas Bain (1899-1900)
9th Canadian Parliament
elected 1900
—(4 sessions)

Feb. 6, 1901
Sep.

29, 1904
Liberal Party
(128 of 213 House seats)
Sir Wilfrid Laurier
8th Canadian Ministry
Conservative Party:
Robert Borden
none Louis Philippe Brodeur (1901-1904)
Napoléon Antoine Belcourt (1904)
10th Canadian Parliament
elected 1904
—(4 sessions)

Jan. 11, 1905
Sep.

17, 1908
Liberal Party
(137 of 214 House seats)
Sir Wilfrid Laurier
8th Canadian Ministry
Conservative Party:
Robert Borden
none Robert Franklin Sutherland
11th Canadian Parliament
elected 1908
—(3 sessions)

Jan. 20, 1909
Jul.

29, 1911
Liberal Party
(133 of 221 House seats)
Sir Wilfrid Laurier
8th Canadian Ministry
Conservative Party:
Robert Borden
none Charles Marcil
12th Canadian Parliament
elected 1911
—(7 sessions)
Nov. 15, 1911
...
Conservative Party
(132 of 221 House seats)
Sir Robert Borden
9th Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
Sir Wilfrid Laurier
none Thomas Simpson Sproule (1911-1915)
Albert Sévigny (1916-1917)
13th Canadian Parliament
elected 1917
—(5 sessions)

Mar. 18, 1918
...
Unionist coalition
(153 of 235 House seats)
Sir Robert Borden
10th Canadian Ministry
Laurier Liberals:
Sir Wilfrid Laurier (1918-1919)
Daniel Duncan McKenzie (1919)
William Lyon Mackenzie King (1919-1921)


none Edgar Nelson Rhodes
Jul. 7, 1920
Oct.

4, 1921
National Liberal and Conservative Party
(153 of 235 House seats)
Arthur Meighen
11th Canadian Ministry
14th Canadian Parliament
elected 1921
—(4 sessions)

Mar. 8, 1922
Sep.

5, 1925
Liberal Party
(118 of 235 House seats)
William Lyon Mackenzie King
12th Canadian Ministry
Conservative Party:
Arthur Meighen
Progressive Party Rodolphe Lemieux
15th Canadian Parliament
elected 1925
—(1 session)

Jan. 7, 1925
...
Liberal Party minority
(100 of 245 House seats)
William Lyon Mackenzie King
12th Canadian Ministry
Conservative Party:
Arthur Meighen
Progressive Party Rodolphe Lemieux
Jun. 29, 1926
Jul.

2, 1926
Conservative Party minority
(115 of 245 House seats)
Arthur Meighen
13th Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
William Lyon Mackenzie King
16th Canadian Parliament
elected 1926
—(4 sessions)

Dec. 9, 1926
May 30, 1930
Liberal Party minority
(116 of 245 House seats)
William Lyon Mackenzie King
14th Canadian Ministry
Conservative Party:
Hugh Guthrie (1926-1927)
Richard Bennett (1927-1930)

none Rodolphe Lemieux
17th Canadian Parliament
elected 1930
—(6 sessions)

Sep. 8, 1930
Aug.

14, 1935
Conservative Party
(134 of 245 House seats)
Richard Bennett
15th Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
William Lyon Mackenzie King
none George Black (1930-1935)
James Langstaff Bowman (1935)
18th Canadian Parliament
elected 1935
—(6 sessions)

Feb. 6, 1936
Jan.

25, 1940
Liberal Party
(173 of 245 House seats)
William Lyon Mackenzie King
16th Canadian Ministry
Conservative Party:
Richard Bennett (1936-1938)
Robert Manion (1938-1940)

Social Credit Party Pierre-François Casgrain
19th Canadian Parliament
elected 1940
—(6 sessions)

May 16, 1940
Apr.

16, 1945
Liberal Party
(179 of 245 House seats)
William Lyon Mackenzie King
16th Canadian Ministry
Conservative Party:
Richard Hanson (1940-1942)
Gordon Graydon (1943-1945)

none James Allison Glen
20th Canadian Parliament
elected 1945
—(5 sessions)

Sep. 6, 1945
...
Liberal Party
(118 of 245 House seats)
William Lyon Mackenzie King
16th Canadian Ministry
Progressive Conservative Party:
John Bracken (1945-1948)
George Drew (1948-1949)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
Social Credit Party
Gaspard Fauteux
Aug. 7, 1948
Apr.

30, 1949
Louis St. Laurent
17th Canadian Ministry
21st Canadian Parliament
elected 1949
—(7 sessions)
Sep. 15, 1949
Jun.

13, 1953
Liberal Party
(191 of 262 House seats)
Louis St. Laurent
17th Canadian Ministry
Progressive Conservative Party:
George Drew
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation William Ross Macdonald
22nd Canadian Parliament
elected 1953
—(5 sessions)

Nov. 12, 1953
Apr.

12, 1957
Liberal Party
(169 of 265 House seats)
Louis St. Laurent
17th Canadian Ministry
Progressive Conservative Party:
George Drew (1953-1954)
William Earl Rowe (1954-1955)
George Drew (1955-1956)
John Diefenbaker (1956-1957)



Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
Social Credit Party
Louis-René Beaudoin
23rd Canadian Parliament
elected 1957
—(1 session)
Oct. 14, 1957
Feb.

1, 1958
Progressive Conservative Party minority
(111 of 265 House seats)
John Diefenbaker
18th Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
Louis St. Laurent (1957-1958)
Lester B.



Pearson (1958)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
Social Credit Party
Roland Michener
24th Canadian Parliament
elected 1958
—(5 sessions)

May 12, 1958
Apr.

19, 1962
Progressive Conservative Party
(208 of 265 House seats)
John Diefenbaker
18th Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
Lester B.

Pearson
none Roland Michener
25th Canadian Parliament
elected 1962
—(1 session)
Sep. 27, 1962
Feb.

6, 1963
Progressive Conservative Party minority
(116 of 265 House seats)
John Diefenbaker
18th Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
Lester B.

Pearson
Social Credit Party
New Democratic Party
Marcel Lambert
26th Canadian Parliament
elected 1963
—(3 sessions)

May 16, 1963
Sep.

8, 1965
Liberal Party minority
(128 of 265 House seats)
Lester B. Pearson
19th Canadian Ministry
Progressive Conservative Party:
John Diefenbaker
Social Credit Party
New Democratic Party
Alan Macnaughton
27th Canadian Parliament
elected 1965
—(2 sessions)

Jan. 18, 1966
Apr.

23, 1968
Liberal Party minority
(131 of 265 House seats)
Lester B. Pearson
19th Canadian Ministry
Progressive Conservative Party:
John Diefenbaker (1966-1967)
Michael Starr (1967)
Robert Stanfield (1967-1968 in the House)


New Democratic Party Lucien Lamoureux
28th Canadian Parliament
elected 1968
—(4 sessions)

Sep. 12, 1968
Sep.

1, 1972
Liberal Party
(154 of 264 House seats)
Pierre Trudeau
20th Canadian Ministry
Progressive Conservative Party:
Robert Stanfield
New Democratic Party
Ralliement créditiste
Lucien Lamoureux
29th Canadian Parliament
elected 1972
—(2 sessions)

Jan. 4, 1973
May 9, 1974
Liberal Party minority
(109 of 264 House seats)
Pierre Trudeau
20th Canadian Ministry
Progressive Conservative Party:
Robert Stanfield
New Democratic Party
Social Credit Party
Lucien Lamoureux
30th Canadian Parliament
elected 1974
—(4 sessions)

Sep. 30, 1974
Mar.

26, 1979
Liberal Party
(141 of 264 House seats)
(76 of 98 Senate seats)

Pierre Trudeau
20th Canadian Ministry
Progressive Conservative Party:
Robert Stanfield (1974-1976)
Joe Clark (1976-1979)

New Democratic Party James Alexander Jerome
31st Canadian Parliament
elected 1979
—(1 session)
Oct. 9, 1979
Dec.

14, 1979
Progressive Conservative Party minority
(136 of 282 House seats)
(18 of 95 Senate seats)

Joe Clark
21st Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
Pierre Trudeau
New Democratic Party James Alexander Jerome
32nd Canadian Parliament
elected 1980
—(2 sessions)

Apr. 14, 1980
...
Liberal Party
(147 of 282 House seats)
(71 of 102 Senate seats)

Pierre Trudeau
22nd Canadian Ministry
Progressive Conservative Party:
Joe Clark (1980-1983)
Brian Mulroney (1983-1984)

New Democratic Party Jeanne Sauvé (1980-1984)
Cyril Lloyd Francis (1984)
Jun. 30, 1984
Jul.

9, 1984
John Turner
23rd Canadian Ministry
33rd Canadian Parliament
elected 1984
—(2 sessions)

Nov. 5, 1984
Oct.

1, 1988
Progressive Conservative Party
(211 of 282 House seats)
(23 of 101 Senate seats)

Brian Mulroney
24th Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
John Turner
New Democratic Party John William Bosley (1984-1986)
John Allen Fraser (1986-1988)
34th Canadian Parliament
elected 1988
—(3 sessions)

Dec. 12, 1988
...
Progressive Conservative Party
(169 of 295 House seats)
(36 of 98 Senate seats)

Brian Mulroney
24th Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
John Turner (1988-1990)
Herb Gray (1990)
Jean Chrétien (1990-1993)


New Democratic Party John Allen Fraser
Jun. 26, 1993
Sep.

8, 1993
Kim Campbell
25th Canadian Ministry
35th Canadian Parliament
elected 1993
—(2 sessions)

Jan. 17, 1994
Apr.

27, 1997
Liberal Party
(177 of 295 House seats)
(58 of 104 Senate seats)

Jean Chrétien
26th Canadian Ministry
Bloc Québécois:
Lucien Bouchard (1994-1996)
Gilles Duceppe (1996)
Michel Gauthier (1996)
Gilles Duceppe (1996-1997)



Reform Party Gilbert Parent
36th Canadian Parliament
elected 1997
—(2 sessions)

Sep. 22, 1997
...
Liberal Party
(155 of 301 House seats)
(51 of 104 Senate seats)

Jean Chrétien
26th Canadian Ministry
Reform Party:
Preston Manning
Bloc Québécois
New Democratic Party
Progressive Conservative Party

Gilbert Parent
Mar. 27, 2000
Oct.

22, 2000
Canadian Alliance:
Deborah Grey (2000)
Stockwell Day (2000)

37th Canadian Parliament
elected 2000
—(3 sessions)

Jan. 29, 2001
...
Liberal Party
(172 of 301 House seats)
(55 of 96 Senate seats)

Jean Chrétien
26th Canadian Ministry
Canadian Alliance:
Stockwell Day (2001)
John Reynolds (2001-2002)
Stephen Harper (2002-2004)
Grant Hill (2004)



Bloc Québécois
New Democratic Party
Progressive Conservative Party

Peter Milliken
Dec. 12, 2003
...
Paul Martin
27th Canadian Ministry
Feb. 2, 2004
May 23, 2004
Conservative Party :
Grant Hill (2004)
Stephen Harper (2004)

38th Canadian Parliament
elected 2004
—(1 session)
Oct. 4, 2004
Nov.

29, 2005
Liberal Party minority
(135 of 308 House seats)
(64 of 96 Senate seats)

Paul Martin
27th Canadian Ministry
Conservative Party :
Stephen Harper
Bloc Québécois
New Democratic Party
Peter Milliken
39th Canadian Parliament
elected 2006
—(2 sessions)
Apr. 3, 2006
Sep.

7, 2008
Conservative Party minority
(124 of 308 House seats)
(23 of 100 Senate seats)

Stephen Harper
28th Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
Bill Graham (2006)
Stéphane Dion (2006-2008)

Bloc Québécois
New Democratic Party
Peter Milliken
40th Canadian Parliament
elected 2008
—(2 sessions)
Nov. 18, 2008
present
Conservative Party minority
(143 of 308 House seats)
(22 of 90 Senate seats)

Stephen Harper
28th Canadian Ministry
Liberal Party:
Stéphane Dion (2008)
Michael Ignatieff (2008-)

Bloc Québécois
New Democratic Party
Peter Milliken


Notes

  1. The diagrams show the composition of each parliament, colour-coded by party (click on an image to see its key) and arranged as the MPs might sit. The speaker of the house is shown on the left hand side, with the governing party on the speaker's right (the bottom of the diagram) and the opposition on the speaker's left (the top).
  2. In Canada's early parliaments, many members of the Conservative Party, including the Prime Minister, used other labels for themselves, the most common being "Liberal-Conservative".
  3. There were two Independent Conservatives in the 2nd Parliament, giving the government an effective majority.
  4. After the 2nd parliament's Pacific Scandal, the Liberals took power between elections.
  5. Although the Liberal-Conservatives and the Conservatives had always been running as one party, in 1892 the party membership of the Prime Minister changed.
  6. After the dissolution of the 7th Canadian Parliament, Mackenzie Bowell stepped down and Sir Charles Tupper became Prime Minister on May 1, 1896. Tupper was only Prime Minister during the 1896 election campaign, which he lost, so he was never Prime Minister of a sitting parliament and is therefore not included in this list.
  7. During the First World War, Borden governed from a united party with a Cabinet of 12 Conservatives, 9 Liberals and Independents, and 1 "Labour" MP. There were, however still a number of MPs in opposition to him.
  8. In the 14th Parliament, King’s Liberals won exactly enough seats to form a slim majority government, and due to resignations and floor crossing, they shifted back and forth between majority and minority status. However, the government was in little danger of losing a confidence vote because the Progressive party usually allowed free votes among its members, some of whom would always vote with the government.
  9. In the 14th parliament, the new Progressive Party led by Thomas Crerar had the second-most seats, yet Arthur Meighen's Conservatives formed official opposition.
  10. In the 15th parliament, Mackenzie King's Liberals were initially supported by some members of the Progressive Party of Canada until one of King's appointees in the Department of Customs and Excise was revealed to have taken bribes.
  11. In the 15th parliament, Arthur Meighen's Conservatives had the most seats, but Mackenzie King formed government with the support of the Progressive Party. After the King-Byng Affair, Arthur Meighen's Conservatives took power between elections.
  12. In the 16th parliament, Mackenzie King's Liberals were supported by some members of the Progressive Party of Canada, which did not enforce strict party discipline.
  13. In the 1940 election, Hanson's Conservative's ran under the name "National Government".
  14. In the 26th parliament, Pearson's Liberals were initially supported by Tommy Douglas's New Democratic Party without forming an official coalition.
  15. In the 27th parliament, Pearson's Liberals relied on the small opposition parties in order to remain in power without forming an official coalition.
  16. In the 29th parliament, Trudeau's Liberals were initially supported by David Lewis's New Democratic Party without forming an official coalition.
  17. In 1990, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney used Section 26 of the Constitution, a never-before used clause, to fill the Senate above its regular limit, giving his party 54 of 112 seats.
  18. In the 38th parliament, Martin's Liberals were initially supported by Jack Layton's New Democratic Party without forming an official coalition.


Sources










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