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category: Political Science
published: June 2017
publisher: UBC Press

Prime Ministerial Power in Canada

Its Origins under Macdonald, Laurier, and Borden

by Patrice Dutil

tagged: history & theory, canadian

Many Canadians lament that prime ministerial power has become too concentrated since the 1970s. This book contradicts this view by demonstrating how prime ministerial power was centralized from the very beginning of Confederation and that the first three important prime ministers – Macdonald, Laurier, and Borden – channelled that centralizing impulse to adapt to the circumstances they faced. Using a variety of innovative approaches, Patrice Dutil focuses on the managerial philosophies of each of the prime ministers. He shows that by securing a firm grip on the instruments of governance these early first ministers inevitably shaped the administrations they headed, as well as those that followed.

About the Author

Patrice Dutil

Contributor Notes

Patrice Dutil is a professor of politics and public administration at Ryerson University. He is the founder of the Literary Review of Canada and the president of the Champlain Society. He is the author and editor of several books on diverse aspects of Canadian politics and governance.

Editorial Reviews

Prime Ministerial Power in Canada is engaging reading. The book’s lively prose style, clarity of expression, logical and transparent structure, and meticulous attention to accuracy in detail adds to its appeal. It combines theoretical sophistication with profound historical understanding.

— The Ormsby Review

Dutil casts light on the minutiae of governing that elucidates the challenges of managing and entrenching power … The strength and innovation of the book is in the detailed analysis of the use of royal commissions, orders-in-council and correspondence as instruments of power.

— Literary Review of Canada

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