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Political Science



As Canada continues to grow into a more complex political environment, its Prime ministers have not been left behind in the evolution. They are now tending to develop great interest in an authoritarian environment compared to the house of commons. Prime ministers feel that by adopting authoritarian leadership, they will be in a better position to maintain control over policies being delegated by the house of Commons while at the same time delegating their supremacy to other government bodies. Again, Canadian Prime ministers feel that with authoritarian leadership at the forefront of their operation, they will shape the agenda of the policies being developed. This is especially when problems and opportunities define the underlying circumstances of their formulation. Canadian Prime ministers have the authority to adopt strategies that can shape the policy so it can avoid underlying problems and exploit the available opportunities ensuring that it provides benefits to the citizens of Canada after its implementation. We can also identify from the paper that employment of authoritarian measures by the Prime ministers is increasing due to the demands by the COVID19 pandemic, which encourage the election of a strong leader who can keep people calm as they go during these difficult times. For instance, leaders such as Justin Trudeau is doing his best making effective decisions to help Canadians battle the up surging waves of the pandemic by mobilizing healthcare workers to help the residents of Ontario and the rest of Canada to battle the pandemic successfully. He is doing this by providing the medics with the relevant materials such as protective gears and he is following up to ensure that everyone in Canada is aware of the health complications brought by the Corona Virus and also how they can prevent themselves and he is offering improved health care for the individuals suffering from the illness. The paper aims to dig deeper into the current issue of many Prime ministers preferring authoritarian leadership compared to their house of common counterparts.


Recent studies identify that the Prime ministers in Canada have preferred to use authoritarian leadership in their daily undertaking, unlike the house of commons. The issue has been present for several decades now. However, it appears that even the citizens are in support of this kind of regime with the notion that it provides them with the security they need as a nation because the authoritative leader will not shy away to put down some people who they identify as a threat to the region. When we talk about authoritarianism among Canadian Prime ministers, we describe a situation where the Prime ministers become the opponents of the political plurality. This is the use of strong central power to preserve their status quo and campaign for minimization of democracy voting, separation of powers among government arms, and elimination of the rule of law when serving justice (McAllister, 2007). Political analysts have been formulating theories of how Canada will look after the Prime ministers’ authoritarian leadership will replace the democratic leadership used by the house of commons. One of the things that are definite to these analysts is that numerous trends in political leadership have been on the rise, and Canada is not an exception from the trends underlying the slippage away from what many of us will define as normal democratic values. Instead, the economic and political arena will emerge a something new that will never go back to something much lesser than democracy. The paper’s main aim is to reflect on why the Prime ministers prefer to adopt authoritarian regimes in their leadership compared to the house of commons.

Reasons for Authoritarian

A new survey indicates that almost every citizen in Canada does not view democracy as necessary to live, which contrasts with the previous generations. The Prime ministers are rapidly getting the support of the citizen to adopt authoritarian leadership as democratic leadership poses problems related to the inclusion of every community in the government and administration of human rights.

Although Justin Trudeau is receiving ample criticism for their plan to skip promises of the electoral reform, numerous surveys are making fun of his intention. They believe it overrides the thoughtful multiparty consultation process, which continues to produce a consensus that favors referendum (Trimble et al., 2013). The referendum being favored here is on equal representation of the marginalized group in government decisions. On the other hand, other critics’ authoritarian leadership by the Prime ministers is one of the most notable structures of numerous questions that intend to favor first-past-the-post, which is an alternative to the current voting system. By doing this, the Prime ministers maintain that they are adopting this form of leadership in favor of enhancing accountability by eliminating the central government and allowing the citizens the freedom to vote for the person they want. For instance, this freedom ensures that citizens can elect the person of their choice without influence from other political leaders. This is in attempt to revive the hope that they are choosing a representative who will represent them fully in the house of Commons (Paquet, 2000).

Additionally, the Prime ministers are providing that they are shifting towards an authoritarian authority because democratic elections are punitive. This is because they end up enrolling highly governing parties, and holding the elections only provides citizens with the hard decision of whether they want to keep the individual in the seat they are occupying or not. The Prime ministers sustain that this should not be the main role of elections. Instead, elections should provide the citizens with the potential to attain a particular goal expressed through the party structures and not empty promises based on democratic leadership. The Prime ministers support that their decision to support the authoritarian form of leadership is to adequately represent the grievances of the impoverished citizens living in the streets of Canada that no leader in the house of common appears to take notice. For example, Trudeau is doing his best to leverage income levels among the low income earners such as the child benefit program which targets to assist the middle and low income families to be exempted from tax payments in attempt of helping them raise their children in a conducive environment. By a conducive environment, we mean in an environment where the families can sustain their basic needs and education. Another example is the employee benefit which is a refundable tax and it aims at supplementing employees. It is true to say that the Canadian Prime ministers are ready to take the giant leap and demonstrate that the goal of an election should not always be tied around putting political candidates on trial. Still, it is a decision to imprison their goals to hinder the citizen from discovering their potential and always depending on the leaders for support and representation. 


Even though other leaders have numerous attempts to deteriorate the wave of authoritarianism among the Prime ministers in Canada, most of them are joyfully riding the wave of this trend by formulating a new political system. The system will allow the minority and marginalized individuals to seize power and get their way to freedom. Additionally, numerous reports have been published indicating that the Canadian federal government is devastatingly facing burnout from a democratic deficit. There is no Prime minister who has been a fan of the current democratic authority reigning the country except Bennett, who was holding other political positions concurrently with being a Prime minister in Canadian leadership history.

The great desire by the Prime ministers to maintain tight control of the authoritarian regime is quite understandable, given the hardships that faced the Prime ministers who did not support this form of leadership. A good example is Mackenzie Bowell, whom the house of commons had elected to the Prime ministers’ position. Still, because he was not an authoritarian, he was prevented from being the leader of his party in an election that the ministers held. Another example is MP John Diefenbaker, who encountered massive defections that ran throughout the entire government after he decided to renege on a commitment to accept nuclear weapons delivery for Canada in NORAD in the 1960s. The last example is Jean Chretien, who made the Prime ministers but was forcefully driven out of office by his party in the middle of his term because they felt that he was not one.

Despite Canada’s campaign for strict implementation in the federal government instead of democratic leadership embraced by the house of commons, the authoritarian government has been encountering clumsy by demeaning Harper’s ministers when centralizing their power which other leaders have much resented. Dictatorial attempts have been worrying within the Prime ministers within the legislation systems, mostly relying on developing a well-informed coalition driven by semi-autonomous opinions. During world war II, Winston ensured that the cabinet was made of a balanced number of individuals from all parties and assigned unlimited powers and great prestige. However, he still had to consult them to ensure unity. He humbly consulted these authoritarian kings intending to keep the British and the commonwealth as a united community. Canada’s political system does not consider anybody’s opinion within these gentler times that Prime ministers dominate.

While structures play a great role in creating the potential to facilitate and obstruct the Prime ministers’ leadership style in the country, research proves that some underlying contextual conditions can enhance the impact of the Prime ministers on the policy formulated within the policy country. Numerous scholars such as Heywood (2019) have argued that the type of leaders elected to the Prime ministers’ position bears a significant influence on distorting foreign policies and foreign policy formulation process after the issue is found to affect the legitimacy and supremacy of that leader. The researchers further identify that authoritarian pose crisis for the federal and house of the common regime because it creates events that involve high levels of the protocol, which increases complications and contradictions to the current political system.

The degree of involvement of Prime ministers in the decision-making process often depends on how critical the Prime ministers perceives the issue. The more salient the issue is, the more the leader will develop the desire to be involved in the entire decision process and want to be on the frontline in shaping the policy and taking control they need depending on the policy’s nature. For some Prime ministers, issues related to foreign affairs are their best area of experts because many Prime ministers usually have vast expertise and knowledge on the issue (Heywood, 2019). As a result, the authoritarian leadership style embraced by these leaders has a great impact on the formulation of policymaking and shapes the process throughout.

Even though supremacy involved usually determines who is elected and who will not land the position, this body of the cabinet gathers massive support from citizens mainly because of the economic hardships the citizens are currently feeling, especially after the economic recession in 2008. This recession was probably the main researchers believe left many citizens feeling powerless, drawing them to seek dominant and authoritarian leaders ready to make quality decisions to neutralize any problems facing the economy. This has also led to the rise of numerous individuals who are ready to show off their supremacy in the Canadian economy, which has changed Canadian political scope (Clark, 2014). The economic tension revolving during these areas made many superior individuals in the Canadian environments rise and stand for their people by taking accountability for everything going on in the government. For this reason, it is believed that the Prime ministers are inclining towards authoritarian regimes as it awards them with the relevant power they need to create confidence to the Canadian citizens that their resources are safe and that they will be used for optimum government operations. 

Other mind-blowing issues such as the dreadful impacts brought by the COVID 19 pandemic has further tightened on the need for authoritarian Prime ministers as the period requires strong leaders to assure people that everything will be okay. Similarly, the Canadian Prime ministers are applying authoritarian power to fight rights for the marginalized communities, such as fighting for women and children rights who are victims of domestic violence and have extended to open up mental institution where they can get counselling about mental health for free (Malesky, & Schuler, 2010). The counselling institutions have been established such that they can link the women with adequate resources that they need to start over with their lives. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen the Prime ministers campaigning against discrimination of Asians and Black-Americans situating that strict measures to be taken upon perpetrators of these acts. We can say that the attempts to stop discrimination, especially during the pandemic, have played a great role in making things better for the communities who feel marginalized as now they are slowly getting accepted by the white community who are now valuing them.

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Similarly, Canada is a nation endowed with rich and valuable commodities. Therefore, the election of a well-known individual to the Prime minister’s position is essential in creating confidence in the citizens. This is because they believe that the chosen leader will do everything, including negotiating for product markets from foreign nations to intensify the future chances of success for the country and the economy. Numerous results indicate that the only leaders who rise to these positions tend to be decisive, controlling, and assertive and want to instill fear in others to ensure that everything is done according to how they want it done (McKay and Swift, 2012). Their main objective is to maintain their supremacy and status for the longest time, and it is, for this reason, they do not spare anyone who is trying to challenge them, and they do not shy from firing them or dismissing them even if they have not completed their ruling term. In connection to this, the Canadian Prime ministers position is composed of prestigious individuals who are ready to share their vast knowledge on various perspectives for the benefit of the Canadian community. While they aim to help them, they expect that they will treat them with respect, admiration, and gratitude. We believe that it is the main reason the Prime ministers want to maintain their lead as authoritarian and not democratic, like the house of commons who receive instructions on what to do from the Prime ministers. 

The shift is that Canadian Prime ministers have already witnessed the regime’s success from them for fathers who implemented the same strategy. This includes the consistency in outcomes associated with an authoritarian regime. The regime provides that things be done in a certain manner to meet specific expectations for the longest time, which is the desire of every leader to control (Carlaw, 2017). 

However, as the Prime ministers can decide the leaders who need to stay in the government and those who should leave the office, control legal proceedings and patronage, researchers argue that they are becoming more presidentialized, meaning they continue to absorb more crucial powers as years go by. Generally, the Canadian Prime ministers are taking up the role of first assigning and dismissal, which should only belong to the president Chu (2014) gives suggestions how the Prime ministers can exercise control over other ministers by consulting his foreign secretary with the entire cabinet, which further boosts supremacy with the rest of the ministers. The jurisdiction is further empowered that the cabinet committee is carefully selected and, on various occasions, is used to circumvent the entire cabinet. The extent of the problem to be disclosed depends on the attention that needs to be assigned to the issue at hand. 

Numerous researchers provide that authoritarian regimes usually embrace, adopt, and use the nominally democratic organizations to disclose to the potential opponents of their system’s coercive and material strength, thus deterring the house of commons from challenging them. In precise, the Canadian Prime ministers often hold that the authoritarian leadership strategy should hold elections and announce the elections to win in broad margins, indicating that it is futile for individuals of the house of common to challenge it (Cook, 2011). It is not that the Prime ministers win fairly in any elections. Still, the victory depends on the ability of the leader to buy voters votes, even if it means using government resources to do so. In support of this perspective Heywood, (2019) proves that on an average basis, the authoritarian Prime ministers show that these individuals run election campaigns for a longer time compared to other leaders. The authors have also illustrated that the election process is filled with manipulation of the election results to show the opponents of their immense authority. Therefore they should deter their efforts trying to outdo them. The signaling mechanisms used by these leaders are usually well crafted and non-obvious, which explains why there is massive cheating as the authoritarian regime is all about displaying one’s financial strength. However, it is still unsure if the great margin victories are the source of Canadian Prime ministers’ source of jurisdiction or the ability to mobilize networks and threaten other interested parties to stay away.


It is evident from the above illustration is that the Prime ministers are highly favoring authoritarian leadership for various reasons. The first reason is that the regime provides them with powers almost close to those belonging to the president. Such includes the freedom to appoint the house of common ministers and fire them if they tend to challenge them even if they are yet to complete their ruling term. The authoritarian form of leadership gives them control over their subjects, ensuring everything is done according to how they want. They are deeply involved in the decision-making process and act as the chief decision-maker. Again, the Prime ministers feel the pressure to exercise their vast knowledge in foreign affairs matters. Therefore, they do their best to advise the country on matters involving their dealings with international countries. They seek markets for Canadian rich products.


However, the paper identifies several unlikeable things about this form of regime. The first one is the unfairness involved in the elections because we can find that the ability to win the election highly depends on the leader’s ability to show their supremacy by buying voters’ minds into electing him. I feel this is a limitation because sometimes things such as wisdom and intelligence cannot be valued by the amount of money the individual has. Therefore we feel that this is why Canada has repeatedly selected leaders who only focus on improving their strengths financially by using the public resources to empower themselves so that they can remain in power for a long time. Consequently, authoritarian leadership is made up of individuals who do not like competitions or challenges. Thus, they do not hesitate to dismiss any individual who tries to criticize or point to failures in their leadership. 



Carlaw, J. (2017). Authoritarian Populism and Canada’s Conservative Decade (2006–2015) in Citizenship and Immigration: The Politics and Practices of Kenneyism and Neo-conservative Multiculturalism. Journal of Canadian Studies, 51(3), 782-816.

Chu, L. C. (2014). The moderating role of authoritarian leadership on the relationship between the internalization of emotional regulation and the well-being of employees. Leadership, 10(3), 326-343.

Clark, J. (2014). How we lead: Canada in a century of change. Vintage Canada.

Cook, T. (2011). Canada’s Warlord: Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden’s Leadership during the Great War. Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, 13(3).

Heywood. A. (2019). Politics. 5th Edition. MacMillan, U.K.

Malesky, E., & Schuler, P. (2010). Nodding or needling: Analyzing delegate responsiveness in an authoritarian parliament. American political science review, 482-502.

McKay, I., & Swift, J. (2012). Warrior nation. Between the Lines.

McAllister, I. (2007). The personalization of politics. In The Oxford handbook of political behavior. Oxford University Press.

Paquet, G. (2000). An Unsolicited Report to Canada’s Leaders. Faculty of Administration, University of Ottawa= Faculté d’administration, Université d’Ottawa.

Trimble, L., Wagner, A., Sampert, S., Raphael, D., & Gerrits, B. (2013). Is it personal? Gendered mediation in newspaper coverage of Canadian national party leadership contests, 1975–2012. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 18(4), 462-481.

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By Sandra Arlington

Sandra Arlington is a contributing writer to the Motley Fool. Having written for various online magazines, such as Ehow and LiveStrong, she decided to embark on a travel blog for the past 10 years. She is also a regular contributor to My Essay Writer.

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