Prime Minister as First Among Equals

… a core concept in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100

Lester B. Pearson, 1897-1972 Prime Minister 1963-68

Lester B. Pearson, 1897-1972 Prime Minister 1963-68

Concept description

Bakvis and Wolinetz (reference below, p. 207) describe the First Among Equals model of the Prime Minister as “chair of a board attempting to forge a consensus out of competing and sometimes dissenting views” who “cannot move forward unless there is a consensus or, failing that, a clear majority on any given position.”

In Canada, the Prime Ministership of Lester B. Pearson from 22 April 1963 to 20 April 1968 was closer to this model than was the case for most of his successors, which were closer to the Prime Minister as CEO model, consistent with the presidentialization of a Westminster System (see also Presidentialism).

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Machinery of Government (core topic) in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100 Governance and Institutions.


Herman Bakvis and Steven B. Wolinetz (2005), “Canada: Executive Dominance and Presidentialization,” in The Presidentialization of Politics: A Comparative Study of Modern Democracies, eds. Thomas Poguntke and Paul Webb, pp. 200-219. Oxford : Oxford University Press..

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 23 August 2016.

Image: Cropped from an image of the official House of Commons portrait, at, accessed 23 August 2016.