The Leader of the Government in the Senate
() is a Canadian cabinet
minister who leads the government side in the Canadian Senate
and is chiefly responsible for promoting and defending the government's program in the Upper House
. The government leader's counterpart on the Opposition
benches is the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
. The Leader of the Government in the Senate is selected by the Prime Minister.
Early Canadian cabinets included several senators who would be answerable to the Senate for government actions. In the nineteenth century, it was not considered unusual for a senator to be Prime Minister
. Sir John Joseph Caldwell Abbott
and Sir Mackenzie Bowell
served as prime minister from the Senate. Abbott and Bowell both found it difficult to lead the government from the Senate, however, and over time, the perceived legitimacy of the Senate declined. As time progressed, it became less common for senators to occupy prominent positions in Cabinet. From 1935 on, it was typical for a Cabinet to have only one senator who would have the position of minister without portfolio
and act as Government Leader in the Senate. There has only been one Leader of the Government in the Senate who was not included in the Cabinet, William Benjamin Ross
who served in the position in 1926.
In 1969, the position of Leader of the Government in the Senate became an official cabinet position in its own right with the appointment of Paul Martin, Sr.
(father of Canada's future... Read More