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Canadian Prime Ministers | Political Leaders
Activists and Advocates

Canadian Prime Ministers

  • Wilfrid Laurier, Canada's 7th Prime MinisterSir John Abbott, BCL1854, was the third Prime Minister of Canada (1891-1892). He also served as the Mayor of Montreal from 1887 to 1888.
  • A legendary orator and master of political compromise, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, BCL1864, was Canada's seventh Prime Minister (1896-1911).

Political Leaders

  • Paula Cox, BA’80, became the Premier of Bermuda in 2010 and stayed in office until December 2012. Together with her late father, former Bermudian finance minister C. Eugene Cox, BEng’60, she was part of the first father-daughter combination in Bermudian government. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2014
  • Greg Rickford, BCL/LLB'05, was appointed the Minister of State for Science and Technology in 2013, then to Minister of Natural Resources in 2014. He is a member of the House of Commons Standing Committees on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.
  • Chris Alexander, BA'89, is Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. 
  • Jack Layton, BA'71, was leader of the New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011.  In the 2011 Federal election, Layton led the NDP to a total of 103 seats, making the party the Official Opposition for the first time in its history. 
  • Thomas d'Arcy McGee, BCL1861, a Father of Canadian confederation, bears the distinction of being the only Canadian political figure ever assassinated while in office.
  • A New Democratic Party Member of Parliament for the electoral district of Outremont since 2007, in 2012 Thomas Mulcair, BCL'76, LLB'77, was chosen to succeed Jack Layton as leader of the NDP, Canada's Official Opposition at the time.
  • Formerly the Executive Director of the Ontario Securities Commission, Joe Oliver, BA’61, BCL’64, currently serves as Canada’s Minister of Finance. As a student, he edited the McGill Law Journal.
  • Alexander Cameron Rutherford, BA1881, LLB1881, was the first Premier of Alberta and the founder of the University of Alberta.
  • Marie-Claire Kirkland Strover, BCL'50, LLD’97, is the first woman elected to the Quebec National Assembly, where she served from 1966 to 1973. She was also the first woman to plead before the Quebec Private Bills Committee, the first female cabinet minister, and the first female acting Premier of Quebec.
  • An environmentalist and educator, Justin Trudeau, BA'94, has represented the Montreal electoral division of Papineau in the Canadian House of Commons since 2008. He is currently the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
  • Vaira Vîke-Freiberga, PhD'65, DSc’02, served as president of the Republic of Latvia from 1999-2007, becoming the first woman to hold such a post in Eastern Europe. She is President of the World Leadership Alliance Club of Madrid.

Activists and Advocates

  • John Humphrey, author of the first draft of the Universal Declaration of Human RightsIn 1948, John Humphrey, BCom'25, BA'27, BCL'29, PhD'45, LLD'76, was a young law professor on leave from McGill. It was during this time away that he wrote the first draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Tamar Oppenheimer, BA'46, LLD'94, was the former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations. She was the first Canadian woman to serve as Assistant Secretary-General of the UN.
  • A pioneering social activist, Madeleine Parent, BA'40, LLD'02, played a key role in the textile strikes in 1940s Quebec and in establishing Canadian unions. She was a founding member of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, where she represented Quebec for eight years.
  • McGill Chancellor emeritus Dick Pound, BCom'62, BCL'67, LLD’09, has been part of the Olympic movement for more than 40 years. He has participated as an athlete, an advocate, as the Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as a former Chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency and as Chairman of the Olympic Broadcasting Services. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and an Officer of the National Order of Quebec.
  • Canada's former Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart, BCL'80, was the first data protection authority in the world to have conducted a comprehensive investigation of the privacy policies and practices of Facebook.
  • Stephen Toope, BCL'83, LLB'83, is the former President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia. He is now Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs (U of T).