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|Minister of Justice and |
Attorney General of Canada
Ministre de la Justice et
procureur général du Canada
|Department of Justice|
|Appointer||Monarch (represented by the governor general);|
on the advice of the prime minister
|Term length||At Her Majesty's pleasure|
|Inaugural holder||Sir John A. Macdonald|
|Formation||July 1, 1867|
In the role of Attorney General (French: Procureur général), the officeholder litigates on behalf of the Crown and serves as the chief legal advisor to the Government of Canada. Most prosecution functions of the attorney general have been assigned to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. The attorney general is supported in this role by the director of public prosecutions.
This cabinet position is usually reserved for someone holding a legal qualification. There have been exceptions: Joe Clark only studied the first year of law at University of British Columbia Faculty of Law before embarking on political life.
This cabinet portfolio has been held by many individuals who went on to become prime minister including John Sparrow David Thompson, R. B. Bennett, Louis St Laurent, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, John Turner, Kim Campbell and Jean Chrétien (Clark became MoJAG after his time as prime minister). This is the only Canadian Ministry (other than that of the prime minister) which has not been reorganized since its creation in 1867.
Attorney General of Canada
As the top prosecuting officer in Canada, 'attorney general' is a separate title held by the minister of justice—a member of the Cabinet. The minister of justice is concerned with questions of policy and their relationship to the justice system. In their role as attorney general, they are the chief law officer of the Crown. The roles have been connected since confederation. As a result of controversy, following the SNC-Lavalin affair, Anne McLellan was appointed to review the roles and prepare a report on whether they should be separated. She recommended the positions remain combined.
A separate cabinet position, the minister of public safety (formerly known as the "solicitor general") administers the law enforcement agencies (police, prisons, and security) of the federal government.
Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General
|No.||Portrait||Name||Term of office||Political party||Ministry|
|1||Sir John A. Macdonald||July 1, 1867||November 5, 1873||Liberal-Conservative||1 (Macdonald)|
|2||Antoine-Aimé Dorion||November 7, 1873||May 31, 1874||Liberal||2 (Mackenzie)|
|–||Sir Albert James Smith
|June 1, 1874||July 7, 1874||Liberal|
|3||Télesphore Fournier||July 8, 1874||May 18, 1875||Liberal|
|4||Edward Blake||May 19, 1875||June 7, 1877||Liberal|
|5||Rodolphe Laflamme||June 8, 1877||October 8, 1878||Liberal|
|6||James McDonald||October 17, 1878||May 18, 1881||Conservative (historical)||3 (Macdonald)|
|7||Alexander Campbell||May 20, 1881||September 24, 1885||Conservative (historical)|
|8||Sir John Thompson||September 26, 1885||June 6, 1891||Conservative (historical)|
|June 16, 1891||November 24, 1892||4 (Abbott)|
|December 5, 1892||December 12, 1894||5 (Thompson)|
|9||Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper||December 21, 1894||January 5, 1896||Conservative (historical)||6 (Bowell)|
|–||Thomas Mayne Daly
|January 6, 1896||January 14, 1896||Liberal-Conservative|
|10||Arthur Rupert Dickey||January 15, 1896||April 27, 1896||Conservative (historical)|
|May 1, 1896||July 8, 1896||7 (Tupper)|
|11||Sir Oliver Mowat||July 13, 1896||November 17, 1897||Liberal||8 (Laurier)|
|12||David Mills||November 18, 1897||February 7, 1902||Liberal|
|13||Charles Fitzpatrick||February 11, 1902||June 3, 1906||Liberal|
|14||Sir Allen Aylesworth||June 4, 1906||October 6, 1911||Liberal|
|15||Charles Doherty||October 10, 1911||July 9, 1920||Conservative (historical)||9•10 (Borden)|
|July 10, 1920||September 20, 1921||11 (Meighen)|
|16||R. B. Bennett||October 4, 1921||December 28, 1921||Conservative (historical)|
|17||Lomer Gouin||December 29, 1921||January 3, 1924||Liberal||12 (King)|
|January 4, 1924
(Acting until Jan.30)
|June 28, 1926||Liberal|
|June 29, 1926||July 12, 1926||Conservative (historical)||13 (Meighen)|
|19||Esioff-Léon Patenaude||July 13, 1926||September 24, 1926||Conservative (historical)|
|September 25, 1926||August 6, 1930||Liberal||14 (King)|
|20||Hugh Guthrie||August 7, 1930||August 11, 1935||Conservative (historical)||15 (Bennett)|
|21||George Reginald Geary||August 14, 1935||October 22, 1935||Conservative (historical)|
|October 23, 1935||November 26, 1941||Liberal||16 (King)|
|November 27, 1941||December 9, 1941||Liberal|
|22||Louis St. Laurent
|December 10, 1941||December 9, 1946||Liberal|
|23||James Lorimer Ilsley||December 10, 1946||June 30, 1948||Liberal|
|(22)||Louis St. Laurent
|July 1, 1948
(Acting until Sep.10)
|November 14, 1948||Liberal|
|24||Stuart Garson||November 15, 1948||June 20, 1957||Liberal||17 (St. Laurent)|
|25||Davie Fulton||June 21, 1957||August 8, 1962||Progressive Conservative||18 (Diefenbaker)|
|26||Donald Fleming||August 9, 1962||April 21, 1963||Progressive Conservative|
|27||Lionel Chevrier||April 22, 1963||February 2, 1964||Liberal||19 (Pearson)|
|28||Guy Favreau||February 3, 1964||June 29, 1965||Liberal|
|June 30, 1965||July 6, 1965||Liberal|
|29||Lucien Cardin||July 7, 1965||April 3, 1967||Liberal|
|30||Pierre Trudeau||April 4, 1967||April 19, 1968||Liberal|
|April 20, 1968||July 5, 1968||20 (P. E. Trudeau)|
|31||John Turner||July 6, 1968||January 27, 1972||Liberal|
|January 28, 1972||September 25, 1975||Liberal|
|33||Ron Basford||September 26, 1975||August 2, 1978||Liberal|
|August 3, 1978
(Acting until Aug.9)
|November 23, 1978||Liberal|
|34||Marc Lalonde||November 24, 1978||June 3, 1979||Liberal|
|35||Jacques Flynn||June 4, 1979||March 2, 1980||Progressive Conservative||21 (Clark)|
|36||Jean Chrétien||March 3, 1980||September 9, 1982||Liberal||22 (P. E. Trudeau)|
|37||Mark MacGuigan||September 10, 1982||June 29, 1984||Liberal|
|38||Donald Johnston||June 30, 1984||September 16, 1984||Liberal||23 (Turner)|
|39||John Crosbie||September 17, 1984||June 29, 1986||Progressive Conservative||24 (Mulroney)|
|40||Ray Hnatyshyn||June 30, 1986||December 7, 1988||Progressive Conservative|
|December 8, 1988||January 29, 1989||Progressive Conservative|
|41||Doug Lewis||January 30, 1989||February 22, 1990||Progressive Conservative|
|42||Kim Campbell||February 23, 1990||January 3, 1993||Progressive Conservative|
|43||Pierre Blais||January 4, 1993||June 24, 1993||Progressive Conservative|
|June 25, 1993||November 3, 1993||25 (Campbell)|
|44||Allan Rock||November 4, 1993||June 10, 1997||Liberal||26 (Chrétien)|
|45||Anne McLellan||June 11, 1997||January 14, 2002||Liberal|
|46||Martin Cauchon||January 15, 2002||December 11, 2003||Liberal|
|47||Irwin Cotler||December 12, 2003||February 5, 2006||Liberal||27 (Martin)|
|48||Vic Toews||February 6, 2006||January 3, 2007||Conservative||28 (Harper)|
|49||Rob Nicholson||January 4, 2007||July 13, 2013||Conservative|
|50||Peter MacKay||July 13, 2013||November 4, 2015||Conservative|
|51||Jody Wilson-Raybould||November 4, 2015||January 14, 2019||Liberal||29 (J. Trudeau)|
|52||David Lametti||January 14, 2019||Incumbent||Liberal|
For the Attorneys-General of the various provinces of Canada see:
- Alberta Minister of Justice and Attorney General
- Attorney General of British Columbia
- Minister of Justice and Attorney General (Manitoba)
- Office of the Attorney General (New Brunswick)
- Minister of Justice and Public Safety and Attorney General of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Minister of Justice of the Northwest Territories
- Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Nova Scotia
- Minister of Justice of Nunavut
- Attorney General of Ontario
- Minister of Justice and Public Safety and Attorney General of Prince Edward Island
- Ministry of Justice (Quebec) (also as Attorney General)
- Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Saskatchewan
- Minister of Justice (Yukon)
- Historical roles
- "The Canadian Parliamentary system - Our Procedure - House of Commons". www.ourcommons.ca. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
- "Review of the Responsibilities and Accountabilities of Ministers and Senior Officials" (PDF).
- "Constitutional Duties". The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
- "House of Commons Procedure and Practice - 1. Parliamentary Institutions - Canadian Parliamentary Institutions". www.ourcommons.ca. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
- "Indemnities, Salaries and Allowances". Library of Parliament. April 11, 2018. Archived from the original on June 1, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
- Canada, Department of Justice (2017-03-20). "Patriation, the Recognition of Rights and Reconciliation". gcnws. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- International, Radio Canada (2019-03-04). "Political scandal Canada: dual office of Justice Minister and Attorney-General, a concern?". RCI | English. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- Government of Canada, Department of Justice (2016-04-15). "Roles and Responsibilities of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada - Department of Justice Canada Minister's Transition Book". www.justice.gc.ca. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- McLellan, Anne (August 14, 2019). "Review of the Roles of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada". Prime Minister of Canada. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
- Gollom, Mark (August 14, 2019). "McLellan advises against splitting roles of attorney general, justice minister". CBC News. Retrieved August 14, 2019.