Political Leadership in Canada:
Pierre Elliott Trudeau
and the Ottawa Model
Colin Campbell, S.J.
In recent years there has been a plethora of literature in Canada maintaining that Pierre Elliott Trudeau has transformed the Prime Ministership into a Presidential institution.1 The concept of presidentialization reflects the tendency among Canadians to label substantial shifts in structures and conventions as "Americanization" and to invoke presumed principles of parliamentary government as absolute standards for evaluating all innovation in the political system. Such reactions to change are misguided. Those who appeal to the principles of parliamentary government sadly misunderstand two things: it is questionable whether the golden era in which the British Parliament is thought to have made law ever existed as a nineteenth- century phenomenon;2 and the Cabinet-dominated government in____________________