Opposition House Leader

The Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons, more commonly known as the Opposition House Leader (French: Chef de la Chambre d'Opposition), is a member of the Official Opposition, not to be confused with the Leader of the Official Opposition, but is generally a senior member of the frontbench. The House Leader is responsible for questioning the Government House Leader on the forthcoming business of the House of Commons, negotiating with the Government House Leader and other parties' house leaders on the progress of business in the House, and managing the Official Opposition's business in the House of Commons.

Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons
Chef de l'Opposition Officielle à la Chambre de Communes
Candice Bergen

since 15 September 2016
StyleThe Honourable
Member ofHouse of Commons of Canada
AppointerLeader of the Official Opposition
Inaugural holderLionel Chevrier
Formation14 October 1957
Salary$255,300 (2017)
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The position of Opposition House Leader evolved in the 1950s as each Opposition party began to designate a particular MP to question the Government House Leader on upcoming House business. The title of Opposition House Leader became official in 1963, and in 1974, a special annual indemnity was attached to the position of House Leader in each of the opposition parties. The House Leader also coordinates the Official Opposition's floor strategy, often with the House Leaders of smaller Opposition parties. The position is particularly important when there is a minority government, or a government with a slim majority, which may be defeated by a Non-confidence vote if all Opposition parties work together.

Notable Opposition House Leaders include Herb Gray of the Liberal Party (also a Government House Leader) and Erik Nielsen of the Progressive Conservative Party.

Notable third party House Leaders include Stanley Knowles who was the House Leader for the NDP from 1962 to 1981, and Bill Blaikie (1996-2003).

List of Official Opposition House Leaders

# House Leader[1] Party Took Office Left Office Party Leader
Lionel Chevrier Liberal October 14, 1957 February 5, 1963 Louis St. Laurent
Lester B. Pearson
     Gordon Churchill Progressive Conservative May 16, 1963 April 21, 1965 John Diefenbaker
Michael Starr Progressive Conservative April 22, 1965 April 23, 1968
Robert Stanfield
     Ged Baldwin Progressive Conservative July 27, 1968 September 20, 1973
     Thomas Bell Progressive Conservative September 21, 1973 May 9, 1974
Ged Baldwin (second time) Progressive Conservative August 14, 1974 February 24, 1976
Joe Clark
     Walter Baker Progressive Conservative February 25, 1976 March 26, 1979
     Allan MacEachen Liberal October 9, 1979 December 14, 1979 Pierre Trudeau
     Walter Baker (second time) Progressive Conservative April 14, 1980 September 8, 1981 Joe Clark
     Erik Nielsen Progressive Conservative September 9, 1981 February 8, 1983
     Doug Lewis Progressive Conservative February 10, 1983 September 6, 1983 Erik Nielsen (interim)
     Erik Nielsen (second time) Progressive Conservative September 7, 1983 April 5, 1984 Brian Mulroney
     Ray Hnatyshyn Progressive Conservative April 6, 1984 July 9, 1984
     Herb Gray Liberal September 18, 1984 February 7, 1990 John Turner
     Jean-Robert Gauthier Liberal February 7, 1990 January 29, 1991 Herb Gray (interim)
     David Dingwall Liberal January 30, 1991 May 8, 1993 Jean Chrétien
Michel Gauthier Bloc Québécois November 10, 1993 February 17, 1996 Lucien Bouchard
Gilles Duceppe (interim)
  Gilles Duceppe Bloc Québécois February 17, 1996 March 15, 1997 Michel Gauthier
  Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Québécois March 17, 1997 April 25, 1997 Gilles Duceppe
  Randy White Reform June 20, 1997 January 30, 2000 Preston Manning
Chuck Strahl
Reform January 31, 2000 April 24, 2001
Canadian Alliance Deborah Grey (interim)
Stockwell Day
  John Reynolds Canadian Alliance April 24, 2001 December 17, 2001
  Randy White (second time) Canadian Alliance December 18, 2001 April 3, 2002 John Reynolds (interim)
John Reynolds (second time) Canadian Alliance April 4, 2002 December 22, 2003
Stephen Harper
  Loyola Hearn Conservative January 8, 2004 March 21, 2004 Grant Hill (interim)
  John Reynolds (third time) Conservative March 22, 2004 January 27, 2005 Stephen Harper
  Jay Hill Conservative January 28, 2005 February 5, 2006
Ralph Goodale
Liberal February 10, 2006 September 6, 2010 Bill Graham
Stéphane Dion
Michael Ignatieff
     David McGuinty Liberal September 7, 2010 March 26, 2011
Thomas Mulcair
New Democratic May 26, 2011 October 12, 2011 Jack Layton
  Nycole Turmel (interim)
Joe Comartin
New Democratic October 13, 2011 April 19, 2012
  Thomas Mulcair
  Nathan Cullen New Democratic April 20, 2012 March 20, 2014
  Peter Julian New Democratic March 24, 2014 October 20, 2015
  Andrew Scheer Conservative November 18, 2015 September 13, 2016 Rona Ambrose
  Candice Bergen Conservative September 15, 2016 Incumbent Rona Ambrose
Andrew Scheer

List of Official third party House Leaders

New Democratic Party

Reform Party of Canada

Progressive Conservative Party

Bloc Quebecois

List of Unrecognized third party House leaders

Green Party

See also


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