This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.
About This Site
Background and Scope
First Among Equals: The Prime Minister in Canadian Life and Politics is a project of Library and Archives Canada. This site replaces Canada Speaks and Prime Ministers of Canada: 1867-1996, two earlier websites that were funded by the SchoolNet Digital Collections Program of Industry Canada in 1996. Both sites have been integrated into this much larger website based on the National Archives exhibition First Among Equals: A National Archives Exhibition on Canada's Prime Ministers, which was co-curated in 1994 by John Bell, Maureen Hoogenraad and Susan North.
First Among Equals was presented with the support of the Horsham Corporation and was probably the largest exhibition ever mounted by the National Archives. Spread over three Ottawa venues -- the National Archives, the House of Commons and the Canadian Museum of Caricature -- the exhibition drew upon hundreds of documents and artifacts (including items borrowed from a number of institutions) to explore the changing role of the Canadian prime minister. The main exhibit, which was on display from May 20, 1994 to January 3, 1995, attracted more than 27 000 visitors and was described by the then-National Archivist, Jean-Pierre Wallot, as "...the most popular exhibition we have ever had [in the National Archives]."
The structure of the exhibition is recreated on this website, and includes digital versions of many exhibition materials and publications:
The website's "Speeches" section incorporates a revised version of prime ministers' speeches from the Canada Speaks site. In selecting speeches, the goal was to include at least two significant speeches for each prime minister, delivered during his or her tenure in office. As well, the site contains several speeches delivered before or after a term of office. Both of Canada's official languages -- English and French -- are represented in the items chosen. Please note that where a speech was available in only one language, an unofficial translation made specifically for the site has been provided for your convenience. You can identify translations by consulting the "Source" information at the bottom of each speech.
The First Among Equals website is augmented by links and other information relating to sources on prime ministers (see "Resources"). The site is further enhanced by the creation of a separate children's version. The children's site is intended for grades 4 to 6 and offers a variety of educational materials.
The First Among Equals exhibition also resulted in the following publications, which do not currently appear on this website:
Library and Archives Canada thank the teams of the two original SchoolNet projects, as well as the many staff members of the National Archives who worked on the original First Among Equals exhibition and its related publications. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following institutions, corporations and individuals who contributed to the original First Among Equals exhibition and/or this new Web version:
We also acknowledge the contribution of the Department of Canadian Heritage's Canadian Digital Cultural Content Initiative, (CDCCI), whose financial assistance made this work possible.