Conservatives discuss 2-term limit for party leaders

Prime ministers can serve for more than a decade. The Conservative Party wants that to change - proposing term limits on the party leader. There is no such tradition in any major Canadian federal party and the move seems a direct swipe at Stephen Harper.
By the time Stephen Harper left office, he had spent over 3,200 days as prime minister - making him the sixth longest-serving leader in Canadian history. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

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In Canada, prime ministers can serve for more than a decade. The Conservative Party wants that to change.

According to a draft of resolutions leaked earlier this week, The Conservative Party of Canada will discuss limiting party leaders to two terms, when party delegates gather at their national convention later this month. 

Term limits are a fixture of U.S. politics but they have never taken root in any major Canadian federal party.

The Conservative party rethinking term limits for leaders has some wondering if the move is a direct swipe at Stephen Harper. 

Harper was the sixth longest-serving leader in Canadian history and by the time he left office, he had spent over 3,200 days as prime minister.

Here are a few more examples of long-serving Canadian politicians:

Wilfrid Laurier was a member of parliament for 44 years, 10 months, 17 days. (National Archives of Canada/The Canadian Press)
Former deputy prime minister Herb Gray served as an MP for 39 years, 6 months, 29 days. (Canadian Press)
Veteran New Democrat MP Stanley Knowles' length of service in parliament was 37 years, 6 months, 18 days. (Canadian Press)
Former prime minister John Diefenbaker served as a member of parliament for 39 years, 4 months, 22 days. (Chuck Mitchell/CP)
Pierre Elliott Trudeau served as the 15th prime minister of Canada for 15 years, 164 days (Bill Grimshaw/Canadian Press)
Sir John A. Macdonald served as Canada's first prime minister for 18 years, 359 days (CP/National Archive of Canada)
William Lyon Mackenzie King served for three full terms in majority governments for 21 years, 154 days. (Public Archives/The Canadian Press)

Guests in this segment:

  • Kady O'Malley, political reporter for the Ottawa Citizen. 
  • Eric Adams, associate professor of law at the University of Alberta.
  • J. J. McCullough, conservative writer and political commentator. 

Should Canada impose a term limit on our prime minister? On party leaders?

Tweet us @TheCurrentCBC. Post on our Facebook page. Or send an email with your thoughts.

This segment was produced by The Current's John Chipman and Ines Colabrese.