|Needed a better barber, maybe|
(I'm not, actually. Norman Hillmer kindly invited me to participate when he did one of these ten years ago, but I was busy, a bit dubious about the whole exercise, and frankly not very sure who I'd rank where among a lot of PMs I was neither well informed about or terribly interested in. So I declined -- and my choice has been respected. If I did not play, I shouldn't criticize the results, I guess, but what the hell. This time the 123 responses came from 187 invitations, it says.)
This year the poll has separated the long-term PMs from the short-termers. Among long-term leaders, it's Mackenzie King, Laurier, Macdonald, Pierre Trudeau, and Pearson filling the top five - so mid-twentieth century Liberalism is doing pretty well in academic eyes. Macdonald dropped among young respondents, and Trudeau dropped sharply among Quebec respondents.
Big misjudgments? Louis St-Laurent right behind the top five, hmmm. And I'd say Alexander Mackenzie deserves to be higher than second from the bottom among the long-service PMs. Sure, he only served one term, and he tends to be treated as hopelessly out-maneuvered by John A. But the first ever Liberal government did important things: the secret ballot and electoral reform, civil service reform, bringing Prince Edward Island into confederation, planning western expansion and land treaties, and standing up to presumptuous governors-general and British officialdom. Historians who can see the merit in the short serving John Thompson should take another look at Mackenzie.