Are you interested in speeches made by Canadian prime ministers? Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has a unique collection of resources to help you find speeches given by past prime ministers from the very beginning of our nationhood. LAC’s historical resources complement the Government of Canada resources which include more recent speeches.
The archived website, First Among Equals, contains a section devoted to select speeches made by past prime ministers. From the introduction page of this virtual exhibit, click the “Speeches” link from the left menu, which will take you to a page of speeches organized by topic. To view speeches given by a particular PM, click on “Profiles” in the left menu. Please note that this website is archived and will no longer be updated.
Among the sources originally used for putting together the First Among Equals website was LAC’s collection of speeches on microfiche, a reproduction of a collection of speeches held at the Library of Parliament. This collection is located in the 2nd floor reading room of LAC’s main building at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. In addition to speeches given by PMs, this resource includes speeches delivered by other Ministers and Leaders of the Opposition from 1914 to 1993.
Recent statements and speeches by the current Prime Minister of Canada can be viewed on the PM’s website. Previous versions of this website have been archived at the Government of Canada (GC) web archive as well as the Internet Archive. To view archived versions on the GC web archive, start with the Department List and scroll down to the heading, “Prime Minister of Canada.” To view the previous PM website using the Internet Archive, navigate to the home page and enter “http://pm.gc.ca” in the search box. The results page will show a calendar with dates of all captures of the website dating back to 1996. Keep in mind when viewing archived websites that search functions may not work properly and links to external sites or documents may no longer be functional.
Published sources containing speeches by Canadian prime ministers can be located by searching LAC’s online catalogue, AMICUS. Click on the blue “Search AMICUS” button (no need to register). From the “Basic Search,” select “Name browse” and enter the name of the PM that you are looking for (e.g. “King, William Lyon Mackenzie”). On the resulting page, click on an underlined name to see a listing of everything in LAC’s published collection that are both by and about that person. For other search tips, see the AMICUS help pages.
For speeches delivered in the House of Commons, the full text is available in the House of Commons Debates (Hansard). Online access to the debates is available on the Parliament of Canada website as of January 17, 1994, and at the Canadian Parliamentary Historical Resources website from Confederation until the end of the 1st Session of the 35th Parliament (February 2nd, 1996). Indexes are available from 1904 on; click on the Parliament and then the Session to see a list of volumes available.