Minister of Everything

Moniker for a Senior Minister who enjoys wide-ranging influence within the cabinet and government, often with the close ear of the Prime Minister and greater freedom than other ministers. Ministers usually earn this title by serving in many high-profile portfolios over the course of a government or enjoying widespread power beyond their file due to seniority or political clout.

The original Minister of Everything was C.D. Howe, who spent over two decades in MacKenzie King and Louis St. Laurent’s cabinets and was charged with coordinating Canada’s war effort and overseeing the post-war boom. From 1935 to 1957, Howe wielded almost unchecked power Minister of Transport after the depression, Minister of Munitions and Supply (as well as Reconstruction) during World War II and Minister of Trade & Commerce post-war.

Though none enjoyed Howe’s free rein, Arthur Meighen, Alan MacEachern, Jean Chrétien, Don Mazanowski, Perrin Beatty, John Manley, Jason Kenney, John Baird, Navdeep Bains and most recently Chrystia Freeland have all been called Minister of Everything. Provincial Ministers of Everything have included Rich Coleman in BC, George Smitherman in Ontario and Ken Kowalski in Alberta.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives, Howe speaking at the inaugural flight of Trans Canada Airlines (which he helped create) between Vancouver and Toronto

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