Who are Canada's most influential people? You might be surprised
The Prime Minister might be an obvious choice, but an annual ranking of Canada's most influential men and women also includes a few surprise players.
While names like Stephen Harper, Toronto rapper Drake and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are arguably go-to choices, this year's list of most powerful Canadians by Maclean’s magazine also includes Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and the PM's wife, Laureen Harper.
The magazine's annual "Power Issue" hit newsstands on Thursday. The list, which was expanded from 25 to 50 this year, includes Canadians from all walks of life.
Candidates were assessed based on three criteria:
- How much institutional power does the person hold?
- How innovative are they?
- How much is happening right now, or soon, that puts their power in play?
Maclean's Ottawa bureau chief John Geddes, who helped compile the list, said power was defined broadly and based on actual decision-making clout.
"You're comparing people from such different walks of life; (the list) ultimately is a starting point for an argument rather than an authoritative thing," Geddes told CTV's Canada AM on Thursday.
Coming in at a surprisingly high No. 2, Geddes said Calgary’s highly popular mayor made the list in spite of the fact he wields less power than some key federal cabinet ministers.
"Nenshi's performance in the last while, particularly in the Calgary flood, was so notable that he sort of drew the nation's eyes in a way that's rarely brought to bear on a mayor's job," he explained.
"He's an interesting, progressive, sort of upbeat kind of figure. And I think, given that not every mayor of a big city in Canada is covering himself with glory these days, we thought it was fascinating you could still persuade people … working at the municipal level."
Another unexpected name, rounding out the Top 10, is BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis.
Although BlackBerry's star has fallen over the past years and the company’s stock price has been sagging, Maclean’s suggests Lazaridis still has a bright future ahead of him. The Canadian businessman is also the co-founder of Quantam Valley Investment, a Waterloo-based company which funds quantum computing research and business ventures.
Though she didn’t crack the top 10, some might be surprised to find Laureen Harper landed on the list this year.
Although not as powerful as her husband, who is ranked No. 1, Canada's "first lady" is an important element of the prime minister's power: His public profile. Laureen, who is ranked No. 17, regularly attends public events with Harper and often speaks with key cabinet ministers.
The Top 10:
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper
- Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi
- Jerry Dias, president of Unifor
- Mark Wiseman, president and CEO of the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board
- France Charbonneau, superior court judge
- Ray Novak, Harper's chief of staff
- Galen Weston Jr., executive chairperson of Loblaw
- Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
- Julie Dickson, superintendent of the office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions
- Mike Lazaridis, co-founder of BlackBerry