Janine O'Flynn
Prime Minister of Canada
Term of Office: February 12, 2006 - January 12, 2009
Predecessor: Phillip Scotsbrook
Successor: Phillip Scotsbrook

Howard Longstaff(Cabinet I, II & III)

Jocelyn Fishman (Cabinet IV)

Leader of the Liberal Party
Term of Office: October 30, 2005 - January 12, 2009
Predecessor: Archie Glover
Successor: Nicéphore Baudin
Member of Parliament for Vaughan
Term of Office: December 10, 2000 - October 29, 2005
Predecessor: Jeremy Danell
Successor: Lorraine Milton
May 30, 1958 (age 51)

Newmarket, Ontario

United Church of Canada
Political party:
Liberal Party
Politician, Lawyer, Professor

Janine Catherine O'Flynn, MC, CC (born May 30, 1958) is a former Canadian politician of the Liberal Party. She served as the Prime Minister of Canada from February 13, 2006 until January 12, 2009.

She previously served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the electoral riding of Vaughan from December 10, 2000 until October 29, 2005. After then, Liberal Party leader Archie Glover stepped down after an internal power struggle, between him and then Liberal Party Chairman Max Eldridge. O'Flynn suceeded him in both positions, and became the Liberal nominee for Prime Minister in the Canadian General Election of 2006. The Liberals became the surprising winner of the election, gaining 14 seats and becoming the largest party in the House of Commons. This success was in part owed to O'Flynn and to her neutral attitude in the debate with UPR leader Claude Nicholson, for not having participated in the supposed ‘demonisation’ by the political Left. Nicholson was assassinated during the national election campaign on February 6, 2006.

O'Flynn became Prime Minister of Canada, leading the O'Flynn Cabinet I but it collapsed after just 86 days in office because of internal conflicts within the UPR that destabilised the government. After the Canadian general election of 2007, O'Flynn who again as Liberal nominee gained 1 seat and formed the new O'Flynn Cabinet II. The cabinet fell on June 30, 2008 after the D66, the smallest coalition party withdrew its support of the cabinet over the way Minister for Integration and Immigration Maria Lum had handled the crisis around the naturalization of MP Nishant Bhattacharya. A rump O'Flynn Cabinet III was formed and stayed in office until the Canadian general election of 2008. O'Flynn again as nominee lost three seats but the Liberals remained the largest party with 41 seats. After the cabinet formation, the new O'Flynn IV took office on September 22, 2008. The cabinet fell on December 20, 2008 as the result of disagreement between Liberal and Labour Party over the extension of missions in Tibet. For the Canadian general election of 2009, O'Flynn for a fourth time as Liberal nominee resigned her position as Party leader taking political responsibility after the Liberals' disappointing results in the election. She remaind as Prime Minister of Canada until the new Scotsbrook Cabinet was installed on January 12, 2009. Phillip Scotsbrook was then sworn in for the second time as Prime Minister of Canada on January 14, 2009.

After her premiership, O'Flynn retired from active politics and became a partner at the professional services firm Gauck & Florence and returned as a Professor of Political Science at the Wilfrid Laurier University.

Early life


Janine O'Flynn was born on May 30, 1958 in Newmarket, Ontario. Her father, John O'Flynn, was a cereal grains merchant and her mother, Isabelle Thorne, was a French and German teacher.

O'Flynn went to a Protestant primary school and a secular secondary school in Newmarket. She then studied at the University of Ottawa, where she received an M.A. degree in History in 1982, an LL.M. degree in Canadian Law in 1984, and finally a PhD degree in Law in 1994. O'Flynn resides with her fiance, Benjamin Spear, and his daughter, Emily, in Lucan Biddulph, a township near London, Ontario. During her tenure as Prime Minister, she rented an apartment in Ottawa, rather than live at 24 Sussex Drive, the formal residency of the Prime Minister.

Early political career

She began his career on the staff of the research institute of the CDA and as a city councilwoman in Sarnia. In that period she received her PhD with a thesis on "Administrative regulation and social organisations" and she later became an extraordinary professor of Liberal Thought at the University of Ottawa.

O'Flynn first entered the House of Commons on 10 December, 2000 after being elected as the MP of Vaughan while the Liberals were in opposition. She became the Liberals' financial spokesman and was also involved with social affairs, justice, and domestic affairs. In this role she advocated a substantial reduction of the national debt and sound public finances. She was elected Chairman of the Liberal Party on 30 October 2005, succeeding Archie Glover. On 3 November 2005, she was appointed nominee for the Liberals in the tumultuous February 2006 parliamentary elections. These elections restored the Liberals' former position as the largest political party in the Canadian parliament.

Prime Minister

O'Flynn has been prime minister of four successive cabinets.

O'Flynn I

On 17 February 2006, O'Flynn formed a new government after the general elections following the defeat of Prime Minister Phillip Scotsbrook. This cabinet is known as O'Flynn I. The coalition cabinet included the Union for Progress & Reform (UPR) party, whose leader (Claude Nicholson) was assassinated just days before the election. It collapsed after just 86 days in office because of internal conflicts within the UPR that destabilised the government.

O'Flynn II

O'Flynn III

O'Flynn IV


Despite serious criticism by former prime ministers from the Liberals, O'Flynn was the Liberal nominee for the Canadian general election of 2009. O'Flynn raised mild controversy during her campaign for the 2009 Dutch elections. While appearing in a television show, O'Flynn was asked by a male presenter what parties he would most likely form a coalition with. O'Flynn first gave evasive answers, then when asked again by the presenter, responded saying "You have such a sweet look in your eyes". The comment was regarded as sexist and criticized by several people, including News of the World chief-editor Peter McKay and ToronLinks leader Fiona Maurice (who stated that "O'Flynn deserves a fist to the face"). O'Flynn apologized for the comment later. On 12 January 2009, O'Flynn resigned her position as leader of the Liberals as well as her seat in the newly-elected parliament, taking political responsibility for the Liberals' disappointing election results in the 2009 general election.

Other issues

In 2006, during her second cabinet, O'Flynn was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis. She was treated through surgical debridement and made a full recovery after several weeks in hospital.

O'Flynn has a close relationship with the Inuit nation and Métis people. She has visited several native celebrations in recent years.

She is a member of the Protestant United Church of Canada

Honors and Titles


  • Key to the City of Sarnia (Canada, 30 May 1998)

Honorary doctorates

  • Honorary doctorate, Hofstra University (New York, USA, 22 May 2011)
  • Honorary doctorate in Social Sciences, Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea, 27 April 2010)
  • Honorary doctorate, Keio University (Tokyo, Japan, 27 oktober 2009)
  • Honorary doctorate, Károli Gáspár University of the Hungarian Reformed Church (Budapest, Hungary, 10 October 2005)


  • Member of the Order of Canada (2 September, 2003)
  • Companion of the Order of Canada (24 January, 2009)

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