Pundits' Guide to Canadian Elections

Current Party Standings (plus more metrics to come...)

 ConsNDPLibBQGrnOthIndTOTAL
Won in last general election1661033441  308
By-election vacancies-9-3-3    -15
By-election wins825    15
Left the caucus-3-7-2-3  -3-18
[Re-]Joined the caucus1 11121218
Vacancies      -2-2
Current standings16395352227306

Latest Blog Post

Latest MP retirements put 2015 open seat count at 25-year high

January 17th, 2015 | 11 Comments »

---- 2 ±±±± 1 ±±±± 0 ±±±± 1 ±±±± 2 ++++

Nomination Meetings by Party and Date, to January 15, 2015

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

The 2015 election won't set a record for the number of retiring MPs, but given the 30 new seats being added to the House of Commons, it's setting a 25-year record for the largest number of open seats.

An open seat is one having no sitting Member of Parliament running as a candidate. And it's this month's 3 MP retirement announcements, from Manitoba Conservatives Rod Bruinooge and Joy Smith, and New Brunswick NDPer Yvon Godin, who are putting that figure over the top.

Retiring Incumbents and Open Seats, 1993 GE – 42nd GE
(updated to January 15, 2015)

General Election Seats Retiring Incumbents New Seats Open Seats
1993 GE 295 72   72
1997 GE 301 43 6 49
2000 GE 301 25   25
2004 GE 308 58 7 65
2006 GE 308 28   28
2008 GE 308 38   38
2011 GE 308 19   19
42nd GE 338 41 + 2 vacant 30 71 (+2)

There are now 41 sitting Members of Parliament who have announced that they aren't running in the next election. This includes 25 Conservative MPs, 8 current NDP MPs, 5 current Liberal MPs (including one formerly elected as a New Democrat), 1 current Bloc Québécois MPs (including one elected under the NDP), and 2 Independents MP (Sana Hassainia, who was also elected with the NDP, and André Bellavance who was elected with the Bloc).

That number compares to the 58 incumbents who retired in 2004, and the recent high of 72 retiring incumbents in 1993.

And there may be more coming. For one thing, there has been a change in the rules on early retirement in the MPs' pension plan, such that an MP who retires now can take an early retirement and collect a substantial partial pension at age 55. Those who run again and lose, or retire during the next session of Parliament won't be able to exercise that option until the age of 60 – and will have to accept a bigger reduction for early retirement at the same time. That's not a change that would affect any of the one-term NDP or Liberal MPs who are stepping down without any pension eligibility vested, but it has to be a factor for those with longer service.

Retiring (and Resigned) Incumbents, 41st Parliament, by Year First Elected
(updated to January 15, 2015)

Class of Cons NDP Lib BQ Ind
Total = 41 25 8 5 1 2 + 2 vacant
1993 Ablonczy
Breitkreuz
Harris
       
1996 (By)     Byrne    
1997 Anders
Goldring
Keddy
Vellacott
Davies
Godin
     
1999 (By)     Cotler    
2000 Lunney Comartin      
2003 By Schellenberger        
2004 Devolin
Hiebert
Kormarnicki
O'Connor
Preston
Smith
Crowder     Bellavance
2006 Allen
Bruinooge
Davidson
Hawn
Mayes
Norlock
Storseth
Atamanenko
Charlton
    Del Mastro
2008 Boughen
Kerr
Payne
  Valeriote   Thibeault
2011   Brahmi
Morin (M-C)
Hsu
St-Denis
Patry Hassainia

Of the remaining 265 MPs (remember: 2 other seats are currently vacant – Peterborough, ON and Sudbury, ON), 231 have been renominated and a further 6 have meetings scheduled, leaving 28 current MPs not yet renominated (18 in the NDP caucus, 7 Conservatives, 1 Bloquiste, and 2 Independents).

All 30 non-retiring Liberal MPs have now been renominated.

Seven Conservative MPs have not yet been renominated:

  • Cabinet ministers: Gail Shea (who just announced that she would indeed be running again), Peter MacKay, Julian Fantino (who also insists he'll run again), and junior minister Lynne Yelich
  • Finance Committee Chair James Rajotte of Edmonton (who told me he's running again), and Leon Benoit also of Alberta (who unless he wants to run against two other nomination contestants in Peace River–Westlock, AB, looks like he's lost the game of redistribution musical chairs)
  • Eve Adams withdrew from one nomination contest already, and it's unclear if she'll try to run for another.
  • Rob Anders already sought a nomination twice unsuccessfully (but since he said he would not try for another one, I've included him as one of the Conservatives' 41 retirees).

Twenty-three NDP MPs have not yet been renominated (though 5 of them have meetings scheduled):

  • Long-timers: Jack Harris (who says he is running again), Peggy Nash (also committed to another run), Dave Christopherson (who is also running again), Carol Hughes, John Rafferty, Pat Martin, Dennis Bevington, and leader Tom Mulcair (I'm pretty sure on the rest running again, but haven't specifically tracked it down yet)
  • First-timers: Robert Aubin (mtg Jan 17), Craig Scott (mtg Jan 17), Jean Rousseau (mtg Jan 18), Jonathan Tremblay (mtg Jan 31), Isabelle Morin (mtg Feb 27), Réjean Genest, Dan Harris, Pierre Jacob, François Lapointe, Alexandrine Latendresse, José Nunez-Melo, Marc-André Morin, Francine Raynault, and Romeo Saganash (who is planning to run again)
  • Jeanne-Le Ber, QC MP Tyrone Benskin is being challenged by two other candidates for the NDP nomination in the new riding of Ville-Marie–Le Sud-Ouest–Île-des-Sœurs, QC, and I'm told a few more of the Québec MPs may see challenges now as well.
  • Independent MP Maria Mourani, who was elected as a Bloquiste before being expelled from that caucus over her opposition to the PQ's Quebec Charter of Values last year, will be acclaimed the NDP candidate in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC on January 21.

Of the others:

  • Both Green Party MPs have now been renominated: leader Elizabeth May's September meeting having now been posted on the Elections Canada site, and former NDP MP Bruce Hyer becoming official before Christmas.
  • Last word was that Bloc Québécois dean Louis Plamondon was intending to run again, while current Bloc (former NDP) MP Claude Patry as mentioned above is standing down at the next election, so that's their 2 MPs.
  • Both of the "Forces et Démocratie" MPs are expected to run again – Jean-François Fortin and Jean-François Larose.
  • Independent MPs Brent Rathgeber and Scott Andrews have both announced their intention to run again, while as mentioned earlier André Bellavance intends to retire, and Maria Mourani is set to be acclaimed for the NDP in Ahuntsic-Cartierville on Wednesday. This leaves Massimo Pacetti and Manon Perrault as question marks, though I gather it's fairly certain the NDP will not be approving Perrault for another run under their banner, so the issue is whether she will re-present as an Independent.

As with last time we checked, the NDP still has the biggest gap in nominations to make up, of the three major parties, however. Ranking by the number of non-incumbent seats to fill (the harder job), the parties have the following numbers of non-incumbent candidates to recruit and nominate, in order to have a full slate:

  • NDP – 208 non-incumbents still to nominate
  • Liberals – 149 non-incumbents still to nominate
  • Conservatives – 136 non-incumbents still to nominate
  • Greens – 312 non-incumbents still to nominate

The Conservatives still remain slightly in the lead in terms of overall candidates selected as of January 15, but the Liberals are set to pass them based on currently notified nomination dates, and the NDP is also making rapid progress. The Greens are also unveiling higher-profile candidates in some of their key target seats in lower Vancouver Island, and the Bloc Québécois will log its first nominated candidate at the end of the month.

Note that 2 of the 25 "Other" selecteded candidates are Fortin and Larose for F+D, but the other 23 are from the Libertarian Party, which has a head start on every other small party going into the 2015 campaign, and intends to try and field a full slate, they tell me.

Party Nominations by Province, 42nd General Election
(updated to January 15, 2015) (Scroll right to view full table)

  YT NT NU BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE NL Tot Pct Wom Pct
Seats 1 1 1 42 34 14 14 121 78 10 11 4 7 338    
Lib 1     19 14 6 9 68 47 7 10 4 4 189 56% 66 34.9%
NDP       20 5 8 2 21 44 1 3 2 1 107 32% 44 41.1%
Grn       8 3 2 2 6     3 2   26 8% 8 30.8%
Cons 1   1 27 31 11 11 82 22 7 2     195 58% 37 19.0%
Ind         1   1           1 3 1%    
Oth       3 5 2   13 2         25 7% 1 4.0%

Earlier Blog Posts

UPDATED: How a little-noticed clause in the Fair Elections Act up-ends all conventional election timing speculation

January 15th, 2015

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!] UPDATE: See below for two points of clarification – on the indexation of third-party spending limits, and the scope of the limitation on fundraising cost exemptions. Anyone still debating the question of an early election date, versus a fall election date as planned, is completely missing the point. The question nowadays […]

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November is for Nominations

November 26th, 2014

Between them, the opposition NDP and Liberal parties will have nominated eighty candidates in the month of November alone, a sure sign that election readiness is top of mind in the year or so leading up to the next federal general election. Add those to the at least 11 Conservative nomination meetings (and likely more), […]

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By-Election Shocker! Conservatives retain Whitby-Oshawa

November 18th, 2014

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!] By the time all the ballots were counted Monday night, former Whitby mayor Pat Perkins held Whitby-Oshawa for the Conservative Party with nearly 50% of the vote. You could be forgiven for thinking this result was unlikely, given the extent to which Liberal talking points penetrated the media's pre-game analysis, egged […]

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UPDATED: Conservatives pass 50% mark in nominating 2015 slate

November 10th, 2014

As of this past week, the Conservative Party reached the 50% milestone in terms of the percentage of its 2015 slate of candidates nominated on the new boundaries. The effort required to bring the governing party to this level of readiness – and before any of its competitors, though in fairness it had a lot […]

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A Note on New Riding Names

November 9th, 2014

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UPDATED: 2015 Federal: The Not-Running and the Not-Sure

November 9th, 2014

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!] While the number of MPs announcing their retirement at the next election might seem high, it's still not that big by historical standards. [UPDATE: The date of Liberal MP Ralph Goodale’s November 13 nomination meeting has been added below, thanks to commenter Bruce. Also, thanks to Will at National Newswatch for […]

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Contested Nominations the New Normal for Non-incumbents

October 29th, 2014

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!] If you're not already in Parliament, chances are you're going to have to win a nomination contest to get there in 2015. That's because of the large number of competitive races we're seeing to carry party colours into the next federal election — especially in comparison with previous elections this century, […]

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Conservative Software Project Went Into Production in 2013, Financial Statements Show

July 3rd, 2014

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!] The Conservative Party's mysterious software project was no longer listed as an "asset under development", but rather full-fledged "computer software", in financial statements the party recently filed with Elections Canada for the 2013 calendar year. This is one of several storylines to emerge from the 2013 annual financial statements just filed […]

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June By-election Turnout: How low could we go? (You don’t want to know)

July 1st, 2014

Until Monday, Canada had never had a federal by-election with turnout under 20%. As of today – Canada Day – we've had two of them. Whether by accident or design, the decision by the Prime Minister to hold four federal by-elections on the Monday between a summer weekend and a statuatory holiday led to the […]

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