Public Policy Forum Publishes Research on Canada's Members of Parliament

    OTTAWA, Sept. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The Public Policy Forum has released an
in-depth study on Canada's Members of Parliament. Entitled (Not as) Male, (Not
as) Educated, (Not as) Experienced & (Still) White, this report is a snapshot
of the demographic make-up of Canada's 39th Parliament.
    "We found that the majority of Canada's MPs remain white, middle-aged,
male and relatively inexperienced as parliamentarians," says Jodi White,
President of the Public Policy Forum. "Many critics say that our Parliament is
too homogenous; that our MPs don't represent our views. Just how
representative they are remains debatable."
    When compared with the 110th US House of Representatives and the 54th
British Parliament, the news is not all bad. Canada has the highest percentage
of women in Parliament (21 per cent), is more ethnically diverse than the UK
(9 per cent vs. 2 per cent), and its members are, on average, younger than in
the U.S. (53 vs. 56).
    In terms of education, 68 per cent of MPs have a university degree
(though only 14 per cent did not attend university). When compared with the
US, the difference is stark. There, 96 per cent of Representatives have a
university degree, with 66 per cent having an advanced degree. In the UK,
72 per cent of MPs attended university, of whom 27 per cent attended Oxford or
    Canadian and British MPs have similar career backgrounds. In Canada,
195 of MPs (64%) come from the private sector, including 48 lawyers. This
compares with 403 British MPs (66%). In the US, most Congressmen (58%), come
directly from state or local politics.
    When it comes to tenure in Parliament, Canadian MPs have less experience
than their American or British counterparts - roughly 7 years. And with 41 MPs
retiring or already retired from this Parliament (9 of whom have already been
replaced), the next Parliament will have even fewer experienced members.
    "A twelve per cent turnover of MPs is dramatic," says Deirdre McMurdy,
Public Policy Forum Vice-President. "This raises some interesting questions
about the effect of successive minority Parliaments on our MPs."
    Election expenses may also play a role. In Canada, the average campaign
expenditure per candidate is almost $62,000. This compares with about
$17,000 in the UK. When compared to the US, it may seem more reasonable: the
average US expenditure per candidate is $517,000.
    The full report is available on the Public Policy Forum web site,

    Some highlights:


    - 21.9% of Canadian MPs are over the age of 60
          - US: 43.9%
          - UK: 17.6%


    - 13.5% of the Liberal caucus is "non-white" (Conservative: 7.1%; Bloc:
      6.3%; NDP: 3.3%)
          - 17% of US Congressmen are "non-white"
          - 2.3% of UK MPs are "non-white"


    - 40.9% of the Conservative Caucus does not have a university degree
          - Bloc: 40%
          - NDP: 37.5%
          - Liberal: 15.6%

    Previous Employment:

    - 78% of the Conservative caucus comes from the private sector (Liberals:
      63.5%; Bloc: 47.9%; NDP: 33%)
          - 83% of UK Conservative MPs come from Business/Non-Profit sectors
            (Labour: 56.1%)


    - 53.4% of MPs have less than 5 years experience
          - Bloc: 66.7%
          - Conservative: 61.4%
          - NDP: 60.4%
          - Liberal: 34.4%
    - Only 18 MPs (12 Liberal) have over 15 years experience
          - 30.9% in the US
          - 39% of UK MPs have over 11 years experience
    - Average Tenure: Approximately 7 years
          - 10 years in the US (5 terms)


    - Per candidate average election expenses: $62,000
          - UK: (pnds stlg)7,162 (CA$16,683)
          - US: $517,000 (CA$527,340)
    - Per constituency average election expenses: $300,266
          - UK: (pnds stlg)65,620 (CA$152,150)
          - US: $1,875,379 (CA$2,112,427)

For further information:

For further information: Jodi White, President, Public Policy Forum,
(613) 238-7160,

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