Canadian Parliament Primer

Your cheat sheet on the makeup of the House of Commons in the 43rd Canadian Parliament

The 2019 election is now behind us. The election changed the makeup of the 338-member House of Commons by party, but what else is different? How many female MPs were elected? How many rookies? How many Indigenous MPs? Here's a quick guide to answer these and other questions.


Canada elected a record number of female MPs, but women are still under-represented

Gender representation (all parties)

29% of MPs are female, 71% of MPs are male
Number of female MPs by party
Party Seats Proportion of seats
LIB (33.1% female) 52
CON (18.2% female) 22
BQ (37.5% female) 12
NDP (37.5% female) 9
GRN (66.7% female) 2
IND (100.0% female) 1

A record-setting 98 women were elected on Oct. 21, up from 88 in the 2015 federal election. The increase represents a modest gain in terms of representation: women now account for 29 per cent of the seats in the House.

The Liberals have the most women MPs — 52 — followed by the Conservatives (22), the Bloc Québécois (12), the NDP (nine) and the Green Party (two). There is also one female Independent MP: Jody Wilson-Raybould.

The number of women in the Commons has been growing in recent decades — but slowly. There were seven federal elections between 1993 and 2011. During that period, the percentage of female MPs hovered between 18 and 24.7 per cent, with slight decreases in some years as the total number of seats in the House grew.


More than one-quarter of MPs elected to the new Parliament are newcomers to federal politics

Proportion of rookie MPs (all parties)

27% of all MPs are rookies
Number of rookie MPs by party
Party Seats Proportion of seats
CON (31.4% rookies) 38
LIB (15.3% rookies) 24
BQ (65.6% rookies) 21
NDP (29.2% rookies) 7
GRN (33.3% rookies) 1

The hours are long, the workload can be overwhelming and voters can fire you without notice in an election.

Still, the job continues to attract new candidates, partly because it comes with perks few other jobs can offer: a chance to connect with Canadians across the country, to help shape public policy and to be a part of history as it unfolds.

Rookie MPs usually make up about one-third of new parliaments in Canada, although exact percentages vary with each election — and 2015 saw a bigger number than usual as the Liberals swung to power from third-party status.

The 2019 federal election came in somewhere below the historical average. Ninety-one MPs in the new Commons — about 27 per cent of the total — are new to federal politics.

The Conservatives have the greatest number of new MPs: 38. Twenty-four rookie Liberals were elected, followed closely by the Bloc Québécois with 21. Seven rookie New Democrats will sit in the House, as well as one rookie Green MP.

The first-time MPs were elected in ridings across the country, although the Bloc’s resurgence means that Quebec will see a relatively high number of new faces.


The incumbent advantage was a big factor, but there were notable defeats

Number of incumbent MPs by party

This election, there were 133 Liberal incumbents, 78 Tories, 16 New Democrats, 10 Bloc Quebecois, two Greens and one independent.

Name recognition goes a long way with voters; incumbency has always offered a significant advantage at the polls. In this election, 133 Liberal incumbents won re-election, followed by 78 Tories, 16 New Democrats, 10 Blocquistes, two Greens and one Independent.

But incumbency is no guarantee of political longevity. Twenty-nine Liberal incumbents lost their seats in the election. The Liberals saw particularly high turnover in Quebec — where they lost ground to the Bloc — and in the West, where the Conservatives had a very strong showing. High-profile longtime Liberal MP Ralph Goodale lost his Saskatchewan riding of Regina-Wascana.

Thirteen New Democrat incumbents were toppled and four Conservative incumbents lost their seats — including former cabinet minister Lisa Raitt, who was first elected to the Commons in 2008.


MPs, interrupted

Number of returning parliamentarians by party

Five Conservative MPs were elected again this year, as well as one New Democrat and two Blocquistes

Some people seem to have politics in their blood; they just can’t seem to leave it behind, even after stepping away for a time. Every election sees a few former politicos step back up to the plate.

Five one-time Conservative MPs were elected again this year. In the New Brunswick riding of Fundy Royal, for instance, Rob Moore — who represented the riding for 10 years before losing the seat to Liberal Alaina Lockhart in 2015 — won the 2019 re-match.

One returning New Democrat and two returning Blocquistes were also elected this year.


Meet Eric Melillo and Hedy Fry

The oldest and youngest MPs

Eric Melillo is the youngest MP at age 21, and Hedy Fry is the oldest MP at age 78

The MPs elected to Canada’s 43rd Parliament cover a wide range of ages.

The youngest will be 21-year-old Conservative MP Eric Melillo. He defeated Liberal veteran Bob Nault in the northern Ontario riding of Kenora, making him the youngest Tory MP ever elected in Canada. And he didn’t miss the Canadian record by much: former NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault was elected in the Quebec riding of Sherbrooke in 2011 at the age of 19. Dusseault lost the seat to Liberal Élisabeth Brière this time around.

At the other end of the age spectrum is Liberal Hedy Fry. Fry, 78, was first elected in her riding of Vancouver Centre in 1993, when she unseated then-prime minister Kim Campbell. She won her ninth consecutive contest this year and is now the longest-serving female MP.


Ten Indigenous MPs elected to House of Commons

Indigenous representation (all parties)

Ten Indigenous MPs were elected to the House of Commons, down one from the record in 2015.
Number of Indigenous MPs by party
Party Number of MPs

Ten Indigenous people were elected to the House of Commons in this federal election, one fewer than the record-setting number elected in 2015.

The Liberal Party elected the most Indigenous MPs this time — six, including five incumbents: Vance Badawey (Métis), Niagara Centre, Ont.; Yvonne Jones (Inuk), Labrador; Michael McLeod (Métis), Northwest Territories; Dan Vandal (Métis), Saint Boniface-Saint Vital, Man.; and Marc Serré (Mattawa/North Bay Algonquin First Nation), Nickel Belt, Ont.; and newcomer Jaime Battiste (Eskasoni First Nation), Sydney-Victoria, N.S.

The NDP ran the most Indigenous candidates in this election. Two of them won: Leah Gazan (Wood Mountain Lakota Nation) in Winnipeg Centre and Mumilaaq Qaqqaq (Inuk) in Nunavut. The Conservatives now have one Indigenous MP: Marc Dalton (Métis) in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, B.C.

Jody Wilson-Raybould (We Wai Kai First Nation) was elected to the House of Commons in 2015 as a Liberal but returns in 2019 as an Independent for the riding of Vancouver-Granville.


4 of 87 LGBTQ candidates won seats

Number of LGBTQ MPs by party

Of the 87 LGBTQ candidates in the 2019 federal election, four were elected to the House of Commons, including one New Democrat, two Liberals and one Tory.

At least 87 LGBTQ Canadians were candidates in the 2019 federal election. Forty ran as New Democrats; 28 as Greens; 10 as Liberals; four as Conservatives; three as Blocquistes; and two under the banner of the People’s Party of Canada.

The majority of those candidates were concentrated in ridings in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, a pre-election analysis by CBC News found.

Four were elected to the House of Commons: New Democrat Randall Garrison in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, B.C.; Conservative Eric Duncan in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, Ont.; and Liberals Seamus O'Regan in St. John's South-Mount Pearl, Nfld. and Rob Oliphant in Don Valley West, Ont.

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