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January 17th, 2015

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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
1996 (By)     Byrne    
1997 Anders
1999 (By)     Cotler    
2000 Lunney Comartin      
2003 By Schellenberger        
2004 Devolin
Crowder     Bellavance
2006 Allen
    Del Mastro
2008 Boughen
  Valeriote   Thibeault
2011   Brahmi
Morin (M-C)
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)

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%

12 Responses to “Latest MP retirements put 2015 open seat count at 25-year high”

  1. Diane says:

    Question for pollster types. I noticed that in the most recent Ipsos Reid poll (see link below) the base sample for Alberta was larger than the one for Ontario, before weighting. There are a few other “anomalies” in the same poll. In an earlier poll (December 3rd), the sample for Alberta was considerably smaller, as one would expect (see second link below). Does weighting correct for this or do these strange samples affect the final poll?

  2. An Alberta over-sample like that probably signifies that they were also polling on provincial vote intention ahead of the expected Alberta provincial election. They would weight those results back down to Alberta’s share of the national population when assessing national vote intention results, Diane.

  3. Diane says:

    Thanks, Alice (I assume).

  4. Liam Lacy says:

    That table’s actually very helpful for my own research purposes. Thanks a bunch.

  5. Observant says:

    Here is a list of all the Liberal party caucus ex-Ministers who may not fit into Trudeau’s “generational change” Liberal party — all with the title of “Honourable” prefixing their names:

    Bélanger, Mauril (Hon.)
    Bennett, Carolyn (Hon.)
    Brison, Scott (Hon.)
    Byrne, Gerry (Hon.)
    Coderre, Denis (Hon.) [Gone]
    Cotler, Irwin (Hon.) [Going]
    Dion, Stéphane (Hon.)
    Easter, Wayne (Hon.)
    Eyking, Mark (Hon.)
    Fry, Hedy (Hon.)
    Goodale, Ralph (Hon.)
    Karygiannis, Jim (Hon.) [Going]
    MacAulay, Lawrence (Hon.)
    McCallum, John (Hon.)
    McKay, John (Hon.)
    Rae, Bob (Hon.) [Gone]
    Regan, Geoff (Hon.)
    Sgro, Judy (Hon.)

    If I’m one of these old Liberal veterans, I must be asking myself is it time to retire gracefully? And if I don’t will I be green lighted or will I have the indignity of an open nomination contest? What’s the message then?

    Did any of the above have their nomination acclaimed or are they on their own?

    Can you see these venerable old politicians running in an election on generational change now being espoused by Justin de Trudeau..? I can’t…!!!

  6. The rest of the list has all already been renominated, and all by acclamation, except for Stephane Dion, who narrowly won a contested nomination last spring. Not really seeing the big conspiracy.

  7. Craig says:

    Observant, I’m not sure what you’re getting at. As Alice Funke said, almost all the long-term Liberal MP’s are running again. The only 2 long-term Liberal MP’s that aren’t running again are Irwin Cotler (who is 75 and is entitled to retire!) and Gerry Byrne (who is going to provincial politics). So it appears that Justin Trudeau does have the support of the veteran Liberal MP’s. And there are also a few former Liberal MP’s like Borys Wrzesnewskyj who are running again to get back into Parliament.

    So far Tom Mulcair appears to be losing more long-term MP’s (eg. Libby Davies, Yvon Godin, Joe Comartin, Chris Charlton, Jean Crowder, etc.) One could make an argument that the NDP veterans are bailing on Mulcair, but that might be a risky argument too unless we see a larger list of NDP MP’s leaving over the next few months.

  8. Shadow says:

    Ted Hsu’s departure is a bit baffling because he seemed like such a rising star.

    If the explanation isn’t personal best I could see it is that he figured that even if Trudeau won he didn’t have a shot at cabinet. Too many veterans and all the new blood would be from the hand picked candidates.

  9. Craig says:

    Ted Hsu explained in his statement that being in Parliament took him away from his 2 young daughters too much and that he will return to politics when they are older. Frank Valeriote appears to be leaving for much the same reason – he & his wife split up last year, and Valeriote says he needs to spend more time with his kids. Rod Bruinooge also cited the need to spend more time with his kids when he announced his retirement this month, so it seems to be a common concern on Parliament Hill.

  10. Shadow says:

    Craig ‘spending more time with my family’ is used so often to explain resignations that its become cliché.

    For example a politician would never say ‘I didn’t think I had a shot at cabinet so i’m quitting’ or ‘i’m out of favour with the shadow pmo brain trust surrounding Trudeau that has hand picked candidates despite an open nominations pledge/the promise of a new hopeful style of politics’.

    But who can say ? Of course the reasons that go into a resignation are more complex than the who’s up and who’s down of politics. Pensions, other career options, the commute, whether you’re having fun and yes sometimes family.

  11. Paul McKivett says:

    Observant, you are not very observant in that Karygiannis, Jim (Hon.) [Going] has already gone, and is now a Toronto Council member! Did you just cut and paste from your earlier post?

    I concur with Craig in that I am not sure of the point of your post. Also your list does not include MP’s who are of similar ages as those you cite but haven’t served in Cabinet, not to mention individuals who are over 60 that are running for us.

  12. David Young says:

    Add Randy Kamp and now John Baird to the list of Conservatives not running in 2015.

    Looks like the thought of getting their pensions at age 55 rather than waiting until they are 65 was too good to pass up!

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