Monday, July 4, 2011

Assessing MP experience inside and outside the political bubble

Experience on a town council, in a legislature or at the cabinet table can certainly come in handy when entrusted with the governance of the country. It is also useful when trying to convince Canadians to hand you and your party the keys to 24 Sussex Drive. But there is something to be said about experience in the private sector, outside of the bubble of municipal, provincial and federal politics. That real-life experience can mean the kind of outside-the-box thinking that may escape a career politician.  

You can read the rest of the article on The Globe and Mail website here. A condensed version with infographic is also in today's print edition of the newspaper.

After last week's piece raised a few hackles, I take a different angle on the experience of Canada's federal politicians. Depending on your perspective, experience outside of the political bubble could be considered a positive thing. Having fewer "career politicians" might mean a less experienced caucus, but it also might mean a more representative caucus.

In the end, hindsight can only tell us whether a particular set of parliamentarians lacking in political experience gave them an advantage or a disadvantage. Rookies can shake things up, and political history has plenty of those kinds of examples. They can also flame out, and history has plenty of examples of that as well.


  1. Whether "outside" experience is really that important is not a question that can be answered in any definitive way.

    As those of us who have moved from one company to another can tell you the important thing about the "new" company is two fold. The job itself and the internal company politics.

    In the case of parliamentarians the ONLY thing that counts is that latter item. Like it or lump it every thing that happens, happens for a political reason. Not experience or ability or any other measure than pure politics.

    Look at how some if not all of the disaster situations, where we should expect the most original thinking, have in fact played strictly by the political rules and nothing else !!

  2. New Federal Poll:

  3. A more meaningful number might be arrived at by including all the candidates that ran.

    I would hazard a guess that there are 0 first time members for the Liberal party, 23 first time conservatives and 67 first time NDP members based solely on the changes in the number of seats in the House.

    I am curious how you determine "career politician" as well. Does that include only the time spent as an elected official or does it include working inside a party?

  4. It includes time as an elected official, so it did not include time spent working inside a party.

    Those kinds of complete records don't exist, unfortunately.


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