Monday, December 5, 2011

Farmers better represented in the House than the field

The House of Commons sealed the fate of the Canadian Wheat Board last week, removing the organization’s control over grain sales in Western Canada. The decision that will have a profound effect on the lives of thousands of farmers was approved by a House made up of, among others, lawyers, doctors and career politicians. But farmers, too, voted to end the board’s 76 year monopoly. 

You can read the rest of the article on The Globe and Mail website here.

The House of Commons has historically been seen as a debating club for lawyers, but that isn't quite the case. Though lawyers have been the most common occupation of MPs, farmers come in second. They used to make up a larger proportion of the House than they do today, but that was also the case in the general population as well. The Globe article looks at this in light of the demise of the Wheat Board.

But in the course of my research, I noticed a few amusing little tidbits. Some of you may have seen me write about this on Twitter last week.

In the House of Commons' 144-year history, 27 MPs listed "gentleman" as their occupation. This was an "occupation" more common to a bygone era, but Peter Stoffer, current MP for Sackville-Eastern Shore has listed his occupation (at least in the past) as "country gentleman"!

Fans of There Will be Blood may find it funny that five MPs listed their occupation as "oilman". Surprisingly, only one of them was from Alberta - the other four were from Ontario.

There have been eight students, six of them currently sitting in the ranks of the New Democratic Party. The other two were first elected in 1921 and 1974.

Nine MPs have been "persons of independent means" and three were undertakers.

All of this information, and the information used for this Globe article, was gleaned from this website. Click around and you'll find a lot of interesting stuff.