Thursday, June 28, 2012

Old Incumbent Liberal MPs Are A Problem

Only 4% of NDP MPs and 7% of Conservative MPs have been in Parliament since 1999 compared to 40% of Liberal MPs. If the Liberal Party needs to change, it needs to start with its MPs.

The Liberal Party's main problem is it's old. It's few MPs are the oldest and the longest serving, indicating a party that is stagnant and anything but new. If the Liberals do need new ideas, they need new MPs to champion them. The party needs old MPs to step down so new ones can step up.

Liberal MPs may represent Liberal policies, but in comparing previous parliaments, it's clear they also represent Liberal stagnation. Using this government website one can search through recent parliament compositions and see when MPs came into the House of Commons and how long they've been there.

Only three MPs have been serving continually since 1988, two of them are Liberal, Jim Karygiannis and Lawrence MacAuley, the other is Bloc Quebecois MP Louis Plamondon. Karygiannis and MacAuley, comprising almost 6% of the 35 Liberal MP contingent are the most obvious examples of a party not just stuck in the past, but led by it.

Including Karygiannis and MacAuley, 25.7% of current Liberal MPs have been in office since the 35th Parliament (1993-1997) compared to just 3.7% of the current Conservative MPs. No current NDP MP was serving yet.

If the 36th Parliament (1997-2000) is included, 40% or 14 of the Liberal Party's current representatives have been in the House for almost 15 years where the Conservatives and NDP have had turnover, experienced change, and elected new faces; only 7% or 12 Conservative MPs remain from that same period and so do only 3.9% or 4 NDP MPs.

In this 41st Parliament Liberal MPs haven't just been there the longest, they're also the oldest. The average age for a Liberal MP is 54, Conservative MPs average an age of 52 years, and NDP 46. Age can mean little, and there are outliers to suggest otherwise, but history shows that new and bold ideas come from the more youthful members of movements not from the more senior.

Members of Parliament play important roles in introducing ideas and providing leadership within the party. As some ridings are Liberal strongholds, and others have just been stagnant for too long, it's time for some Liberal MPs to reflect on their past contributions to the party and step down so others with new ideas can step up.

But then again, being made up of the oldest and longest serving MPs will eventually offer real substantive change, too bad it will be the ending of the Liberal Party.

8 comments:

kitt said...

Horse pukes

Volkov said...

I hate to play devil's advocate, but there's a reason why these guys are still around - we'd probably lose their ridings if they weren't. I think that is definitely true at least with Karygiannis and MacAulay, and probably with Sgro and Fry as well. Those guys we tried to bring in as new blood, well, they kept losing.

Jordan said...

It's the party's own fault for not allowing anyone to challenge them for the nomination. I think the reason a number of Toronto and Montreal MPs were defeated last May was because they had been around forever, got lazy and people wanted new representation. The Liberals are a tired old party that needs some freshening up.

Jason Cherniak said...

Just wait until you see the nomination races...

WesternGrit said...

Scott, I think the bigger concern is some who lost their seats (some, not all) who aren't deserving of a 3rd or 4th chance. We need to encourage - or continue to encourage the "Young Turks Uprising" that began with the last Convention, but I'm not ready to put all that experience out to pasture just yet. To represent the aging Canadian population, you do require a wide swath of age groups represented. We are still VERY well represented by women, but need to work on the youth element.

It is really more a symptom of our past success - you couldn't really hope to run in a "winable" seat with the LPC in gov't, unless you were a great organizer. This will change with us having to come up from where the Cons and NDP both were.

No more "gimmes" here - we will be seeing a lot of Young Liberals, and younger candidates running this next time - and I encourage it.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Volkov, the candidate is important, but so too is the riding. I live in a riding that's been conservative for over 40 years. The numbers fluctuate temporarily when there's a new conservative candidate but they always solidify. I would find it difficult to imagine that there are no corresponding Liberal ridings.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Jason, my expectations are low but my hope is high.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

WesternGrit, interesting, I didn't think of how being in power affected the natural selection of candidates within each winnable riding. It does explain why my Conservative MP is so similar to some of ours.