Monday, February 16, 2009

Stephen Harper's Longevity

Stephen Harper is now the 13th longest serving Prime Minster in Canadian history. There have been a total of 22 since 1867 making the average term 6 years and 160 days.

Baring some dramatic change, Stephen Harper is not going to be a footnote in Canadian politics, he will have lead us in a definable era.

On January 8th 2011 he passes Alexander Mackenzie. On February 4th 2011 he passes Mike Pearson. On April 22 2011 he passes RB Bennett. By the realistic time of the next federal election, he will be the 10th longest serving Prime Minister in Canadian history. If he lasts till the next election day, Oct 12th 2012, he will have served for more than the average length of time for a PM in Canada.

By 2012 14 MPs will be older than 70. 40 more will be past the 65 year old retirement age, one of them being Michael Ignatieff. One in seven MPs will be a pensioner and most of them are unlikely to run again. In the 2012 election we are likely to see as many as one in three MPs not run again. The 2012 election could be one of the biggest changes in membership in the House of Commons in a long time.

After the 2012 election, the typical MP will have been born in 1964. Right now it is 1957, the year Stephen Harper was born.

In the Senate there will have 25 more retirements by election day in 2012. There will also be 28 more senators over the age of 70, I am not an actuary, but I believe we should expect to see a number of deaths in the senate as well as retirements. BY the time of the next election, unless provinces and the opposition accept democratic reform for the Senate, the standings in the Senate will be 61 Conservatives, 41 Liberals and 3 others. Harper will have made a strongly Conservative senate unless people start to take him up on reforming that house.

At the moment less than 1/3 of the current MPs have served in a federal parliament that was not a minority government. By the date of the next election, it will have been over eight years that there has been no majority government. Currently the longest period we have gone with minority governments was from June 1962 to June 1968. For many MPs currently serving, their idea of what the political culture of the House of Commons is will be one of minority governments.
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