Gym Teachers Named Diane from Nunavut Need Apply

Some people look to the election as an important milestone for Canadians to take stock of their democracy and possibly set a new course for the future. For others it’s a time to possibly apply for a new job. In fact, in the last election 1,356 citizens applied for the job of Member of Parliament. And why not? It pays $155K a year, and if you can get re-elected two more times, you get a pretty healthy pension. And getting re-elected may not be as hard as you think – about 85% chances, if you look at the recent past. That’s why 278 incumbent members re-applied for the job. You’ve got until Monday at 2 p.m. to throw your hat into the race.

But how can one possibly win, you ask? Here is some advice to help you:

Run for the Conservatives in Alberta

With the last election, the Conservatives booted out the last-standing Liberal in Alberta (“Landslide” Annie McLellan) and took all 28 seats in the province. She lost, even though she got over 38% of the vote in her Edmonton riding. Your big challenge in getting on the Conservative ticket in Alberta is winning over your riding association.

Run in a small riding where only a few people vote

The average winning MP had to get about 23,000 votes in order to be invited to sit in Ottawa. That said, if you were lucky enough to run in a small riding, like Nunavut's Nancy Karatek-Lindell, all you needed was 3,673 votes to get the job. Hell, that’s hardly more votes than one needs to win student council president. And you get to represent a territory almost four times larger than France.

Have the right job to start with

Many people think being a lawyer is your ticket to political life. Of the 86 lawyers that ran in the last election only 21 got elected. That’s almost 25%, which isn’t too shabby, but not a sure thing. Other jobs with better election odds one might consider as a prelude to public office include:

Occupation / Odds of Winning / Examples

Car Dealership owner / 100% / Dave Van Kesteren
Gym teacher / 100% / John-Yves Laforest
Chiropractor / 50% / Jim Lunney, Ruby Dhalla
Clergyman/ 50% / Bill Blaikie
Cook / 50% / Catherine Bell

Name Brand

I remember once hearing John Diefenbaker speak to reporters in the late 1970’s about governance in Canada. At one point he sarcastically said that “you can’t let any Joe run the country.” Of course, Joe Clark was the sitting PM at the time, making the statement all the funnier, but if a guy named Barack thinks he can win the Presidency, then surely names don’t make a difference in politics? Here’s our take on the results for a few common names:

First name / Number of Candidates / Number of winning candidates (%)

Dave or David / 53 / 9 (16%)
Mike or Micheal / 50 / 8 (16%)
John / 45 / 8 (18%)
Jim or James / 30 / 10 (33%)
Joe or Joseph / 12 / 6 (50%)
Diane / 7 / 4 (57%)
Bev or Beverly / 8 / 2 (25%)

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