Finding your way into the House

by Aaron Wherry

Brian Topp tells the CBC that, if he’s elected leader of the NDP, he’ll ask an NDP MP in Quebec to step aside so that he can run in a by-election.

Fun fact: the last three leaders of the opposition who went on to become prime minister weren’t MPs when they won their party leaderships.

Stephen Harper was elected leader of the Canadian Alliance in March 20, 2002 and then ran in a by-election to fill the seat for Calgary Southwest that was left vacant when Preston Manning resigned in January of that year. Not until May 21, 2002 did Mr. Harper make his first appearance in the House as the leader of the opposition.

Jean Chretien was elected leader of the Liberal party on June 23, 1990. Fernand Robichaud, the Liberal MP for Beausejour, resigned, so that Mr. Chretien could run in a by-election there. Mr. Chretien then took his seat as the leader of the opposition on Dec. 21, 1990.

Brian Mulroney was elected leader of the Progressive Conservatives on June 11, 1983. Elmer MacKay (father of Peter) then stepped down, allowing Mr. Mulroney to run in Central Nova. Mr. Mulroney then took his seat as the leader of the opposition on August 29, 1993.




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Finding your way into the House

  1. Another fun fact: Calgary Southwest, at the time, had a duly elected CA nominee for that by-election.  After being hesitant to do initially, he agreed to step down and allow Mr. Harper to run.  That initial nominee? Ezra Levant. 

  2. I honestly don’t understand why leadership candidates haven’t attacked Topp for his dilettante behaviour. Topp has much chutzpah – it is leader of oppo or nothing for him – and I am not certain why any one would want to resign to make way for him. Topp could be running in To-Dan right now and he would not have to take any one’s seat.  

    Topp does not have good personality – even msm is starting to finally talk about Topp’s arrogance and inability to connect with regular people – and it is not at all certain he could win by-election on first attempt.

  3. So, just so I’m clear on this, it is okay to have a duly elected MP in a “safe” riding step down so that a Leader can run–never mind the work that MP did to gain the nomination and get the volunteer/team in place to campaign–but it isn’t at all okay to have that very same choice taken away by three parties working in cooperation in swing ridings. 

    Do as the Leader says, not as the Leader does?

  4. As a card carrying New Democrat, I really like Brain Topp. However, getting someone to step down so that he can run really does not work for me. 

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