Opposition-measuring contest - Macleans.ca

Opposition-measuring contest

A few notes on your new official opposition.

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A few notes on your new official opposition.

In yesterday’s speech to the Canadian Labour Congress, Jack Layton boasted that the NDP’s 103 MPs represented the “largest, most united official opposition in 31 years.”

Most counts presently give the NDP a mere 102 seats, but that does not seem to include an apparently narrow, and apparently late-breaking, victory in Montmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup. Assuming that NDP victory holds up to a recount, Layton will be free to continue boasting of 103 MPs. By number, that would, technically, be the largest official opposition since 2006, when the Liberals also won 103 seats. But in that case, David Emerson crossed the floor to the Conservatives before the House could reconvene, so the Liberals more accurately numbered 102.

As a result you do indeed have to go back to Joe Clark’s Progressive Conservatives, who came second in 1980 with 103 MPs, to find the last official opposition of this size.

Considering the last 50 years, by post-election seat count, only two official oppositions have surpassed the 103-mark.

1962 Liberal 99
1963 Progressive Conservative 95
1965 Progressive Conservative 97
1968 Progressive Conservative 72
1972 Progressive Conservative 107
1974 Progressive Conservative 95
1979 Liberal 114
1980 Progressive Conservative 103
1984 Liberal 40
1988 Liberal 83
1993 Bloc Quebecois 54
1997 Reform 60
2000 Canadian Alliance 66
2004 Conservative 99
2006 Liberal 103
2008 Liberal 77