The Conservatives have about twice as many business people running as the NDP, Liberal candidates are much more likely to be lawyers, and nearly all of the union officials and blue collar workers running for seats in the Oct. 19 election are New Democrats.

That’s according to a analysis of the most recent occupations of the more than 1,000 people vying for the 338 seats in the next Parliament, according to party biographies and other sources.

The most common types of work done before the candidates began running to be MPs are business (27%), politics and government (22%) and law (11%).

But the mix varies by party, with all three recruiting more heavily from some sectors than others. Here’s the breakdown:



There are farmers and other agricultural workers in all three parties, but the Conservatives appear to have the most (10), followed by the Liberals (7) and NDP (5).


There are a handful of actors, musicians, filmmakers and other artists running for the NDP (7) and Liberals (5), but there don't seem to be any wearing the Conservative colours.


The Conservatives have about twice as many (130) entrepreneurs and other business people running as the NDP (57), while the Liberals are in between (91). (This doesn’t include professionals like lawyers and doctors who own their own practices.)


The NDP has the most teachers, professors and other educators (47), although the Liberals -- headed by former high school teacher Justin Trudeau -- also have a substantial number (30). The Conservatives appear to have the least (11).

Government and Politics:

All three parties have large numbers of political staffers, provincial legislators, mayors and councillors, First Nations administrators and government employees. The Conservatives have 86, the Liberals have 73 and NDP have 67. Among them are Tom Mulcair, who served as Quebec’s environment minister from 2003 to 2006, and Stephen Harper, who worked for the fledgling Reform Party before winning his own seat in 1993.

Health care:

There are more doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and other health care providers running for the NDP (19) and Liberals (15) than for the Conservatives (8).


All three parties have signed up well-known journalists, but the NDP has the most (13), including columnist Linda McQuaig, writer Noah Richler and former Radio-Canada broadcaster Anne Lagacé Dowson. The Conservatives have seven, including former Calgary Herald editor Joan Crockatt. The Liberals have four, including business writer and editor Chrystia Freeland.


The Liberals have about twice as many lawyers (62) as the Conservatives (29) and three times as many as the NDP (21). The NDP figure includes one retired judge. It should be noted that many candidates went to law school but fit bet in other categories.

Other/Could not be determined:

Some MPs couldn’t easily be classified, including a small number of religious officials, social workers and Liberal astronaut Marc Garneau. Others had occupations that couldn’t clearly be identified. This category was split between Liberals (41), NDP (58) and Conservatives (34).

Policing and Military:

There are nine current or recently full-time military members. Five are Conservatives, four are Liberals and none are running for the NDP.

The Conservatives have attracted the most police officers (8), although the Liberals and NDP each have a couple too.


The NDP has 12 students running, while the Conservatives have six and the Liberals two. Most are from Quebec, where the NDP had trouble recruiting more experienced candidates last election, and where the Conservatives still have trouble finding candidates.

Trades and Manufacturing:

There aren’t many blue collar workers aiming for seats, and most of them have chosen the NDP (10) over the Conservatives (2) or Liberals (1). This group includes electricians, carpenters, transit workers, mechanics, factory workers and more. Many are also union representatives.

Labour Organizations:

Twenty-one people who work full-time for unions and labour organizations have opted to run, and 20 of them are NDP candidates. The other is Conservative Michael Chong, who worked for the National Hockey League Players’ Association.

Research by Emerson Brito