The political profession

Kyle Crawford considers Parliament, cabinet, politics and professionalism.

While Canadian cabinets must always be composed of people possessing a delicate balance of skills, and considering regional and demographic representation, this analysis suggests that, when cabinet is chosen, political experience is valued very heavily – perhaps at the expense of other kinds of experience.

The concern that we are privileging one form of experience over another was also shared by MPs in Samara’s MP exit interviews. One MP-turned-cabinet-minister said, “There’s a lot more talent sitting on the backbenches than sitting in the front row,” adding that those with a long partisan history are usually appointed to cabinet, “whether with the Liberals or the Conservatives.” … Several cabinet ministers expressed surprise when their appointments had little to do with their pre-parliamentary knowledge or interests. “When I was appointed to cabinet, [the policy area] came as a complete surprise to me. I didn’t see it coming,” one MP said, adding that he had no background in the area.  

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