Women in the 40th Canadian Parliament

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The 40th Canadian Parliament contained a record number of female Members of Parliament, with 69 women elected to the House of Commons in the 2008 federal election. However, this represented just 22 per cent of the 308 total MPs, and only a modest gain over the 65 women in the 39th Canadian Parliament.[1]

With 23 women elected to the House for the first time, the 2008 election also increased the number of female MPs who have sat in the Canadian House of Commons since Confederation to 216, from 193 at the end of the 39th Parliament. Nine incumbent women MPs did not stand for re-election in 2008, and ten incumbent women were defeated on election night.

In total, 445 women ran in the 2008 election. The record for female participation in a federal election continues to be held by the 1993 election, in which 476 women ran as candidates, but the 2008 election had the second largest slate of female candidates in Canadian history.

By contrast, the United States House of Representatives has elected only a marginally larger number of women despite having 127 more seats. The 2008 Congressional elections saw 74 women elected to the House of Representatives, for an all-time total of 229.

At the dissolution of the 40th Parliament, the number of women sitting as federal MPs stood at 67, as two women elected in 2008 subsequently resigned from the House: Dawn Black on April 13, 2009 and Judy Wasylycia-Leis on April 30, 2010. Women did not win any of the by-elections to the 40th Canadian Parliament.

Party standings[edit]

Party Women candidates Women elected Women as % of caucus % of women candidates elected
Liberal 113 19 24.67 16.81
New Democrats 104 12 32.43 11.53
Bloc Québécois 21 15 30.00 75.00
Conservative 63 23 15.97 36.50
Table source:[2]

The 2008 election was the first time in Canadian electoral history that one of the major parties nominated more female candidates than the New Democrats or their predecessor, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation.

By province[edit]

Province Number of women MPs Number of seats Percentage of women
Newfoundland and Labrador 2 7 28.6%
Nova Scotia 1 11 9.1%
Prince Edward Island 1 4 25.0%
New Brunswick 1 10 10.0%
Quebec 21 75 28.0%
Ontario 21 106 19.8%
Manitoba 6 14 42.8%
Saskatchewan 2 14 14.3%
Alberta 3 28 10.7%
British Columbia 10 36 27.7%
Territories 1 3 33.3%
Totals 69 308 22.4%


The longest-serving female MP currently in the House of Commons is Albina Guarnieri, who was first elected in the 1988 election and surpassed 20 years in office in December 2008. In the 39th Parliament, Guarnieri was tied for this status with Diane Marleau, who was first elected in 1988 but was defeated in the 2008 election.

† denotes women who were newly elected in the 2008 election and are serving their first term in office. Names in boldface denote ministers in the current Cabinet of Canada.

Name Party Electoral district Notes
  Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary—Nose Hill
  Leona Aglukkaq Conservative Nunavut
  Rona Ambrose Conservative Edmonton—Spruce Grove
     Niki Ashton New Democrat Churchill
  Josée Beaudin Bloc Québécois Saint-Lambert
     Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's
     Dawn Black New Democrat New Westminster—Coquitlam Resigned April 13, 2009.
  Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar
  France Bonsant Bloc Québécois Compton—Stanstead
  Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou
  Diane Bourgeois Bloc Québécois Terrebonne—Blainville
  Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora
  Paule Brunelle Bloc Québécois Trois-Rivières
  Dona Cadman Conservative Surrey North
     Chris Charlton New Democrat Hamilton Mountain
     Olivia Chow New Democrat Trinity—Spadina
     Siobhán Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl
     Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville
     Jean Crowder New Democrat Nanaimo—Cowichan
  Pat Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton
     Libby Davies New Democrat Vancouver East
  Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Québécois Beauharnois—Salaberry
  Nicole Demers Bloc Québécois Laval
  Johanne Deschamps Bloc Québécois Laurentides—Labelle
     Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale
     Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North
     Linda Duncan New Democrat Edmonton—Strathcona
  Meili Faille Bloc Québécois Vaudreuil—Soulanges
  Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk
     Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles
     Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's
  Carole Freeman Bloc Québécois Châteauguay—Saint-Constant
     Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre
  Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québécois Québec
  Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke
  Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface
  Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells
     Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville
  Monique Guay Bloc Québécois Rivière-du-Nord
  Helena Guergis Conservative Simcoe—Grey
     Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale
  Candice Hoeppner Conservative Portage—Lisgar
     Carol Hughes New Democrat Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing
     Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine
  Francine Lalonde Bloc Québécois La Pointe-de-l'Île
  Carole Lavallée Bloc Québécois Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert
     Megan Leslie New Democrat Halifax
     Irene Mathyssen New Democrat London—Fanshawe
  Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo
     Alexandra Mendès Liberal Brossard—La Prairie
     Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York
  Maria Mourani Bloc Québécois Ahuntsic
     Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra
     Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre
  Bev Oda Conservative Durham
  Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Conservative Miramichi
  Lisa Raitt Conservative Halton
     Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East
     Denise Savoie New Democrat Victoria
     Judy Sgro Liberal York West
  Gail Shea Conservative Egmont
     Michelle Simson Liberal Scarborough Southwest
  Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul
  Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Québécois Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot
  Josée Verner Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent
     Judy Wasylycia-Leis New Democrat Winnipeg North Resigned April 30, 2010.
  Alice Wong Conservative Richmond
  Lynne Yelich Conservative Blackstrap
     Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard