Statistics on MNAs
The National Assembly is made up of 125 Members of the National Assembly (or MNAs) whose personal and professional backgrounds are varied. Below are some statistics on the MNAs of the 41st Legislature, which began after the April 7, 2014 general election. This information provides a snapshot of the House the day after the election. Updated information is provided in the tables at the bottom.
Most new faces in the National Assembly appear in the wake of a general election. With 44 new MNAs, including 8 who are returning after an interruption in their political career, the 41st Legislature has a turnover of 35.2%. Two factors account for turnover in the Assembly: an MNA’s decision not to seek re-election and defeat at the polls.
In the last 30 years, from one legislature to the next, the average turnover has been over one third (37.6%) of the number of seats. During the same period, the highest rate recorded was in 1994 (50.4%) and the lowest, in 1998 (20.0%).
The average age of the contingent of new MNAs (34 men and 10 women) on entering office was 50.2 years. It is notable that since 1970, the average age of new MNAs, which then stood at 39.3 years, has generally increased.
Women in the Assembly
Thirty-four women were elected to the Assembly, which is less than the peak of 41 reached during the previous elections (September 4, 2012). Women currently represent 27.2% of MNAs. Their average age (52.1) is slightly higher than that of their male colleagues (51.4). Conversely, the women’s average parliamentary experience (5 years) is slightly less than that of the men (5 years and 5 months).
A combination of experience and fresh talent
The day after the April 7, 2014 election, the average age of MNAs was 51.5 years. A majority of members were between 40 and 59 years of age. The 20-to-39 age group included 19 people, accounting for 15.2% of all the Members. Twenty-three parliamentarians were age 60 or older, representing 18.4% of the Assembly. Since 1867, only two other Legislatures have had a higher average age (1956 and 2012).
Thirty-six parliamentarians are in their first term, while 24 members, including 7 women, are into at least their fifth. Only 3 MNAs have more than 20 years of parliamentary experience. At the time this Legislature was elected, the average amount of parliamentary experience of the 125 elected officials in the National Assembly was 5 years and 4 months.
|MNAs by number of terms in the National Assembly as at the day after the April 7, 2014 election
|Number of MNAs
||Number of terms
||6 or more
Prior political experience
Thirty MNAs had held another elected political office before arriving at the National Assembly. Two had already sat in the Canadian House of Commons, and 13 had previously been mayors. The others had been city councillors or school board commissioners.
Diverse educational backgrounds
The MNAs of the 41st Legislature have backgrounds mainly in the following areas:
|Administration, management, and accounting
|Natural science and engineering
|Communications, public relations, and journalism
|Medicine and health sciences
|Teaching and educational sciences
An MNA may have had training in more than one field.
People going into active politics very often have a background in law or political science, but those traditional educational paths are no longer the only way into the political arena. A sampling of the now wider range of backgrounds shows MNAs who have studied theatre, literature, agriculture, computer science or police science.
In the last 30 years, the proportion of MNAs who have gone to university has increased slightly. Currently, nearly 80% of them attained that level of education.
Various professional backgrounds
One quarter of MNAs are from the public and parapublic sectors, and another quarter is made up of private sector professionals (mostly in law and communications). Members of the business community account for just over 16% of our elected representatives. Slightly more than 10% of MNAs are from the political sector (chief of staff, political attaché, permanent employee of a political party).
When we look at the changes over the last 30 years in the breakdown of MNAs by occupational group, we see a decrease in representation from the business community, the public and parapublic sectors and the service sector. Conversely, there is an increase in the proportion of MNAs from among political staffers and the private and voluntary sectors.
The main professional subgroups represented among our elected officials are as follows:
| Law and notarial law
|| 13 MNAs
| Business management
|| 13 MNAs
| Commerce and industry
|| 10 MNAs
| Journalism and communications
|| 10 MNAs
| Public and parapublic sector senior management
|| 9 MNAs
|| 7 MNAs
Representativeness of the Assembly
It is interesting to compare MNAs and the general population1 using certain indicators.
In terms of age, the percentage of those who are 40 years or older is 84.8% in the Assembly versus 52% in the general population.
In Québec, 29.4% of labour force participants have a university degree, while 79.2% of MNAs have university-level education.
Lastly, there are slightly more women (50.3%) than men (49.7%) in the population. At the Assembly, women make up 27.2% of all MNAs.
In short… as at September 2014
Average parliamentary experience: 5 years and 10 months
Number of women: 34 out of 1242 sitting Members (27.4%)
Average age: 51.9
|MNAs by age group
||Number of MNAs
|60 or older
|MNAs by parliamentary experience
||Number of MNAs
|Less than 5 years
|20 years or more
1. The statistics cited here are from the following publications by Québec’s institute for statistics, the Institut de la statistique du Québec: Bilan démographique du Québec, édition 2013 and Marc-André Gauthier, “Regard sur deux décennies d’évolution du niveau de scolarité de la population active québécoise à partir de l’Enquête sur la population active”, Coup d’oeil sociodémographique 30 (February 2014).
2. The seat for Lévis has been vacant since August 15, 2014.