A record number of women are among the 1,601 candidates vying for the approval of voters and 308 House of Commons seats in the federal election campaign, according to Elections Canada.

But while women represent more than 50 per cent of the Canadian population, only 437 of the candidates —  27 per cent — are female.

That's still a record number and, thus, cause for cheer, according to Equal Voice, a non-partisan group dedicated to boosting the role of women in politics.

"This improvement provides more opportunities than ever to increase the representation of women in Parliament," Equal Voice chairwoman Raylene Lang-Dion said.

All five major parties have made strides since the last election in getting more women to run, although the Tories continue to lag behind the others.

The Liberals lead the way with 37 per cent female candidates, followed by the NDP at 34 per cent, the Greens at 29 per cent, the Bloc Québécois at 28 per cent and the Tories at 20 per cent.

No parties have full slate

In an electoral oddity, none of the 19 parties is running a full national slate of candidates — not even the Conservatives or the Liberals, each of which is fielding contenders in every riding except one.

The Conservatives have chosen not to run against André Arthur, who is seeking re-election as an Independent in Quebec's Portneuf-Jacques Cartier riding.

And the Liberals won't contest Central Nova, where Green Leader Elizabeth May is trying to knock off Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

Technically, the New Democrats have candidates registered in all 308 ridings, but one — Saanich-Gulf Islands contender Julian West — resigned Tuesday, having admitted to appearing nude 12 years ago in front of teenaged girls.

West's name will remain on the ballot, since he stepped down the day after the official nomination deadline.

The Green party is running candidates in 303 ridings. The Bloc, which runs only in Quebec, has candidates in each of that province's 75 ridings.

Cash compensation

While the winners won't be chosen until Oct. 14, one thing is already mathematically certain: There will be 1,293 losers.

Defeat will not likely come as a surprise to those running for 14 fringe parties, such as the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party, the Work Less Party, the Western Block Party, the People's Political Power Party, the Communist Party of Canada, neorhino.ca and the Newfoundland and Labrador First Party.

But those parties do stand to make financial gains, although they'd have to score a significant electoral breakthrough.

Each registered party is entitled to an annual public subsidy of $1.95 per vote received in the election, provided that it wins at least two per cent of the nationwide popular vote. The Green Party and the main parties all easily surpassed that threshold in the 2006 general election, but none of the fringe parties did. 

Do you have a question for Elizabeth May? Send it to national@cbc.ca for The National's Your Turn with the Green party leader on Sept. 29.