Would it surprise you to know there are 30 business people running for the Progressive Conservatives this provincial election? Or that nine trade unionists are NDP candidates?
What about the Liberals having 20 business people themselves — alongside a mix of doctors, lawyers and farmers?
And which party has the lone electroplater running under its banner?
- Graphic: Top professions among Ontario election candidates
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- Vote Compass: Where do you stand on the issues?
Some, but not nearly all, candidates in this Ontario election campaign fit neatly into party stereotypes.
University of Windsor political science professor Cheryl Collier has been calling for more ethnic and gender equality in politics — at all levels — for years.
She’s not surprised that certain professions gravitate to particular parties, though.
“When you have a three-party system like you have in Ontario, the parties need to differentiate from one another,” she said. “This is why you see the attraction of certain members to certain parties.”
Collier said Canada doesn't have parties that are "very right wing, or very left wing."
"You have to go outside Canada to find those," she said. Canadians are more middle-of-the-road.
"If we’re all sitting in the centre, more parties are more appealing than you think," she said. "It’s not that hard and fast that, for instance, business people will always go Conservative."
For example, the Greens and NDP have nine and eight business people, respectively.
But if it’s a lawyer you’re looking for, check the Liberal Party, which has 11 running for provincial office.
Teachers seem to gravitate equally to the Liberals (nine), NDP (10) and Greens (11).
In the market for a house, condo or cottage? Check with the PCs, they have nine real estate agents in the running.
Collier said the PCs are trying to get government “out of the kitchen of business.”
“That appeals to usually large business but some small business as well,” she said.
“We tend to see an initial attraction from people who really solidly identify with party interests. But I wouldn’t say it’s a hard and fast rule. We do see some overlap in appeal with the parties.
“The NDP doesn’t ignore business. They’re open to business attraction, but with a little more sharing of the load.”
Typically, union activists are drawn to the NDP as business is to Conservatives.
“Labour is more about workers’ rights, community and solidarity, working together for the betterment of people that are struggling in society,” she said. “That tends to be the mantra of unions.”
If you’re sick, it’s good to be a Liberal — the party has five doctors and four nurses on the ballot — or a PC, which has a paramedic and two pharmacists running.
The Green Party boasts almost as many students (nine) as teachers (11).
The Liberals and NDP lead in the political assistant category with eight and seven, respectively.
Other professions represented on the ballot this election include a trucker, singer-songwriter and minister for the NDP; three journalists for the PCs; two farmers for the Liberals; and an electroplater and massage therapist for the Greens.
Collier said a politician’s profession matters at the local level.
“You look at who is there and what’s going to appeal the constituents,” she said.
“The party label does a lot of work to identify who you are, but your occupation also helps to define what your thoughts are on politics,” Collier said.
“We’re assuming — and this is a big assumption — that when people support or run for a party they really understand what that party stands for and I would argue they do not.”