With the elevation Monday of MP Erin O’Toole into Stephen Harper’s cabinet, where O’Toole will serve as the minister for veterans affairs, the size of Harper’s current ministry is now at 40 members. A “ministry” is made up of all of those MPs who are, to use the Parliamentary language, styled as Ministers or as Ministers of State. Each of these individuals gets a significant salary boost, a car, a driver, and some extra political staff.
A ministry of 40 is pretty big. Some would say you could cut the size in half and no one would notice. Some complain about such a bloated cabinet. In fact, for a time yesterday, I thought that Harper — the leader of what some have been sold as the “Small-government Government” — had actually set the all-time record for the size of a ministry.
Why did I (and some others) come to that conclusion? Well, we did what we usually do when we need some numbers for historical perspective looked it up at the Parliamentary Web Site — parl.gc.ca — where you can find a page that lists “Size of Ministries”, a page compiled by the smart folks at the Library of Parliament, that goes all the way back to Macdonald.
If you look at that page, you’ll see that both Brian Mulroney and Paul Martin had ministries of 39 individuals. With Harper hitting 40 ministers, it was easy enough to say Harper was now the proud owner of the biggest minister of all time.
Not so fast, a friend e-mailed me. Continue reading Who has the most ministers? Harper or Mulroney?