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The 40th Canadian Parliament is the current Parliament of Canadamarker, with the membership of its House of Commons determined by the results of the 2008 federal election held on October 14, 2008, and it opened on November 18, 2008. It was then prorogued by the Governor General on December 4, 2008, on the request of Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the face of a likely non-confidence motion and a coalition agreement between the NDP and the Liberal Party of Canada with the support of the Bloc Québécois (see 2008–2009 Canadian parliamentary dispute). Of the 308 MPs elected at the October 14, 2008, general election, 64 are new to Parliament and three of those sat in previous Parliaments other than the 39th: John Duncan, Jack Harris and Roger Pomerleau.

There have been two session of the 40th Parliament so far:
Session Start End
1st November 18, 2008 December 4, 2008
2nd January 26, 2009 ongoing

Party standings

Resignations and by-elections

NDP MP Dawn Black resigned her seat of New Westminster—Coquitlam effective April 13, 2009, to run (successfully) in the provincial riding of New Westminster in the 2009 British Columbia general election. The NDP's Fin Donnelly won the in a by-election on November 9, 2009.

Independent MP Bill Casey resigned his seat of Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley effective April 30, 2009, to accept a job as the Nova Scotia Department of Intergovernmental Affairs' senior representative in Ottawa. He was a former Conservative who voted against the 2007 budget, claiming that it broke the Atlantic Accord with his province and Newfoundland and Labradormarker, and was subsequently expelled from the Conservative caucus. Scott Armstrong, Conservative, won the by-election for this seat on November 9, 2009.

Bloc Québécois MP Paul Crête resigned his seat of Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup on May 21, 2009, to run in a provincial by-election in Rivière-du-Loup. Conservative Bernard Généreux won the November 9, 2009 by-election for this seat.

Bloc Québécois MP Réal Ménard resigned his seat of Hochelaga on September 16, 2009, to run in Montreal's municipal elections. On November 9, 2009, Daniel Paillé won this seat for the Bloc in a by-election.

1st session and prorogation

The first session of the 40th parliament opened on November 18, 2008, after Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives won a slightly stronger minority government in the 2008 election. With a new government in session, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tabled a fiscal update nine days later. Among other things, the update cut government spending, suspended the ability of civil servants to strike, sold off some Crown assets, and eliminated existing political party subsidies. This fiscal update was rejected by the opposition, and became a catalyst for talks of a coalition government. Stéphane Dion of the Liberal Party and Jack Layton of the New Democratic Party, signed an accord stating that in the event that the government lost the confidence of the house, they would form a coalition with the support of Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc Québécois, if asked to do so by the Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean. However, Stephen Harper delayed the vote of non-confidence scheduled for December 1, and the Governor General prorogued parliament on Harper's advice on December 4, 2008, until January 26, 2009.


After prorogation, calls came from within the Liberal Party for Dion to resign immediately. Dion initially scheduled his resignation for the party's leadership convention in May 2009, but on December 8, 2008, he announced that he would step down upon the selection of his successor. After the withdrawal of Bob Rae and Dominic LeBlanc from the leadership race, Michael Ignatieff became the only leadership candidate, and therefore was appointed interim leader of the Liberals and the opposition on December 10, 2008.

2nd Session

The Harper government recalled Parliament on January 26, 2009. Its first business in the new session (after the Throne Speech) was to present the federal budget, which included a large deficit. After negotiations with new Opposition leader Michael Ignatieff, the government promised to present regular updates on the stimulus budget, and the Liberals and Conservatives joined to pass the budget and keep the Conservative government in power.

The Conservative government has made crime a major focus of this session. The Conservatives have reintroduced their former mandatory minimums bill this session, known as Bill C-15.

Senate appointments

The Senate of Canada has seen two large sets of appointments. All the senators appointed to date in the 40th Parliament Canada have been under the Conservative banner. The balance of power shifted for the first time in years on August 27, 2009, when the Liberal caucus was reduced to minority control holding 52 seats versus 53 for the Governing Conservatives, Opposition Progressive Conservatives and Independents.

Honorary Senators

The Senate of Canada posthumously awarded the title of Honorary Senator during the 40th Parliament to five pioneering women known as The Famous Five.

Emily Murphy
Henrietta Muir Edwards
Nellie McClung
Irene Parlby
Louise McKinney


For full lists of members of the 40th Parliament of Canada, see List of House members of the 40th Parliament of Canada and List of senators in the 40th Parliament of Canada.



Other Chair occupants



Floor leaders

The following were the parties' floor leaders during the 40th Parliament:

House of Commons



The party whips in this Parliament were as follows:


  1. "NDP MP to seek provincial seat in B.C."., March 7, 2009.
  2. "Conservatives win 2 byelections, 1 at Bloc's expense"., Nov. 10, 2009.
  3. Tory MP ejected from caucus after budget vote,, June 5, 2007.
  4. "Conservatives win 2 byelections, 1 at Bloc's expense"., Nov. 10, 2009.
  5. "Conservatives win 2 byelections, 1 at Bloc's expense"., Nov. 10, 2009.
  6. "Bloc MP runs for municipal politics". CTV News, June 25, 2009.
  7. "Conservatives win 2 byelections, 1 at Bloc's expense"., Nov. 10, 2009.

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