A data dive into House of Commons debate

By Amanda Shendruk


Data last updated:

How effective is your MP? There is no simple, objective measurement. No checklist captures the work of MPs on behalf of their constituents.

In this exercise, we use words as a measure. We’re keeping track of exactly how many words each MP puts on the parliamentary record. And while data can’t appraise the power of speech, it does reveal who is outspoken — and who is not — under the bright lights of the House of Commons.

Note: Our data only includes the 42nd Parliament. It updates as often as Hansard does.

TALK TALK TALK

Which MPs are chatty? And which are reserved? The answers are contained in Hansard, the official record of the House of Commons. We’re tallying every word in the chamber — in daily question period as well as before and after. Below, check out how many words each MP put on the record. We’ve also isolated QP-only data. And if you’re on a desktop, search for your MP to find out how he or she stacks up against colleagues.

One more reminder that quantity doesn't necessarily mean quality.

TOTAL WORDS SPOKEN

Check out our running word count from the House. Click the "Just QP" button to isolate question period, or search for your own representative to compare (this function only available on desktop).

Party leaders are circled in black. Turn your phone horiztonal for better viewing.

To date, has spoken the most words in the House of Commons — words.

BREAK IT DOWN

Let's break down the numbers. Here we've grouped representatives by gender, "newbie" status, and by province. There are 88 women in the House of Commons, representing 26 per cent of seats. There are 197 new MPs — 58.3 per cent of representatives are new to the House.

GENDER

Average number of words spoken, to date, by each gender.

Current numbers suggest women MPs speak than their male counterparts.

REGIONS

Average number of words spoken, to date, by MPs from each province and territory

ROOKIES

Average number of words spoken, to date, by parliamentary newbies and old hands.

As of today, new MPs speak than their more seasoned counterparts.

BILINGUAL BANTER

Members of Parliament are not required to be bilingual. The House of Commons, however, conducts its business in both of Canada's official languages: French and English. Below, we chart the percentage of words your MP has spoken in French.

PERCENT SPOKEN IN FRENCH

Fraction of MPs' words that are spoken in French.

Party leaders are circled in black. Turn your phone horiztonal for better viewing.

TALKING OVER TIME

Keep your eye on this spot. In a few weeks, once we've gathered more data, we will include a graphic plotting talking trends.

METHODOLOGY

So, how did we do this? Maclean's worked together with Michael Mulley, founder of Open Parliament, to gather the data. Words are counted from Hansard, and French percentages are determined using the translated text. Both the Total Words Spoken and the Percent Spoken in French charts are cummulative, starting with the first sitting of the 42nd Parliament. The data update whenever Hansard does.


See anything that needs updating? Please email amanda.shendruk@macleans.rogers.com

This site was launched Feb. 4, 2016

Want more?
For Maclean's interactive demographic breakdown of the 42nd Parliament visit