It’s been four years since we went to the polls to choose our federal government, but nearly 10 years since the governing party has changed.
Of course we know that a new government ushers in a team made up of both returning Members of Parliament (MPs) and new ones. And it’s how the electorate votes that will determine which party will form the government and whether we will be seeing a new Prime Minister.
Even when a majority government is returned to power, there are always new faces on the political roster after a general election.
While the pollsters are all working to accurately predict the outcome on Oct. 19, there are other changes that occur after the election that depend on who is elected and who is not. People who work directly for cabinet ministers are known as “political staff” and their jobs are directly tied to the outcome of the election.
As a general rule, each cabinet minister has a dedicated team of political staff who keep the party platform at the forefront of every decision made in their respective department. A minister’s staff varies in size depending on the scope of the department, although they are usually a fraction of the size of the unelected government officials and can be anywhere from two to 20 people or more.
When the governing party is returned, these political staff need to hustle to find a new assignment once the cabinet is named a few weeks after the election. In the event that a new party is chosen to lead our country, inevitably, these political staff who report to a minister directly are swiftly out of a job. Whenever a government changes, and even if the incumbent governing party forms the government again, jobs are lost (and/or gained).
Political workers all know the risks of serving an elected representative, and that the outcome of the voting on Oct. 19 will be important not only for the country but also for their individual careers and work lives.
No matter the outcome of the election, whether the current government is returned or a new government takes office, there is always an adjustment period after the election. For businesses navigating government, at least initially, it can take some time because the new government needs to ‘settle in,’ meaning new cabinet posts need to be announced, and the new team will take some time to establish how it will work together effectively.
In the meantime, the department staff, who are non-partisan, continue working in their government offices and are sound contacts to have during such a transition. These departmental staff will also be busy, focused on briefing their new ministers on issues and providing invaluable background on the programs and initiatives – sometimes challenges – they will now be leading.
If you run a business, it’s important to watch the post-election activity and stay close to the influencers in government. And, when the time is right, you will want to make some strategic introductions and re-introductions.
Watch in the coming weeks for a post-election checklist for you and your business to use the time wisely between now and when the next government is sworn in and the cabinet is named, so you are at the ready to re-engage with Canada’s next government.