Business tops experience among 2019 candidates, one-third have run for office before

Been fun helping out on this:

Whether debating at town halls, canvassing, or presenting their cases online, it’s a near record year for candidates, with 2,146 running, including 1,741 candidates offering for the six major parties and pitching themselves to Canadians in this election.

One-third of the 2019 Conservative candidates cite their business credentials in their online biographies—far more than their competitors, though business is a top job among all parties. Conservative candidates are more likely to be business owners, while the Liberals are fielding the most lawyers, and the NDP and Greens are popular among professors, teachers and students. Those in arts and entertainment industries are more common among the left-leaning parties, while military and police officers are more likely to appear on the CPC and the People’s Party of Canada’s slates.

This is according to an analysis of the most recent occupations of more than 1,700 people vying for the 338 seats in the next Parliament and was pulled from party biographies and other sources. The analysis is based on research conducted by The Samara Centre for Democracy and The Hill Times in partnership with researchers Jerome Black and Andrew Griffith.

While there are clear clusters of people with certain professional backgrounds who decide to take the leap for federal public office, the skillsets among MP hopefuls in this election are wide: from a semi-professional chess player, to chemists and truck drivers, to the three Olympic athletes trying their luck at a new type of contest.

There are 318 candidates running who have sat in the House, including 288 incumbents and 30 former MPs trying to make it back to Parliament. The Green Party has three former NDP MPs running for it, the PPC has two former Conservative MPs on its slate, and both Independent incumbents are former Liberals.

For many, the campaign trail is familiar territory. At least one-third of the slate is made up of campaign veterans, having previously run for or held political office at the municipal, Indigenous, provincial and territorial, or federal levels. The Liberals, with the most incumbents, lead the pack with at least 214 who fit in that figure, followed by 161 Conservatives. Only 78 NDP candidates cited past political runs, followed by 60 Green and 20 Bloc.

There are 318 candidates running who have sat in the House, including 288 incumbents and 30 former MPs trying to make it back to Parliament. The Green Party has three former NDP MPs running for it, the PPC has two former Conservative MPs on its slate, and both Independent incumbents are former Liberals.

Past political experience

Political experience Bloc CPC Green Liberal NDP PPC Grand Total
Current MP 10 81 3* 162 29 1 288
Past MP 1 18 2 7 2 30
Provincial/Territorial representative 2 11 1 12 1 27
Municipal representative
34 15 24 18 6 97
Past federal, provincial candidate 7 11 36 10 14 7 85
Indigenous government
1 3 4 6 14
Elected in another country
1 1
School board trustee
5 3 2 3 1 14
Total 20 161 60 214 78 18 556

There are clear differences across the parties for professionals they recruit or appeal to—often in expected ways, like business and the Conservative Party, said Paul Thomas, a senior researcher with Samara and Carleton University professor.

“In an ideal world you would have people from all backgrounds in all parties” and those interested would be reflected in the priorities of each, Prof. Thomas said.

The data shows that isn’t happening, he noted, with some sectors disproportionately represented (like business people, professors, and lawyers), while the more precarious sectors (retail, restaurant, or service) have fewer people running for federal office.

“This comes back to the question of whether politics is accessible across employment backgrounds? Do we have people who have experience, say in the retail sector, or in trades, feeling like their views are well represented?” he said.

That’s long been the case, with sales and service experience cited among about five per cent of MPs over the past 10 parliaments, while skilled occupations sat around 20 per cent, according to a Maclean’s analysis in 2015. Double the number appeared in law, social science, education, government services and professional occupations.

It’s a question of “symbolism,” in what it signals to a population that may feel distrust in or disaffected by politicians. It’s also a question of “legitimacy,” he said,  in that those voices should be represented to help with good policymaking.

“There also is the reality of polarization so if people find themselves believing one particular party can represent their best interest, that doesn’t necessarily lend itself well to compromise,” and it can be worrying to see over-concentration of types within a party.

Hopefuls most likely to cite business experience

Candidates most commonly cite their business credentials when wooing candidates, which was mentioned in 20 per cent of candidate profiles, followed by 10 per cent who fit in education, and eight per cent who work in government institutions (whether as staff or as representatives, like city councillors), seven per cent in legal professions, and six per cent in health care.

The Conservatives had the most business owners, at 42, followed by the People’s Party’s 24, the Liberals with 24, Greens with 23, and NDP with 7.The Conservatives were also far more likely to draw out with recent experience in the armed forces (15) as were the PPC (11).

Lawyers have long been an overrepresented profession in the House, and it was the second most common profession this election, with at least 46 running for Liberals, 26 for the Conservatives, 16 for the NDP, 10 for the Greens, and 8 for the PPC.

But that shift has changed over past Parliaments as more business people get elected, according to a 2013 Toronto Star. Before 1993, between 22 and 38 per cent of MPs in each Parliament were lawyers, but that moved down to 15 per cent,

About 10 per cent of each of the Liberal, NDP, and Green candidates are in the education field, with half that amount running for the Conservatives. Twenty-two per cent of the Bloc Québécois candidates cite education as a recent job before running for federal office.

There are a combined 35 professors running for the Liberal, NDP, and Green, while the CPC has four.

Almost a third of the PPC candidates didn’t have their professional experience publicly listed, and so couldn’t be categorized.

In some cases—for the PPC and gaps in other parties—that may signal they’re placeholder candidates that national parties put on the ballot to make sure all 338 ridings are covered. Many of the more minimalist biographies appeared for candidates running in long-shot ridings— facing off against some Conservative candidates in Alberta, for example.

More than 100 PPC candidates didn’t have a website—mostly in Quebec where the party leader Maxime Bernier is trying to keep his seat, Newfoundland and Labrador, and P.E.I.—with many using Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter profiles as their primary place for campaign communications.

That’s likely more a function of them being a new party rather than any particular attempts to hide, said Mr. Thomas, noting it was the party without a standardized web template for candidates.

Their candidate pages were also more likely to have gaps in personal information, focusing instead on issues, values, and platform promises.

“Possibly because it’s a new political movement with distinct political philosophy, people were trying to demonstrate their commitment to cause as compared to lay out their professional experience,” he said. That kind of signalling also came out with Green candidate, he noted, with nearly all biographies making references to environmental commitments.

Liberals have highest education

The analysis also tracked when candidates cited educational experience, ranging from college degrees up to a PhD. More than 200 of each of the Conservative, Green, and Liberal candidates have undergraduate degrees or higher, while the NDP reported 148 and the PPC, 95.

To Mr. Thomas it was “quite striking” to see so many Liberals (141) with postgraduate degrees. Liberal candidates most commonly had PhDs (19), followed by the Greens (11), and the Liberals also have the most masters and law degree holders (122), followed by the Conservatives (97).

Education level Bloc Québécois Conservative Green Liberal NDP People’s Party of Canada Grand Total
Undergraduate degree 29 106 121 78 77 61 472
Post-graduate degree 18 97 74 122 64 29 404
PhD 1 7 11 19 12 6 56
Community College 4 14 19 4 10 15 66
Trade certification / license 1 9 13 2 5 7 37
Total 53 233 238 225 168 118 1035

Though a complete picture can’t be captured as candidates are inconsistent with the amount of information they publicly share about their background and qualifications, Prof. Thomas said how political candidates present themselves matters, as does the experience they choose to highlight.

The low numbers is likely due, in part, to underreporting as both were less consistent with the biographies on party websites.

Even if under-reported, candidates are more likely to be higher educated than the average citizen. In 2016, 54 per cent of Canadians had college-and-above qualifications, compared to at least 58 per cent of those on the ballot this year.

Top occupation, by category

Occupation Bloc CPC Green Liberal NDP PPC Grand Total
Business (owners, entrepreneurs, consultant, realtors) 7 113 54 84 25 70 353
Government (all positions, excluding MPs) 8 51 17 50 34 14 174
Education 17 20 41 36 40 13 167
Law 3 27 10 50 19 9 118
Health care + social work 5 16 18 23 28 10 100
Trades, engineering, construction 3 8 18 6 11 32 78
Media / communications 4 19 9 16 5 8 61
Arts/Entertainment 5 2 26 4 15 3 55
Student 4 1 17 3 23 48
NGO 3 6 13 7 17 46
Military, police, and corrections 1 15 4 4 3 11 38
Agriculture 1 13 7 4 3 4 32
IT sector 2 5 8 2 4 7 28
Restaurant, service and retail 2 3 4 1 12 4 26
Labour / union 3 1 2 16 22
Director / manager 1 2 1 6 3 3 16
Sales 2 4 2 3 1 12
Human resources
3 3 3 1 1 11
IT sector 2 3 2 2 2 11
Scientist 4 3 1 2 10

Top occupation, by job title

Title Bloc Québécois Conservative Green Liberal NDP People’s Party of Canada Total
Business owner 1 42 23 24 7 32 129
Lawyer 3 26 10 46 16 8 109
Teacher 7 8 19 7 15 4 60
Student 4 1 17 3 23 48
Professor 2 4 7 14 14 4 45
Farm / agriculture 1 13 7 4 3 3 31
NGO Director 3 5 6 4 11 29
Entrepreneur 9 9 4 5 27
Engineer 1 3 8 4 3 7 26
Municipal councillor
8 1 8 6 3 26
Armed Forces 1 10 3 2 1 7 24
Political staff, federal
9 7 8 24
Consultant 6 4 7 4 2 23
Social work 3 2 6 3 8 22
IT sector 2 3 7 2 1 6 21
Realtor 3 5 4 2 2 3 19
Public servant, provincial 3 5 3 4 2 2 19
Nurse 1 1 2 3 9 2 18
NGO staff 1 7 2 6 16
Trade 2 2 1 5 6 16
Service industry 2 3 7 3 15
Business manager 2 6 2 1 4 15
Journalist 7 2 4 1 14

Source: Business tops experience among 2019 candidates, one-third have run for office before

Bloc leader apologizes for candidates’ Islamophobic and racist social media posts

Of note (pro forma apologies):

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet apologized Thursday after media outlets uncovered a number of Islamophobic and racist social media posts by candidates running for the sovereigntist party.

“They all regret having shared in the past videos or messages containing inappropriate comments,” Blanchet said in an emailed statement.

“They apologized. As leader of the Bloc Québécois, I add my apologies on their behalf to the entire population of Quebec.”

Blanchet’s statement does not name any of the candidates, though it indicates he has spoken to five individuals — four women and one man.

The apology is almost certainly in response to articles published Wednesday in the Globe and Mail and Thursday in the Journal de Montréal that documented numerous posts, tweets and shared links on Facebook and Twitter by: Caroline Desbiens, a candidate in the Beauport riding; Lizabel Nitoi, running in Marc-Aurèle-Fortin; Valérie Tremblay in Chicoutimi–Le Fjord; and Claude Forgues in Sherbrooke.

The four candidates named in the Globe and Mail and Journal de Montreal articles. (Radio-Canada)

The fifth candidate is likely Nicole Morin, a Bloc candidate in Saint-Maurice–Champlain who was found to have shared a video by the far-right group La Meute.

The four Bloc candidates cited in the Journal article issued identical statements of apology on social media Thursday. The apologies note that Le Journal “considers” the messages Islamophobic, but the authors don’t state whether they agree with the assessment.

Desbiens’ remarks were in a publication promoting a law on secularism in 2013. She said she worried that women would soon be forced to either wear a veil to go grocery shopping or be thrown in jail. She also praised France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Nitoi shared a groundless article about the intelligence of Muslims. Tremblay has shared several anti-Islam messages and conspiracy theories on Twitter since 2016, the Journal de Montreal reported.

Forgues shared a video on Facebook that states “Islam is a disease” and contained other intolerant remarks about Muslims, according to the Journal.

The boilerplate apologies, written in the first person, all say that the candidates did not mean to offend.

The four candidates go on to affirm in their statements their “total and complete support for the values and program of the Bloc Québécois … which in no way advocates measures that go against some communities, whether cultural or religious.”

The controversy lands ahead of the second French-language debate, set for Thursday.

The Bloc Québécois has been building momentum ever since the first French-language debate last week. Polls suggest Blanchet was the big winner of that contest and that the Bloc’s support levels have increased as a result.

Source: Bloc leader apologizes for candidates’ Islamophobic and racist social media posts

Liberals keeping Cape Breton candidate despite past racist, sexist remarks on social media

Hard to defend keeping this candidate apart from the need to save a safe Liberal seat.

In contrast, the Conservative decision to dump their candidate in Burnaby North-Seymour was easier, as the Conservatives ran third, albeit with 28 percent of the vote in 2015:

Justin Trudeau says past racist and sexist social-media posts from a Liberal candidate in Cape Breton were “unacceptable,” but the party is not dropping Jaime Battiste from its election campaign roster.

Sunday marked the first time Mr. Trudeau has publicly commented on Mr. Battiste’s remarks since Friday, when the Toronto Sun revealed past Facebook and Twitter posts in which the Liberal candidate for Sydney-Victoria made offensive remarks about women, Indigenous girls, gay men and Chinese people with accents. Mr. Battiste has since apologized for the posts, which date back as far as 2011, saying he wrote the posts during “difficult times” in his life.

Speaking to reporters in Plainfield, Ont., Sunday, Mr. Trudeau was asked if he felt he was limited in the action he could take against other Liberal candidates because of past photos of him in blackface and brownface, but he didn’t answer the question directly.

“We recognize that Jaime Battiste … took responsibility for his actions and has apologized,” Mr. Trudeau said.

In response to an interview request for Mr. Battiste, the Liberal Party referred to his apology instead.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer had the day off on Sunday, but his party took to Twitter to ask if Mr. Trudeau needs to “see more before he finally fires him.”

Meanwhile, the Conservatives were dealing with another controversial candidate of their own. The party dropped Heather Leung as its candidate for Burnaby North-Seymour on Friday over offensive comments she made about the LGBTQ community.

However, video posted by CityNews in Vancouver on Saturday showed Ms. Leung’s team still putting up Conservative campaign signs with her name on them.

In a statement on Sunday, Conservative spokesperson Simon Jefferies said Ms. Leung has been told she cannot use the party’s name or logo, or represent herself as the Tory candidate.

All of the major parties have had candidate troubles. Cameron Ogilvie stepped down as Conservative candidate in Winnipeg last month over discriminatory social-media posts.

Source: Liberals keeping Cape Breton candidate despite past racist, sexist remarks on social media

Unpacking the People’s Party’s Fear of ‘Radical Multiculturalism’

Will see how this turns-out post the debates. And while I haven’t compiled candidate data (working with Samara and others to do so), anecdotally there so seem to be a fair number of visible minorities, some immigrants, some subsequent generations, among their candidates:

The People’s Party of Canada says it is “inclusive,” but how does that square with its calls to scrap the country’s Multiculturalism Act, tighten our borders, promote “Western civilization values” and cut immigration by more than half?

More diversity will “destroy what has made us a great country,” leader Maxime Bernier tweeted last year in a long, Trumpian thread.

Bernier, who narrowly lost the Conservative leadership to Andrew Scheer in 2017, founded the People’s Party in September 2018.

Since then, it has alarmed critics across the political spectrum, including some former supporters who are worried that xenophobic, and even racist, members of the radical right, as seen in the U.S. and Europe, now have a political home in Canada.

“What the PPC is doing risks normalizing far-right ideology,” said Brian Budd, a PhD student in political science at the University of Guelph who researches right-wing politics and populism in Canada.

The party uses the language of inclusion to communicate its ideas, noted Budd.

Those studying far-right parties in Western democracies have found that the most successful ones in Europe use the language of liberalism, civic values, and the national interest as a Trojan horse to normalize discrimination in the mainstream.

The strategy allows such parties to say they’re pursuing national unity when they’re actually promoting exclusion. It allows them to posit that hate speech is actually the free speech of a democratic society.

“It’s a built-in defence against accusations of racism,” said Budd.

It’s the kind of strategy that Conservative Kellie Leitch used in her bid for re-election in 2015. Leitch said she wanted to establish a “barbaric cultural practices” tip line to “defend Canadian values.”

Bernier used a similar approach in his Twitter rant against diversity, warning that “people live among us who reject basic Western values such as freedom, equality, tolerance and openness.”

While populist right-wing parties, including the People’s Party, have attracted supporters who are white supremacists, Budd doesn’t view the party as all-in advocating for a “homogenous, white European society.”

The party has been quick to point out that it has candidates who are immigrants and people of colour — proof, it has said, that it is not anti-immigrant or racist.

And it is willing to accept newcomers if they “share fundamental Canadian values, learn about our history and culture and integrate in our society,” Bernier has said.

That can be understood as “conditional multiculturalism,” said political scientist Erin Tolley of the University of Toronto.

The party’s immigrant candidates have said that they don’t see a problem with limiting immigration or with Bernier’s view that immigrants must assimilate and take on the party’s definition of “Canadianness.”

Rocky Dong, the party’s candidate in Burnaby North–Seymour, used a metaphor to explain his support for the policies.

“If you have one chopstick, it breaks easily,” he said. “If you have many chopsticks, they’re hard to break.”

Integration is crucial to national unity, said Dong, 48, who arrived in Canada from China in 2001. He helps international students integrate on a daily basis at work, connecting them with housing and education.

Another party candidate, Baljit Singh Bawa of Brampton Centre, who immigrated to Canada from India in 2000, said he was able to integrate thanks to his own drive to improve his English and a three-year stint working in Dubai “to get that international exposure, to get myself out of my comfort zone.” He wants others moving to Canada to integrate in similar ways.

Budd said that immigrant candidates allow the party to showcase its idea of the model minority — “the immigrants who have come in and successfully assimilated without support from the state.”

“A lot of Canadians like to think that Bernier is simply importing something successful from elsewhere,” he said. “But what he’s really doing is trying to adapt ideas and discourses to the Canadian context.”

Having these model immigrant candidates adds a made-in-Canada flavour to the kind of populism Bernier is building; it’s more visibly colourful than whiter movements in other Western democracies.

“It’s about population management,” said Budd, “while ensuring the privilege and supremacy of European culture.”

According to the party’s platform, it seeks to manage newcomer populations by:

  • Cutting immigration to between 100,000 and 150,000 people a year (Last year about 321,000 people immigrated; in the peak year under Stephen Harper, 280,700 arrived in 2010);
  • Focusing on economic immigration to fill labour gaps, while stopping the intake of temporary workers and people entering through family reunification programs;
  • Interviewing newcomers to ensure they subscribe to “Canadian values and societal norms;”
  • Eliminating the Multiculturalism Act and spending on multiculturalism;
  • Stopping “illegal migrants” and “false migrants” entering via the U.S. border;
  • Move to a reliance on private sponsorships to pay for refugee settlement, ending government support.

Bernier describes his vision in the liberal language of “harmony and the maintenance of our Canadian national identity.”

He has also attempted to justify his plans economically for his libertarian supporters, saying the party aims to cut down on state-funded “specialist services” for “freeloaders,” said Budd.

Bernier has said that some cultures, like First Nations, Cape Breton and Quebec’s Eastern Townships “deserve to be nurtured” because they were “developed in Canada” and “don’t exist anywhere else in the world.”

Political scientist Tolley said regional cultures are true of any country. “It is interesting that they’re trying to suggest that these regional cultures can’t exist alongside immigration and multiculturalism,” she said.

The party’s desire to clamp down on immigration and promote “Western civilization values” has led critics, including some former supporters, to accuse it of attracting and harbouring racists, white supremacists, anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists.

People’s Party events have been attended by such far-right individuals as Faith Goldy, an advocate of the conspiracy theory of white genocide who has verbally attacked immigrants and Islamic culture; Paul Fromm, a self-described “white nationalist” based in Hamilton who directs several far-right groups in Canada; and members of the Northern Guard, a militant anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim group that is an offshoot of the Soldiers of Odin.

This has caused trouble with some party supporters.

In July, the entire board of a Winnipeg riding association resigned, saying “racists, bigots, anti-Semites, and conspiracy theorists” had a large presence in the public conversation around the party.

The board members also said they were “appalled” to see “disinformation and distrust… encouraged with wink and a nod now.”

Last week, People’s Party candidate Brian Misera of Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam called on Bernier to “do more to help us disassociate from far-right groups that really have no place in our society.” The party has since revoked Misera’s candidacy, saying that he broke Elections Canada rules by acting as his own financial agent.

Bernier has responded by saying he doesn’t know everyone who attends his rallies and that “people who are racist and [don’t] believe in the Canadian values aren’t welcome in our party.”

Sanjay Jeram, a senior lecturer in political science at Simon Fraser University, believes Bernier’s failure to condemn these far-right elements more strongly is linked to efforts to build the new party.

“My feeling is he’s trying to cobble together a party that’s having trouble with organization,” said Jeram. As an upstart party trying to compete with the Conservatives, Bernier “can’t afford alienating people who he might not want part of the bigger message.”

Jeram said that debate about immigration levels shouldn’t be taboo but cautions against empowering more dangerous anti-immigration constituents. “The party should be more careful to screen candidates who have views that might actually incite violence,” he said.

“In a liberal democratic society, we shouldn’t be limiting debate. But that debate can go into the realm of targeting people for their race, gender, ethnicity or religion and making them vulnerable. It’s possible for people to take those messages and turn them into the legitimization of violence or discrimination.”

Stewart Prest, who also lectures in political science at SFU, said the party’s language is worth scrutiny. For example, it often decries what it calls “radical multiculturalism.”

That “could translate into disliking a particular group, Muslims being singled out,” he said.

Bernier’s attempt to redefine immigration and multiculturalism is a “grand project,” said Prest, as Canada’s mainline parties have agreed for a generation that immigration and multiculturalism are a part of the country’s foundations.

“But these messages can get picked up a number of ways and open the door to even more radical conversations.”

Tolley said that why the potential impact of the People’s Party should not be dismissed despite the party’s low support, currently at three per cent, according to the latest CBC aggregate of available polling data.

Tolley gives the example of the Reform Party, also an opponent of multiculturalism, which in the 1990s was able to change the conversation around immigration, making it an economic issue rather than a social one.

Last week the Leaders’ Debates Commission invited Bernier to participate in leadership debates.

Many experts wonder how the People’s Party’s narratives on immigration, refugees and multiculturalism might shift how other parties and the Canadian public talk about these topics.

People’s Party candidate Rocky Dong says they are only preaching “common sense.”

“We don’t hate the people outside. We just love the people inside the fence.”  [Tyee]

Source: Unpacking the People’s Party’s Fear of ‘Radical Multiculturalism’

Justin Trudeau s’explique sur le cas de Hassan Guillet

For the record:

Justin Trudeau admet que son équipe a tenté de trouver une solution pour maintenir la candidature de Hassan Guillet dans Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel. Elle a finalement été révoquée après que le B’nai Brith eut révélé des déclarations passées jugées « antisémites » du candidat.

« Dans toute situation, on essaie toujours de créer des façons de rassembler les gens et non de les diviser. Mais quand il est devenu évident que les propos étaient inacceptables, il a fallu qu’on lui demande de quitter », a déclaré M. Trudeau, lundi, en marge d’une annonce à Waterloo, en Ontario.

Il y a cependant un flou quant au moment où le PLC a été mis au courant de ces déclarations. M. Trudeau, qui s’exprimait pour la première fois à ce sujet, n’a pas souhaité éclaircir le mystère.

L’organisation B’nai Brith dit avoir porté à l’attention du parti, à la fin du mois d’août, d’anciennes déclarations que M. Guillet aurait faites sur les médias sociaux. Selon le groupe, ces déclarations sont « troublantes, antisémites et anti-israéliennes ».

Dans un des commentaires, daté du 8 juillet 2017, et retransmis par le B’nai Brith, M. Guillet salue la libération, « après neuf mois dans une prison de la Palestine occupée », du militant Raed Salah qu’il qualifie de « résistant » et de « djihadiste ».

B’nai Brith pointe également du doigt une entrevue donnée par M. Guillet à Radio-Canada International, en espagnol, en décembre 2017, où il commente la décision du président américain Donald Trump de reconnaître Jérusalem comme la capitale d’Israël.

M. Guillet dit dans cette entrevue que le gendre de M. Trump, Jared Kushner, « un juif ultra-orthodoxe et un intégriste, pro-Israël », prône la politique « Israel first ».

Le 30 août, le PLC publiait un communiqué de presse pour révoquer la candidature de M. Guillet.

« Si ces déclarations pouvaient être considérées offensantes à certains de mes concitoyens de confession juive, je m’en excuse », a-t-il alors affirmé dans une déclaration qui semblait avoir été préparée pour calmer le jeu et demeurer candidat du PLC.

Lors d’une conférence de presse, quelques jours plus tard, le principal intéressé a déclaré qu’il avait été « trahi » par l’entourage de Justin Trudeau, qui était au courant de ses affirmations controversées.

M. Guillet a aussi affirmé que le parti avait commencé à travailler sur un « plan d’action », dès le début du mois d’août, pour démontrer l’appui de membres de la communauté juive à sa candidature.

En mai, M. Guillet a obtenu l’investiture libérale dans la circonscription montréalaise de Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel, traditionnellement représentée par un candidat d’origine italienne, après une chaude lutte.

Le PLC a finalement annoncé la semaine dernière que la nouvelle candidate est la conseillère municipale Patricia Lattanzio, qui était arrivée en deuxième place à la course à l’investiture.

Cela n’a pas empêché les conservateurs — qui ont eux-mêmes eu à gérer des problèmes avec des candidats au sein de leurs propres troupes — d’attaquer les libéraux au sujet de M. Guillet dans les derniers jours.

Ils considèrent que l’ancien candidat a tenu « d’horribles propos antisémites et anti-Israël » et ont accusé le PLC de vouloir balayer les propos de M. Guillet sous le tapis avec « une stratégie de relations publiques ».

Source: Justin Trudeau s’explique sur le cas de Hassan Guillet

Bernier picks ridings where PPC has best chance to win in bid to join leaders’ debate

Looking at the choices by percentage of immigrants and visible minorities, quite a range. Appears selection criteria weighted towards candidate name recognition and profile (for full riding detail, see diversityvotes.ca):

  • Beauce: 1.4 percent immigrants, 1.1 percent visible minorities
  • Etobicoke North: 58 percent immigrants, 75.7 percent visible minorities
  • Nipissing-Timiskaming: 4.6 percent immigrants, 2.4 percent visible minorities
  • Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley: 13.1 percent immigrants, 10.2 percent visible minorities
  • Pickering-Uxbridge: 30.2 percent immigrants, 36 percent visible minorities

People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier has provided five ridings to the federal commission organizing the election leaders’ debate in a last-minute effort to enter the highly anticipated event.

In a letter sent to the Leaders’ Debate Commission, Bernier picks five ridings based on “candidates who are better known in their riding as public figures, and therefore will start this campaign with an advantage that others don’t have.”

It includes his Quebec riding of Beauce and the Toronto riding of Etobicoke North, where Renata Ford, the wife of late former mayor Rob Ford and sister-in-law of Ontario premier Doug Ford, is running.

The commission had asked Bernier to provide it with three to five ridings where he thought People’s Party candidates had the best chance of winning, after saying on Aug. 12 that Bernier did not meet the criteria needed to qualify for the leaders’ debates slated for early October.

Commissioner David Johnston had preliminarily ruled that the People’s Party, as it stood, did not have a “legitimate chance” of electing more than one candidate in the upcoming election.

That determination is based on recent political context, polling and previous general election results. A final list of invited parties will be published on Sept. 16.

The three other ridings are Nipissing-Timiskaming, where local councillor Mark King is representing the People’s Party; Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley, where former Conservative cabinet minister Steven Fletcher is running; and Pickering-Uxbridge, where former Tory MP Corneliu Chisu carries the party banner.

Bernier states in the letter that his understanding of the criteria is that “it simply states that our candidates must have a legitimate chance to be elected in the general election, and not at this time in the election cycle.”

“The election campaign could have a huge impact on this legitimate chance. More so for the other reasons I explained regarding the recent political context, including the high level of volatility and disaffection of the electorate, and the fact that populist parties similar to the PPC have experienced very rapid growth in other Western countries,” Bernier wrote.

He said as the People’s Party is very young, it had little information about the regional distribution of its support across Canada and its concentration in specific ridings. Nor did the party have the money to conduct polls in 338 ridings.

Bernier also included data obtained from Meltwater, a media monitoring company, on how often his name popped up in online and print sources over the last year compared to other party leaders.

The numbers state his name popped up 23,518 times, more than Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet.

As well, data included in the letter shows his name popped up on social media 1.67 million times, more than NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, May and Blanchet.

Bernier also included in his letter columns in publications such as the Toronto Star, National Post and The Post Millennial arguing in favour of his entry into the debate.

Among candidates, Renata Ford, though a political novice, carries name recognition through her politically involved family members.

Meanwhile, King is a council member in North Bay. He was supposed to run for the Tories, but the party removed him as a candidate last month for allegedly using a corporate credit card to purchase party memberships for himself and close family members. He then joined the People’s Party.

Fletcher was a Conservative MP from 2004 to 2015 and had served as ministers of state for democratic reform and transport. Chisu was a Tory MP from 2011 to 2015.

An Aug. 5 Mainstreet Research poll for iPolitics found Bernier to be running neck-and-neck with the Conservatives in his southeastern Quebec riding.

According to the commission’s letter sent to Bernier, the information he provided will now be relayed to an independent pollster before returning to the party for a final comment.

Source: Bernier picks ridings where PPC has best chance to win in bid to join leaders’ debate

‘We need to be at the table’: nominated Indigenous candidates near 2015’s record high

Of note (have added Indigenous percentage of riding populations):

With at least 43 Indigenous candidates running for federal office in 2019, the number is nearing the record-breaking 54 contenders in 2015, and almost doubling those nominated in 2011.

Most are running under a red banner, with 13 Indigenous people confirmed as Liberal candidates, followed by 11 for the NDP, eight for the Conservatives, seven for the Green Party, and three with the People’s Party, according to party-submitted numbers and a Hill Times analysis of public information. The PPC said it doesn’t have the resources to track demographics for its candidates.

That total is likely to increase, given the NDP and Liberals represented the bulk of nominations in 2015, for a combined 39 of the 54, and both have yet to nominate their full complement of candidates. The Liberals had named 231 out of 338 candidates as of July 29, and the NDP has less than half, with 130 names posted to its website as of Aug. 2.

The 2015 federal election saw a historic 10 Indigenous MPs elected and a historic number of Indigenous voters who cast ballots, with 61.5 per cent turnout on reserves, up from 47.4 per cent in 2011.

Liberal candidate Michelle Corfield, who is running in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, B.C., [8.3 percent Indigenous] said she’s excited by the numbers, thinking about the opportunities that are available now to her 20-year-old daughter and the voice historically marginalized First Nations people can have in government.

First Nations people were denied the right to vote until 1960, and long after that children were taken from their homes and put into residential schools. Up to 2015, there had only been 34 Indigenous MPs elected since Confederation, and 15 Indigenous Senators appointed to the Red Chamber.

“All of these things compounded how people perceived the relationship with the Crown” and affected the perception of participation in politics among Indigenous people, said Ms. Corfield, a former chair of the Nanaimo Port Authority and the Ucluelet First Nation legislative council.

“For decades, people have been making legislation for them but without them, so in order for us to have a voice in significantly designing how legislation informs and impacts Indigenous people, we need to be at the table,” said Ms. Corfield, who’s been a Liberal since she could vote and is one of two Indigenous candidates running in the riding where Green MP Paul Manly won a byelection earlier this year.

‘My whole life is political’

While it’s difficult to pinpoint why record levels of Indigenous people have run for office over the last decade, Liberal candidate Trisha Cowie said she doesn’t have the option not to be political.

“My whole life is political,” she said, pointing to the Indian Act, which determines who has official First Nations status, and historically stripped it from those who fought in wars, pursued post-secondary education, or women who married non-First Nations men.

“It governs my identity to an extent, whether you’re on reserve or off reserve, when there’s a settlement. Everything is political. You could sit back and watch it unfold, but it’s all very personal, so it’s very difficult to do,” said Ms. Cowie who ran in the previous election in Parry Sound-Muskoka, Ont., [5 percent Indigenous] coming less than five points behind Conservative-turned-Indpendent MP Tony Clement, who won’t run again.

“You can actually affect change from the inside instead of always fighting from the outside,” she said.

For the last two years NDP Winnipeg Centre, Man., [18.1 percent Indigenous] candidate Leah Gazan tried to work from outside Parliament, lobbying MPs and Senators to pass Bill C-262, enshrining the United Nations Declaration on the Rights Of Indigenous Peoples into law. Ms. Gazan said it was “horrific” to watch the Senate effectively kill the bill in the waning days of the session, by not moving to put outgoing NDP MP Romeo Saganash’s (Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou, Que.) private member’s bill to a vote.

A few hundred kilometres away on the East Coast, Liberal candidate Jaime Battiste [Sydney-Victoria, 10.4 percent Indigenous] was equally frustrated by the outcome, following the weekly developments and delays with his father James Youngblood Henderson, who helped draft the 2006 declaration.

If the Liberals take a second mandate, Mr. Battiste, who is the first Mi’kmaq person to be on a federal ballot and would be Nova Scotia’s first-ever Indigenous member of Parliament, said he’s heartened by the party’s promise to make it a government bill—and therefore more likely to pass —while Ms. Gazan recalled the “years of stalling” by the Liberals before it moved forward.

When looking at the increasing number of Indigenous candidates running, she said it’s important to avoid drawing broad conclusions, because Indigenous people are often “lumped into one group with the same values,” said Ms. Gazan, who’s been fighting for human rights and on the front lines of climate justice for three decades.

The best match for her values, she said, was the NDP, which has several high-profile leaders on its ballot, including former vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Bob Chamberlin, and Grassy Narrows First Nation chief Rudy Turtle, who has said the Liberals haven’t done enough to help his community with the impacts of mercury poisoning.

Over the last decade, Ms. Gazan said political parties have approached her to run, but this time she said she felt the country is at “a critical juncture” and needed strong voices like hers, willing to speak truth to power.

Voting Liberal this election is “not the strategic vote,” a tactic she said helped take Winnipeg Centre from the NDP in 2015, because of the strong desire to boot former prime minister Stephen Harper. Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette beat out six-term New Democrat Pat Martin by a margin 26.5 percentage points in the previous election.

“This is one of the few ridings in the country that you can vote your conscience,” she said, and that’s the message her “community-based, community-led campaign” is giving. “I feel like our campaign is starting a movement and we are planning on getting this riding back.”

Lydia Hwitsum, who is running in Cowichan–Malahat–Langford, B.C., [9.4 percent Indigenous] for the Greens, also said without the strategic anti-Harper vote in play, her chances are better. One-term NDP MP Alistair MacGregor is running again after taking it in 2015 with 35.9 per cent of the vote, while the Greens came in fourth, with 16.9 per cent.

Born in 1964, Ms. Hwitsum is acutely aware that the right to vote came shortly before her lifetime. Cultural leaders like her “bright and brilliant” mother would never have had the chance to put their name on the ballot.

“The door’s open now and it wasn’t for them.”

So far, B.C. has the most Indigenous candidates running, with 10, followed by nine in Manitoba, and eight in Ontario. B.C.’s only Indigenous incumbent is Jody Wilson-Raybould, the former Liberal cabinet minister who will run as an Independent this time around in Vancouver Granville.

The Liberal candidates said they were saddened to see a powerful First Nations woman no longer with the party. In the midst of the SNC-Lavalin scandal and allegations the Prime Minister’s Office pressured her as attorney general, Ms. Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet and later was booted from caucus.

Ms. Corfield said Ms. Wilson-Raybould made her choice and “knew the consequences of those choices,” while Mr. Battiste said “this election isn’t about Jody and Justin,” but the Conservative policies that had him protesting in the streets four years before.

At the December 2018 Assembly of First Nations national conference, Mr. Battiste said he stood up and asked Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer (Regina-Qu’Appelle, Sask.) for one policy that made him different from Mr. Harper.

“And he couldn’t,” said Mr. Battiste, recalling how hundreds of chiefs booed his response that they’d have to wait until the party’s platform was released.

The “big move” by the Liberal party to open membership up made a difference during membership drives signing up supporters who helped him win the Sydney-Victoria, N.S., contested nomination a few weeks ago, said Mr. Battiste, showing the party is “taking strides to make sure Indigenous people are now more involved than ever in the political process.”

Indigenous voters “can be a swing vote in a riding,” said Mr. Battiste, a point the Assembly of First Nations has made to parties and politiciansthrough the 51 ridings it will target this election, 13 of which have Indigenous candidates running.

The Liberals will face their record on reconciliation, which Ms. Gazan said falls far short of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s (Papineau, Que.) promise as Canada’s most important relationship.

Four years can’t change 150 years of colonization, said Ms. Corfield.

“Maybe the expectations were set too high,” of the Liberals, but like Mr. Battiste she said this government has done more than any previous. Legislation addressing Indigenous languages and child welfare, and progress on boil water advisories are all signs of progress, they said.

In early March, before Mr. Battiste decided to run for the party, he captured some of that frustration in a Chronicle Herald op-ed, coming to the same conclusion he offers today: more Indigenous candidates must get politically involved.

“The only way to decolonize some of the processes of government is by having more Indigenous voices,” he said.

Source: ‘We need to be at the table’: nominated Indigenous candidates near 2015’s record high

Want more diversity in politics? Start by looking at political parties: Tolley

Good piece by Tolley. The only other point I would add is that visible minority candidates tend to run in ridings with significant numbers of visible minorities and immigrants, where likely the local riding party memberships reflect that diversity:

The 2015 federal election saw a record number of women, Indigenous peoples, and racialized Canadians elected to the House of Commons. When he selected his ministry, Justin Trudeau lauded it as “a cabinet that looks like Canada.” These gains are notable, but they should not be taken for granted. There are still representational gaps: women, Indigenous peoples, and racialized Canadians all occupy proportionately fewer seats in the House of Commons than their share of the Canadian population.

To get at the root of electoral under-representation, forget the electoral system. You need to look no further than Canada’s political parties. Parties control access to the House of Commons because they select nearly all of the candidates who appear on the ballot. Even so, the processes that parties use to recruit and select candidates are so opaque that the nomination stage has been referred to as the “black box” of Canadian politics. One thing is clear: if there is a representational deficit in the House of Commons, it’s because when parties nominate candidates, the ones they choose are still disproportionately white and male.

The problem isn’t voter bias. Of course voters harbour prejudice, but on election day, their preference for a particular party or leader tends to override whatever reservations they might have about a candidate’s race, gender, or demographic background. As a result, researchers have largely concluded that when women and minorities run, they win. What this means is that if parties nominated more diverse candidate slates, there would be more diversity in Parliament. The representational gap begins with parties, and the demographic mismatch between Parliament and the population only widens as prospective candidates move through each stage of recruitment, beginning with the decision to run for office and continuing until the ballots are counted.

Parties are not obligated to release data on the diversity of their candidate slates, so researchers and journalists are left to tally the statistics. They do this by consulting candidate biographies and other publicly available information, but even then, it’s hard to compile a full picture beyond the three main parties. In 2015, our best estimates suggest that at least 80 per cent of candidates were white, and 70 per cent were men.

Data compiled by the author, using candidate biographies and other publicly available sources. Women of colour includes both Indigenous and racialized women.

So, why don’t parties nominate more women and minorities? In some cases, political parties underestimate the electoral prospects of candidates who don’t fit the profile of the prototypical politician. There is also evidence that they filter women into unwinnable ridings and pigeonhole racialized candidates into only the most diverse districts. Gatekeeping matters.

My research shows that racialized candidates are more likely to emerge when the party’s riding association president is also racialized; otherstudies confirm that women riding association presidents are positively related to the selection of women candidates. Perhaps it’s because women and racialized gatekeepers have more diverse networks and can draw on these resources when identifying potential candidates, but it also appears that under-represented groups respond more positively to recruitment from gatekeepers with backgrounds like their own. Diverse local party leadership might also signal the party’s openness to a variety of candidates.

Despite this, my own research suggests that at least three-quarters of riding association presidents—the most prominent local party gatekeepers—are white and male. Candidate search committees typically assist riding association presidents, but the face of local recruitment efforts is still relatively homogenous. Parties might have more success in their efforts to recruit candidates with a wider range of characteristics and life experiences if the executives of their local riding associations were themselves more diverse.

The NDP has tried to tackle the challenge through an equity policy that commits to running women candidates in at least 50 per cent of all districts, and members of other equity groups in a further 30 per cent; “equity groups” is a catch-all for racialized minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, individuals who are LGBTQ, and youth. Although in 2015, the party nominated more women candidates than either the Liberals or the Conservatives, they nominated the fewest racialized minorities. This suggests that even an explicit commitment to more diversity is not enough. In 2017, the Liberals and Conservatives defeated a private member’s bill that would financially penalize parties for not running more women candidates

Other less formal means have also been tried. For example, prior to the last election, the federal Liberals launched an initiative called #AskHer. The idea was simple and grounded in research that shows women candidates need far more encouragement to run for office than men do. The Liberal Party asked Canadians to identify qualified women candidates whom they thought the party should approach to run. From these submitted names, just one woman—Celina Caesar-Chavannes— was ultimately elected as a Member of Parliament.

Parties have long been the gatekeepers to elected office, but apart from requiring them to disclose the names of their donors and abide by some basic electoral rules, there is little—aside from public pressure—to hold them to account. The 2019 election is an opportunity to do so. How many candidates from equity-seeking groups did parties approach and encourage to run for office? What measures are they putting in place to recruit diverse candidates to office? And how are parties supporting new candidates, whether that’s through training, a financial contribution, or volunteers? Last election, parties told voters to #AskHer. This time, we need to ask more of parties.

Source: Want more diversity in politics? Start by looking at political parties

Maxime Bernier présente ses candidats québécois

Four women out of 31 (13 percent). Haven’t had time to look at immigrant and visible minority numbers:

Maxime Bernier a présenté vendredi à Montréal 31 candidats qui brigueront les suffrages pour le Parti populaire du Canada au Québec. Parmi eux, aucune figure connue, peu d’expérience politique et seulement quatre femmes.

«Le plus important pour nous ce n’est pas le sexe (des candidats): c’est que les gens partagent la plateforme et les valeurs du parti», s’est défendu le chef du Parti populaire du Canada (PPC), Maxime Bernier. Il présentait les candidats des circonscriptions de Montréal, Montérégie Ouest, Laval, Laurentides, et de l’Outaouais.

Les candidats sont issus des milieux des affaires ou des relations publiques, certains sont étudiants, ostéopathes, pasteurs, militaires, promoteurs immobiliers, avocats, etc. Ce panel hétéroclite a tout de même un point en commun: une vision d’un État aux pouvoirs restreints pour davantage de libertés individuelles.

Fort de ces candidatures, Maxime Bernier espère toujours participer au débat des chefs. Pour être éligible, puisque le PPC a été créé il y a neuf mois, le chef doit présenter des candidats dans au moins 304 des 388 circonscriptions. Ces candidats doivent aussi avoir «une véritable possibilité» d’être élus. Pour l’instant, il en a présenté 260. Selon le chef du PPC, il devrait de toute façon avoir sa place au débat, car il participe déjà chaque mardi aux côtés de représentants des autres partis politiques à l’émission Power Play, animée par Don Martin à CTV News.

Les «bons» changements climatiques

Maxime Bernier a réitéré l’opposition de son parti aux objectifs de l’accord Paris, puisqu’il croit «que c’est normal que le climat change» et «qu’il y a plus de 12 000 ans le Canada était sous la glace et que c’est grâce aux changements climatiques si le Canada est ce qu’il est aujourd’hui», ce qui a bien fait rire ses candidats. Il a ensuite affirmé vouloir dépolluer les lacs et les rivières pour qu’il soit possible d’y pêcher et de s’y baigner.

Maxime Bernier avait assuré que ses candidats pourraient prendre la position qu’ils désiraient dans le débat sur l’avortement. La candidate dans la circonscription de Shefford, Marriam Sabbagh, est pro-vie, tout comme celle dans Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel, Tina Di Serio. «Je suis pro-vie, mais je respecte le choix des autres», a expliqué Mme Di Serio.

Pour le chef populiste, la catastrophe de Lac-Mégantic prouve par ailleurs qu’un oléoduc transnational est la solution la plus sécuritaire pour le transport du pétrole au pays. Si son parti remporte les élections, même en l’absence d’acceptabilité sociale, il imposerait ce pipeline.

Maxime Bernier a rappelé d’autres grandes lignes de son programme: fin de la gestion de l’offre en agriculture, réduction des seuils d’immigration, réforme du financement de Radio-Canada et de CBC, réduction de l’aide financière internationale et, entre autres, abolition du Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes (CRTC).

Source: Maxime Bernier présente ses candidats québécois

Why Canada’s political pipeline leaves little room for anyone but white men

Good study by Erin Tolley (disclosure: know Erin from our time together at CIC/IRCC and we remain in contact):

For women, the toughest hurdle is at the nomination level, the first checkpoint into the political realm.

Racialized minorities come up against barriers further along, beginning at the candidate selection stage.

That’s according to Erin Tolley, who teaches political science at the University of Toronto.

Tolley is among the first to map the race and gender of more than 800 people vying for a political party’s nomination ahead of the 2015 vote in 136 of the country’s most diverse ridings, where racialized minorities make up at least 15 per cent of the population, half of which are in Ontario. (Her tally uses Statistics Canada’s definition of “visible minority” and therefore does not include Indigenous nomination contestants or candidates.)

Wannabe politicians must first successfully compete for their choice party’s nomination in order to become the candidate in an election.

Though Tolley’s project is still in the works, early findings suggest political parties aren’t doing enough to diversify the pool of candidates.

“The dynamics for women and racialized minorities are different,” she said. “That’s important for parties to know because they therefore need to have different strategies if they want to attract and want to run women or racialized minority candidates.”

Women make up 52 per cent of the population, but only accounted for 33 per cent of nomination contestants across those 136 ridings. The proportion of female election candidates ticked up slightly, to 36 per cent, and 31 per cent of elected MPs in those districts were women.

That suggests women are less likely to throw their hat in the ring, but once they do, they fare well.

“Maybe women don’t want to run, they don’t want to be called ‘Barbies,’ for example,” Tolley said, citing veteran MP Gerry Ritz’s now-deleted and apologized-for recent tweet that referred to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna as “climate Barbie.”

Tolley put the onus on political parties.

“Political parties don’t do sufficient work to identify women candidates and encourage them to run,” she said. “Frankly, not enough fingers are pointed at political parties. We don’t need to change the electoral system to get women into politics. All parties need to do is nominate more women. It’s actually pretty simple.”

Racialized minorities don’t experience the same obstacle.

According to the data, minorities declare their candidacy in proportions that match their presence in the population. However, by the time Canadians go to the polls the share of MPs of colour is far below that.

“They want to be nomination contestants, but then the party is less likely to select them, and voters are even less likely to select them,” Tolley said.

Across the 136 ridings, racialized minorities comprised 38 per cent of the population and 37 per cent of nomination contestants. That dwindled to 33 per cent of election candidates, and to 29 per cent of MPs — an eight-point gap between the number of hopeful nominees and those who won a seat on the Hill.

A contributing factor is one Tolley has previously explored — that minority candidates tend to compete against each other in battleground districts.

That’s because racialized minorities are more likely to run, and win, in more diverse ridings, Tolley said. For instance, three candidates of colour may vie for their party’s nomination in an ethnically-rich district, and split the ballot.

“So, you have this big pool of people who are interested, but they’re competing against each other, essentially cancelling each other out — and that’s happening at each level,” she explained.

As for white men, their political possibilities widen.

Thirty-nine per cent of nomination contestants in those diverse ridings were white men, and they comprised 40 per cent of candidates on the ticket. Nearly half, 48.5 per cent, of those who won a seat were white males.

Source: Why Canada’s political pipeline leaves little room for anyone but white men | Toronto Star