A vote — from anyone — is a terrible thing to waste: Regg Cohn

Good profile by Regg Cohn on the Muslim community’s successful effort to increase political participation and voting (Liberals won a massive majority of the Muslim vote in the 2015):

Every political party gets out the vote on voting day.

Their vote. And only their vote.

GOTV, as it’s called, is an axiom of democracy. And yet the better that parties get at GOTV, the less democratic the turnout tends to be. From one election to the next, a political movement masters the technique or musters the technology to outhustle all rivals on voting day. But do we really want elections decided on the strength of a well-oiled electoral machine rather than a well-honed democratic impulse?

What if we got out the full vote (GOTFV) with a full pull — motivated not by partisanship but participation?

That’s what the Canadian Muslim Vote tried in the last federal election — and plans again for the coming provincial ballot. Mindful that Muslims vote far less than others, the group’s volunteers focused on their own faith group — but without trying to divine anyone’s partisan loyalties.

“We didn’t care who they’d vote for,” said Seher Shafiq, part of the leadership team at the non-partisan, non-profit organization.

As long as they voted for someone. For too long, too many of Canada’s 1.3 million Muslims voted for no one, she told a panel on democratic engagement that I moderated at Ryerson University on the weekend because this issue is crucial for me. Her group tried to understand how Muslim participation in the 2011 election was a mere 35 to 45 per cent in key ridings, compared to the national turnout of 61 per cent.

“We were shocked by this research . . . and we wanted to know why,” Shafiq told a couple of hundred democracy activists at the conference sponsored by Ryerson’s Leadership Lab and the Open Democracy Project.

The reasons were both banal and discouraging; people didn’t know who to vote for, how to vote, how to master the issues, and how to get engaged. In short, how they could make a difference.

Focused mostly on ridings in the Greater Toronto Area — where most volunteers, and most Muslims, happen to live — the group attended hundreds of grassroots events, paid for robocalls, mounted a social media push, and knocked on thousands of doors. Celebrity endorsements were part of the campaign, including Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri.

The bigger stars, however, were influential imams at local mosques. Her group persuaded them to praise the virtues of civic engagement and democracy in their regular sermons.

“For the first time ever, people saw the Muslim community was organizing politically,” she told the audience. “We really felt the buzz.”

It added up to a dramatic increase in the Islamic turnout — 79 per cent in the 2015 election versus 45 per cent in the previous vote, according to public opinion research commissioned by the group. In nine GTA ridings targeted by the group, the Islamic turnout averaged 88 per cent.

The Canadian Muslim Vote doesn’t take full credit for the improvement. Community concerns were bubbling up over perceived anti-Islamic rhetoric after the Stephen Harper government talked about banning religious face coverings, and proposed a “barbaric cultural practices” snitch line.

But I asked Shafiq if lessons learned from the Muslim mobilization could be transferable to other groups in the next provincial election. She is already comparing notes with Black Vote Canada and other organizations that motivate voters.

“Without talking to them — and having people who look like them talk to them — I don’t think they will be as engaged as they could be.”

Fellow panelist Dave Meslin, a grassroots activist trying to reform the electoral system, dismissed traditional GOTV as “a scam” that merely harasses people on election day, with little evidence that it improves democratic outcomes.

“Are we really building these lists (of supporters) to make sure we increase engagement, or are the lists designed to make sure we don’t pull the wrong people — that the Liberals don’t pull Conservatives, that Conservatives don’t pull New Democrats” he asked rhetorically.

Our third panelist, ex-MP and mayoralty candidate Olivia Chow (full disclosure: like me, she is a visiting professor at Ryerson), talked about the power of motivation in democratic engagement. Participatory movements are fine in theory, but a top-down approach may leave the grassroots as unmoved — and unmotivated — as ever.

“We talk about winning hearts and minds, not minds and hearts,” Chow reminded the activists. “Hearts come first.”

But Shafiq won a round of applause when she projected an image onscreen of her grandmother voting for the first time in the 2015 election at age 85. And then came a public confession from Shafiq about herself — the great persuader.

It turns out that she had never taken an interest in politics before she took on the role with the Canadian Muslim Vote. But at the age of 25 she finally joined her 85-year-old grandmother in focusing on the election, figuring out the issues, and making up her own mind.

Because a vote — from anyone, of any persuasion — is a terrible thing to waste.

via A vote — from anyone — is a terrible thing to waste | Toronto Star

Liberals won over Muslims by huge margin in 2015, poll suggests

No surprise, given the Conservative party’s use of identity politics in the election and explicit anti-Muslim messaging.

Chris Cochrane’s (UofT Scarborough) exit poll analysis of the election results, presented at Metropolis this spring, shows even stronger support among Canadian Muslims, close to 80 percent:

Muslim Canadians voted overwhelmingly for the Liberal Party in last year’s election, helping Justin Trudeau secure the majority government that nine out of 10 of Muslims believe will help improve relations between themselves and other Canadians, according to a new survey.

The poll of Muslim Canadians also found widespread support for the right to wear a niqab during a citizenship ceremony and a large degree of opposition to the anti-terrorism legislation known as Bill C-51, two hot-button issues that may have cost the Conservatives dearly in the last federal election.

The Environics Institute polled 600 Muslim Canadians between November 2015 and January 2016, asking a number of questions related to identity and religious issues, in addition to more politically themed questions.

Of those who said they had voted in the 2015 federal election, 65 per cent reported voting for the Liberals, with 10 per cent saying they voted for the New Democrats and just two per cent for the Conservatives.

Another 19 per cent of Muslim respondents refused to say how they had voted.

How Muslims voted in the last federal election

The Liberals did particularly well among Muslims in Quebec and those who are Canadian born. The NDP did slightly better among younger Muslims than it did among older Muslims.

These numbers mark a shift away from the NDP and Conservatives compared with 2011. An Ipsos Reid exit poll of voters in 2011 found that 46 per cent of Muslim Canadians had voted for the Liberals, with 38 per cent having cast a ballot for the NDP and 12 per cent for the Conservatives.

Source: Liberals won over Muslims by huge margin in 2015, poll suggests – Politics – CBC News

Visible Minority and Indigenous Members of Parliament: Tolley

Really good and timely e-book from Samara and UBC Press (Canadian Election Analysis: Communication, strategy, and democracy, free download).

Wide range of articles, my particular interest was in Erin Tolley’s on visible minorities and indigenous members (we have shared our respective data sets to ensure consistency):

42nd Parliament will include 47 visible minority Members of Parliament and 10 Indigenous MPs, record highs for both groups. The Liberals elected the most MPs of colour—83% of visible minority and Indigenous MPs will sit in the government caucus—followed by the Conservatives and the New Democrats.

The diversity of the 42nd Parliament dramatically outpaces the high-water mark reached in the previous Parliament when 28 visible minority and seven Indigenous candidates were elected. Following the 2011 election, MPs of colour made up 11% of the House of Commons, compared to 17% following the 2015 election, an increase of 54%.

…When political parties make an effort to recruit and nominate diverse candidates and do so in ridings where the party is competitive, those candidates can—and do—win. We should celebrate the inclusion of diverse faces in the House of Commons, but remain conscious of the ways in which their pathways to politics can be obstructed. Although it is beyond the scope of this analysis, we should also examine the positions that MPs of colour occupy on committees, within caucus, and in Cabinet. Presence is important, but influence matters most. Above all, in spite of the representational gains that have been made, they are in some cases small, meaning we still have some way to go to achieve a truly representative democracy.

For my analysis of the Cabinet, see The New Cabinet: Diversity, inclusion and achieving parity.

Political Communication in Canada – UBC Press

Why the Conservative ethnic outreach strategy fell apart: Cardozo

Andrew Cardozo on the reasons the Conservative ethnic outreach strategy failed:

It was that they assumed the ethnic voters were too stupid to hear the Liberal promise and could be easily scared by hot button words.

After years of visiting thousands of parades, temples, gurdwaras and the occasional mosque, and chasing around with foreign leaders like Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Filipino President Benign Aquino and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the 416, the 905, the 604—all those “heavily ethnic” ridings went Liberal.  How could they?

The first pillar of the Conservative ethnic policy was in part that they identified the more conservative elements within each of the communities, no matter how large or small, and in doing so not only expanded their base, but deepened the conservativism of the party.  They were able to attract the many traditional-minded Christians from various countries in addition to conservative elements of others from China, India and all the non-Christian religious groups.

The second pillar of the strategy was to play home-country politics.  All governments have done this, but the Conservatives took it to new heights—an extent to which it was becoming distasteful.  There will always be leaders in each community who will bask in the glow of a visiting head of state, but at a different level, members of the community are saying,  “No, Mr. Modi is not my Prime Minister, it’s you damn it.”

So on both these approaches, the Conservatives were smart enough to understand that they were not going to get the whole community but they could get the support of the more conservative segments of each community.  The sad part of it though was that they had no compunction about racing into a community and aggressively addressing issues on which there were divisions.  Unlike any other political party, they inserted their wedge politics that they use in the wider society, and have left those communities divided like never before. For example, you got a handful of demonstrators from the Jewish Defence League outside a fundraiser for a Jewish Liberal candidate in Toronto.

The third pillar of the strategy has been to play communities off each other, by resurrecting divisions from the old countries.  Taking a principled stand is what they said it was about.  They actively reached out to minority Christian communities from the South Indian and Middle East regions—people who left those countries to escape Islamic fundamentalism only to find that fundamentalism growing here, be they homegrown terrorist or the niqab and hijab.

But here is where the Liberals and New Democrats need to look deeply.  Just because the Conservatives were appearing to be overly bombastic, the other parties should not race to the complete opposite position.  There remains a need to counter radicalism within Canada and we do need to work towards gender equality in all communities.  While some women might cover by their own choice, others are certainly forced to.  So finding that balance should not be eschewed just because of the Conservative’s ugly approach.

In the end the Conservative approach was to focus on the conservative minded segments, cater to home-country politics, divide communities and scare them.  They will have earned the more hard-core conservative supporters for life, but by and large the strategy fell apart and even backfired, as they lost the vast majority in these communities to the Liberals’ positive campaign of hope and inclusiveness.

Source: Why the Conservative ethnic outreach strategy fell apart | hilltimes.com

Paul Calandra says it was a ‘mistake’ to focus on niqab, barbaric practices

Interesting coming from Calandra, who was one of the more obnoxious practitioners of repeating inane and irrelevant talking points.

Yet he shows more awareness than defeated CIC Minister Alexander (see this short video Catching up with outgoing cabinet minister Chris Alexander).

Perhaps if he and his colleagues engaged in more discussion with Canadians before the election, allowing for a better balance of witnesses during committee hearings, rather than ramming through changes, a more solid basis would have been laid:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s handpicked parliamentary secretary says the Conservative Party’s focus on identity issues — the niqab, stripping citizenship from dual nationals and launching a barbaric cultural practices hot line — was a mistake that cost the party votes among new Canadians.

“There was a lot of confusion and a lot of first-generation Canadians said ‘OK, we’re not ready to endorse that,'” Paul Calandra said in an interview with Rosemary Barton on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics.

“Obviously, yeah, in retrospect [it was a mistake],” he said, and one that likely led to his defeat at the hands of his Liberal opponent, Jane Philpott, in the riding of Markham–Stouffville.

“We had our challenges, obviously, in the early goings — we had the Duffy trial, then the Syrian refugee crisis — but through it all we were still in a very good spot,” Calandra said.

Voters were responding to Conservative messaging around low taxes, the economy and public safety, he said, but then the party started to stray into identity politics, and doubled down on rhetoric about Islamic face coverings and homegrown terrorism.

The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act was a particular sticking point. The Conservative-drafted law, known during the legislative process as Bill C-24, strips dual nationals of their citizenship if they are convicted of terrorism or high treason, among other serious offences.

It was not that voters disagreed with what the Conservatives had enacted, but that they were “confused” about how widely the law could be applied, Calandra said, and the Liberals pounced, shrewdly denouncing the policy as a slippery slope that created two classes of citizenship.

“‘What does it mean for me? How will that impact my family,'” Calandra said, reciting some of the questions he heard from voters at the door. “I had a call … ‘If I’m caught shoplifting does that mean my family has to go?'”

Source: Paul Calandra says it was a ‘mistake’ to focus on niqab, barbaric practices – Politics – CBC News

Aaron Wherry of Macleans provides comments by Conservative MPs:

C-24, the bill that allows the federal government to revoke the Canadian citizenship of dual citizens if an individual is convicted of treason or terrorism or takes up arms against Canada, was a similarly problematic issue, unexpectedly raising concerns for immigrants and their families. “Somehow we missed stuff, because I would have been one hundred percent behind it,” says [Brad] Trost [re-elected in Saskatchewan], “but for some reason people who should’ve understood that it wasn’t meant at them were a little bit insecure.” …
In Toronto, the Prime Minister made two appearances in the company of the Ford brothers, Rob and Doug, but, according to a national Innovative Research poll conducted shortly after the election, that did far more harm than good. Almost 10 times as many potential Conservative voters were less likely (49 per cent) than more likely (6.4 per cent) to vote Conservative because of Harper’s appearance with the Fords, who have practically become a worldwide monument to bad behaviour. “It’s hard to see a more self-destructive move by a campaign,” says Innovative Research owner Greg Lyle. This was a bigger turnoff for these voters than the trial of disgraced former Conservative Senator Mike Duffy (30 per cent), the party’s negative ads (26 per cent) or its anti-niqab stance (23 per cent.)

Source: How the Conservative campaign got it so spectacularly wrong – Macleans.ca

Economy? Health care? No, the deciding factor of this election was Canadian values: Adams

Good reflections on the deeper values of Canadians by Michael Adams:

While polls in this election may have indicated that the economy and health care were the campaign’s top issues, Stephen Harper wasn’t defeated last week because he was seen as a poor steward of the economy or an enemy of Canadians’ beloved public health care system. Rather, he offended the values of two-thirds of Canadians. Despite some suggestions to the contrary, these values did not change much during Harper’s time in office. Canada’s political centre of gravity has not shifted.

In addition to a divided centre-left, Stephen Harper’s success could mainly be traced to deft riding-by-riding tactics and to the use of wedge values issues to build out incrementally from his base (not very far, but enough for a majority in 2011). In addition to customized offerings for specific groups of voters (such as targeted foreign policy gestures and boutique tax cuts), our outgoing PM did find a few issues on which he could appeal to large majorities of Canadians.

On crime, Harper took populist positions that were out of step with the evidence about crime reduction and represented sharp departures from both Liberal and Progressive Conservative policies of the past. Public opinion has historically been more punitive than government policy. Mr. Harper saw an opportunity and took it: his government gave the people (especially his base) what they wanted: a tough stance on bad guys.

During this campaign, another values issue came to the fore when a decision by the federal court of appeal enabled Zunera Ishaq to swear her citizenship oath while wearing a niqab. A government-sponsored poll had shown that 82 per cent of Canadians agreed with the Conservative government’s attempt to prevent her from doing so – including 93 per cent in Quebec, where secularism and gender equality have become religion. While Ms. Ishaq exercised her clear Charter right to cover her face, the government put its impotent – but widely shared – objection on prominent display.

Crime and punishment, the niqab, revoking the citizenship of convicted terrorists, establishing a “barbaric cultural practices” hotline, foot-dragging on Syrian refugees (and, earlier, revoking refugees’ health care) – all these symbolic gestures appealed to the Conservative base, but some in fact appealed to large majorities of Canadians.

If some of these moves were so popular, why didn’t they gain Conservatives more traction in the election?

The reason is that other Canadian values run deeper. Research by the Environics Institute tells us that Canadians deeply value their pluralistic society; they believe government has a role to play in building a fair country; they believe in empathy and compromise as social habits.

Many Canadians might be uncomfortable with the niqab, but they take the Charter seriously and in the grand scheme they want a just, inclusive society. Most Canadians’ thinking on sentencing for offenders might be driven more by emotion than by reviews of criminology literature, but traditionally most have not objected when governments have acted on data rather than gut. Over time, a collection of wedge-politics gestures, however cleverly designed, were no longer able to hold back the tide of public sentiment that wanted another kind of big picture.

American poet Walt Whitman wrote: “Do I contradict myself?/Very well then, I contradict myself/(I am large. I contain multitudes.)” Like Whitman, the Canadian public contains multitudes. We have lesser angels and better angels. When we are not fearful we try to be inclusive, fair, and generous. And perhaps even when we are fearful, we try to find our way back to being otherwise.

Source: Economy? Health care? No, the deciding factor of this election was Canadian values – The Globe and Mail

Erna Paris: Canada is not immune to the most dangerous tactic in politics

Like Michelle Gagnon, I think Erna Paris overstates the risk.

Let us also not forget that the Conservatives lost decisively in the 33 visible majority ridings (GTA and BC’s Lower Mainland mainly), only winning two ridings to the Liberals 30 (the NDP won one), the overall popular vote for all of these ridings 31 percent compared to 52 percent for the Liberals (see my analysis 2015 Election – Visible Minority MPs Analytical Note).

One cannot win an election in Canada without being successful in these and other ridings with large numbers of visible minorities.

So yes, while the risks are always present, and one can never take things for granted, the political realities temper these as the Conservatives found out to their cost:

There’s a new narrative at play in post-election Canada. The past was dim, but the future is bright. We were worn down after a decade of authoritarian one-man rule and we voted for sunny change.

We also defied the worst of identity politics, we tell ourselves. We collectively rejected Stephen Harper’s opportunistic attacks on vulnerable Muslim women whose religion requires them to cover their face in the public square. “We’re back!” as Justin Trudeau told us.

I hope so. We’ll know soon enough.

But let’s not gloss over how close we came to the sort of majority-minority hostilities that have disrupted other diverse societies, with dangerous results. When the prime minister himself targeted a minority, creating “us” and “them” distinctions over who was, or was not, “Canadian”; when he reinforced these divisions by calling for a snitch line to report “barbaric cultural practices,” we were immediately catapulted into a new social space. In spite of longstanding legal protections for religious practices and laws that penalize defined criminal acts, more than 80 per cent of Canadians sided with Harper. Within days, a woman wearing a niqab was physically assaulted in Toronto. In Montreal, a pregnant woman was pushed to the ground. Social media exploded with anti-Muslim hatred.

None of this should have come as a surprise. I’ve studied the breakdown of multicultural societies, both past and present, and asked myself whether it is possible to pinpoint the steps along the way. And I’ve concluded that, allowing for small differences, the process is always the same. It starts with propaganda – with language purposely designed to marginalize a minority – and it is usually initiated by a respected leader who’s seeking to enhance his power. The shift from peaceful cohabitation into violence can happen quickly. Fortunately, in our case, the election results nipped the movement in the bud.

Source: Erna Paris: Canada is not immune to the most dangerous tactic in politics | Ottawa Citizen

My article: Visible minorities elected to Parliament close to parity, a remarkable achievement

My article in today’s Hill Times (note updated 25 Oct with the addition of one Conservative MP):

In contrast to the 2011 election, where 9.4 percent of all MPs were visible minorities, 2015 representation is aligned to the number of visible minority citizens (14 percent compared to 15 percent). Moreover, the success of the Liberal Party in decisively winning the visible minority vote  suggests that the Conservative Party’s extensive outreach to immigrant and visible minority communities had limited impact in stemming losses, and that concerns over the impact of changes to citizenship and immigration may have played a part.

Moreover, the percentage of visible minorities elected was identical to the percentage of visible minority candidates, which also had increased to 14 percent from 10 percent in the elections of 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011 (see Visible Minority Candidates – 2015 Election – Background Note for details). The Liberal party had the most visible minority candidates (16 percent) with the Conservative party and the NDP had slight under-representation (13 percent)

For comparison, the number of women and Aboriginal MPs only slightly increased in 2015. Analysis by Equal Voice shows the number of elected rose from 25 percent in 2011 to 26 percent today (88 women). Representation of Aboriginal peoples also increased to 10 seats (3 percent) from 7.

To assess visible minority representation I have used candidate names, photos and biographies to identify visible minority candidates. Although not as exact as identifying women candidates (e.g., subjectivity in analyzing photos), it nevertheless provides a reasonably accurate indication of how well Canadian political party candidates represent the population of visible minorities who are also Canadian citizens (15 percent). I was not able to break this down by those who are first generation immigrants and those who were born in Canada (second generation).


Federal Election 2015 and 2011 ComparisonThe chart above contrasts the 2015 visible minority representation with the 2011 election results. Not surprisingly, the Liberals, given their overall strong election result, will have the caucus with the largest number of visible minority MPs: 39 or 21.2 percent, significantly above the percentage of visible minority citizens (and Liberal candidates). Conversely, given their poor results, both the Conservatives and the NDP elected less than half of their visible minority candidates.

Federal Election 2015 VisMin Mps GenderLooking at 2015 results only, the chart above provides the comparative numbers for each party in the 47 ridings that elected visible minority MPs, minority, broken down by gender. As others have noted, given that the overall number of visible minority MPs is comparable to the number of visible minority candidates (14 percent), visible minority candidates ran in ridings where they can be elected,.

While 23 of these 47 MPs come from ridings where 50 percent are visible minority, 15 come from ridings between 20 to 50 percent visible minority. Surprisingly, nine come from ridings with less than 20 percent visible minority, and five of those with less than five percent. In other words, visible minorities were even elected in ridings where over 80 percent are non-visible minorities.

Visible minority MPs are 68 percent men, 32 percent women, higher than the percentage of all women MPs (26 percent).

Liberal visible minority candidates won 39 seats (83 percent), the Conservatives five (13 percent), the NDP 2 (4 percent).

Table 1 2015 Election – List of Visible Minority MPs lists the ridings, their percentage of visible minorities, and the MPs elected.

Turning to the 33 ridings where visible minorities comprise more than 50 percent of the population  (which we will call visible majority ridings), the following characteristics emerge:

  • Both two-thirds of candidates (68) and two-thirds of elected MPs (23) are visible minority;
  • 48 percent are visible minority men, 21 percent visible minority women;
  • The Liberals took all but three of these ridings (two went Conservative, one NDP);
  • The popular vote for these 33 ridings shows stronger support for Liberals among visible majority ridings (52.3 percent) compared to overall results (39.5 percent). Riding-by-riding, the winning Liberal candidate won over 50 percent of the vote, a majority not just a plurality;
  • In contrast, the popular vote for the Conservatives in these ridings is virtually identical (31.6 percent) to their overall results (31.9 percent). It would appear their base vote is the same among visible minorities as the general population.
  • The NDP did less well in these ridings (15.9 percent) compared to their overall results (19.7 percent);
  • Out of the 9 ridings where Chinese Canadians formed the dominant group, 3 Chinese Canadians were elected. In contrast, out of the 14 ridings where South Asians formed the dominant group, 8 were elected, mainly Sikh Canadians; and,
  • 10 non-visible minority MPs were elected in these ridings.

Table 2 2015 Election – 33 Ridings more than 50 percent visible minorities provides the demographics of these ridings, along with the names of elected MPs and their share of the popular vote.


In many ways, this is a remarkable achievement, achieving close to parity in parliamentary representation of visible minorities. No other comparable country is as representative of its population.

Visible minority MPs, as all MPs, will be expected to play not only on the issues of interest to their constituents but also on broader policy issues and debates. And hopefully, the incoming government will provide greater latitude for all MPs for debates and discussion, rather than the excessive reliance on centralized talking points under the Conservative government.

They can be expected also to play on foreign policy and diaspora issues of interest to their community, much as other ethnic communities such as Ukrainian Canadians and Canadian Jews continue to do.

Secondly, with 39 visible minority MPs in the incoming Liberal government, we will need to see how many are appointed to cabinet and to which positions, and how this is balanced against other cabinet representation issues like regional representation (PM Trudeau has already committed to gender parity). The Conservative government relegated visible minorities to junior positions (multiculturalism, sport, seniors) and it remains to be seen whether Liberal Prime Minister Trudeau will appoint a visible minority member to a more senior position.

Thirdly, the Conservative party needs to reflect on the effectiveness of the extensive outreach of Minister Kenney and others to new Canadian communities. Being 20 percent behind the Liberals in many of these ridings means that ‘being there’ is not enough. While some of this shift reflects the general trend in urban Canada, it also likely reflects changes to citizenship and immigration policy which impact on these communities (e.g., more difficult family reunification and citizenship). And overplaying the niqab and related issues in such an obvious wedge politics manner can hardly have helped.

One thing is clear. Visible minorities are an intrinsic part of electoral and political strategies. No party can afford to ignore them, given their size and political weight. And one of the election’s lessons is that the divisiveness of wedge politics is not a winning strategy among visible minority and other voters. Hopefully, that will be an enduring lesson, sparing Canadians of whatever origin, of such approaches in the future, and strengthening overall integration.

Source: Visible minorities elected to Parliament close to parity, a remarkable achievement | hilltimes.com

Canada federal election candidates include more visible minorities in 2015 than in the past four votes | National Post

More on visible minority candidates, with good commentary by Erin Tolley, Chris Cochrane and Priya Ramanujan:

Notably, this is the first time that the proportion of visible minority candidates in Parliament reflects the per cent of visible minority candidates who ran for election. Usually, a far greater proportion runs than is actually elected, said Erin Tolley, an expert on visible minorities in Canadian politics at the University of Toronto.

“It’s great to benchmark how many arrive in Parliament, but also to think about the mechanism through which they got there,” added Tolley, explaining that the success of visible minority MPs may have had more to do with the Liberal wave than with conscious effort. In 2011, the NDP were hailed for bringing several young MPs into Parliament, but they had “won by accident, by surprise” because of an unexpected surge of support in ridings they hadn’t expected to win.

Thirty nine visible minority MPs, the bulk of those elected yesterday, belong to the Liberal party, which has long had the support of more visible minorities than the other major federal parties.

“A Liberal victory like we saw last night unsurprisingly is going to return a particularly high number of visible minority candidates to Parliament,” said Cochrane.

“As visible minorities become more entrenched, they’re here for many generations. They’ve been living in their neighbourhoods for decades. That’s all a recipe for increased engagement in federal politics,” he added.

Priya Ramanujam, production editor of New Canadian Media, a news website focused on immigrants, said she’s seen such change unfold in her own neighbourhood, which is part of the GTA’s Scarborough North riding.

Until 2011, the area, where more than 70 per cent of voters belong to visible minorities, was represented by a non-visible minority MP. This year all three major parties ran visible minority candidates. And it’s not just the parties who are trying to get more in tune with locals.

“I have definitely noticed an increase in people getting involved in politics, both young people and adults right up to seniors, and that’s across ethnicities,” said Ramanujam, who says that youth are far more engaged than when she was in high school in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

But Tolley said what happens next will dictate how much influence visible minorities have in practice. “To me, a commitment to diversity and equality goes beyond just putting people in the House of Commons. It means giving them a voice of power,” she said.

Visible minorities held token positions under the previous government, she said. “There were visible minorities sitting in cabinet, but those visible minorities had cabinet portfolios that were extremely limited.”

“The visible minorities that tend to get access to power are not the full range of people of colour that we see in Canada,” added Tolley, warning that advancements for minorities in general can distract from the plight of marginalized groups, such as Black Canadians, very of few of which have been elected to parliament.

The Oct. 19 election saw the three major parties field more visible minority candidates than in the past four federal elections, according to a study by Andrew Griffith, former director general for citizenship and multiculturalism at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The National Post used data from the study to tally the number of visible minority MPs.

In total, 143 of the 1014 candidates that ran for the Conservative, Liberal and NDP parties belong to a visible minorities with 68 of them running in 33 ridings where more than half of residents belonged to visible minorities.

Source: Canada federal election candidates include more visible minorities in 2015 than in the past four votes | National Post

Record number of visible minority MPs elected to Commons

A dramatic increase from the 2011 election. In addition to the overview, some good personal vignettes of newly elected visible minority MPs.


I am working on a more detailed analysis that should be ready in a day or so but the chart above provides the overall numbers by party:

Their family histories and beginnings tie them to countries plagued by conflict and upheaval, but in Canada they are making history: the first-ever MPs of Afghan, Somali and Iranian heritage.

Those firsts come on the back of a jump in visible-minority representation in the incoming 42nd Parliament – a measure of growing integration and participation among minority communities. At least 46 visible-minority MPs were elected on Monday, the vast majority of them being Liberal. That figure is 13.6 per cent of the total of 338 seats.

That is a record for visible-minority representation, according to data going back to 1993. Research by now-retired McGill University political scientist Jerome Black showed that the 2011 election was what he called the high watermark – when 28 visible-minority MPs were elected, representing 9.1 per cent of the total number. But 2015 has surpassed that total.

“Having visible minorities in Parliament, whether first- or second-generation, helps ensure their perspective is part of [the] discussion and debate,” said Andrew Griffith, a former federal Canadian civil servant who worked on issues of multiculturalism and citizenship.

“It also facilitates greater identification with Canadian political institutions among visible minorities as they can see themselves reflected in these same institutions,” he added.

Some experts argue that the visible minority representation in the incoming parliament still falls short of the 19 per cent that make up Canada’s total visible minority population.

Source: Record number of visible minority MPs elected to Commons – The Globe and Mail