Cabinet, Parliamentary Secretary and CPC critic comparison

Now that the parliamentary secretaries have been announced, I prepared this chart that compares representation of women, visible minorities and Indigenous peoples in cabinet, parliamentary secretary appointments and Conservative critic roles. Given the relatively small size of the Bloc and NDP caucuses, have not bothered to do the same as virtually every member of those two parties plays a critic role.

The Liberal commitment to a gender-balanced cabinet means that women are comparatively over-represented compared to their share of caucus. Conversely, and likely to balance caucus representation, women parliamentary secretaries are comparatively under-represented. The Conservatives, on the other hand, have compensated for their relative lack of women MPs by ensure that one-quarter have the higher profile critic roles.

For visible minorities, with the reference population adjusted to visible minorities who are citizens, the Liberals not only elected more visible minority MPs but have ensured that cabinet and parliamentary secretary representation is comparable to their caucus representation. The Conservatives have also chosen to highlight their visible minority MPs in their critic appointments.

For Indigenous peoples, the Liberals have slight under-representation in cabinet and parliamentary secretary appointments compared to the population and caucus.

FUREY: The rise of the organized Muslim vote in Canada

In many ways, the Muslim community is following the pattern by many ethnic groups.

Muslim Canadians were particularly mobilized in the 2015 election given their perception, not without merit, that the previous Conservative government was hostile to some Muslim groups and was using them for virtue signalling to their base (e.g., niqab ban at citizenship ceremonies, “barbaric practices tippling”) and their voting turnout, along with many recent immigrants, increased significantly compared to previous elections.

And all groups can claim to play a significant role (e.g., Italian Canadians, Corriere Canadese 23 September, Indigenous peoples, Assembly of First Nations sets sights on influencing election, among others):

A number of puzzled columnists and policy experts are currently trying to figure out why it was that Canada under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has broken with its tradition of voting down United Nations resolutions that denounce Israel and – as happened last week – joining the pile-on to condemn the only Jewish state in the world.

So far the working conclusion they’ve arrived at is that it was done because Trudeau covets a two-year seat at the Security Council and this is one way to win over votes at the notoriously anti-Israel body. That’s no doubt part of it.

There could be something else at play though: Maybe this is just what Canadian voters want. Or at least what one highly motivated and increasingly influential segment of the electorate wants.

In the months leading up to the election, a group called The Canadian Muslim-Vote (TCMV) was unapologetic in predicting the power the organized Muslim vote could yield over the 2019 federal election results.

“The Canadian Muslim community has the numbers to decide the winners and losers this election, which directly impacts the composition of the government we will have,” TCMV executive director Ali Manek wrote in a press release that went out on October 17 – just days before the election. “Muslim voters have turned out to the Advance Polls over Muslim Vote Weekend and we will be there on election day because we understand that we speak the loudest when we vote.”

TCMV also released the results of an online survey, finding that the top three issues selected by Muslim voters were immigration (64%), foreign policy (60%) and healthcare funding (58%).

The poll did not further break down what particular foreign affairs issue animated Muslims in Canada. However, the controversial Canadian Muslim Voting Guide – authored by Wilfrid Laurier University professor Jasmine Zine with support from a federal grant – had sections on foreign policy that pushed Muslim voters to judge the issue solely through the lens of boycotting Israel while supporting Muslim majority countries in North Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.

What do you think the answer would have been if TCMV had polled to ask which way Canada should vote on UN resolutions concerning Israel?

Now it would be entirely unfair to say that all Muslims in Canada are de facto anti-Israel. For example, the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee regularly has Muslim allies helping to organize and boost their events. And there were Muslim activists and candidates happy to campaign alongside the Conservative Party of Canada, which is proud of its pro-Israel stance.

But let’s not kid ourselves either. Whether it’s the recurring news stories of imams preaching anti-Semitism or events like the recent anti-Israel violence that erupted on York University campus last week, there’s a running theme going on that’s pretty easy to figure out.

While the Muslim community has always been targeted as a special interest voting bloc – what my colleague Tarek Fatah laments as the ghettoization of politics – this was in the past an ad hoc operation. It was a community affair that happened riding-by-riding and was more about political strategists organizing them than Muslim groups organizing themselves.

That’s clearly changing – whether through Manek’s national project or smaller scale efforts, like attempts to register an Islamic Party of Ontario with Elections Ontario. (The latter seems to have fallen apart, although when I spoke with Jawed Anwar, its leader, earlier this year he said he was quite serious and committed.)

In fact, the TCMV even went so far as to produce a list of 73 closely fought ridings where they predicted that Canada’s estimated 765,000 registered Muslim voters could decide the winner. They wrote that mosques in 17 of those ridings had already participated in get-out-the-vote initiatives and bragged that “in the recently concluded Alberta provincial election mosques used Friday sermons to encourage Muslims to vote.”

My colleague Farzana Hassan predicted these possibilities back in September, before TCMV released their targeted ridings list. “It will be interesting to see how the election unfolds from a Muslim perspective,” she wrote. “With support for Trudeau and Scheer neck and neck, the Muslim vote may determine how the result goes in swing ridings.”

There is no serious exit polling conducted in Canada, so for all we know the Muslim vote did determine the outcome in multiple ridings and Manek’s project was a success.

Over a decade ago I watched as Muslim women were literally bused in to a Liberal nomination meeting and then instructed on how to vote by the neighbourhood imam. Operations like TCMV – a self-described non-partisan operation – are basically an attempt to do this on a national scale. (As an aside, it should be noted that Ali Manek has previously sought Liberal nominations on both the provincial and federal level.)

Demography is destiny, as the saying goes. Yet people are sheepish about discussing this issue. It’s considered politically incorrect to even acknowledge that the Muslim population – and therefore the Muslim vote – is increasing in Canada faster than other groups. No wonder. The whole thing that spurred the human rights tribunal battles involving Mark Steyn over a decade ago was an essay that appeared in Maclean’s breaking down the population numbers game and what it means for the future.

You can talk about this or you can ignore it. You can see it as a positive, negative or neutral phenomenon. But whatever your take, there’s no denying that the Muslim vote in Canada is growing and so is its influence.

Source: FUREY: The rise of the organized Muslim vote in Canada

House of Commons becoming more reflective of diverse population

My latest in Policy Options:

How well does Canada integrate immigrants and visible minorities into political life? While the barriers to entering political life are significant, as the Samara Centre for Democracy study on nomination processes has shown, the recent election is cause for hope.

This article is based on an analysis of the 2019 election I undertook, using a dataset developed together with the Hill Times, Samara, and McGill University political scientist Jerome Black. We drew on a mix of official party biographies, media articles, social media, and name and photo analysis (we did not include Indigenous candidates and MPs). We also compared the 2019 results with those for the 2015 election and with visible minority representation in other countries’ legislatures. Our results show that in 2019 in Canada the visible minority composition of MPs elected is reasonably representative of the immigrant and visible minority populations in the country as a whole.

….

Source: House of Commons becoming more reflective of diverse population

Ethnic media election coverage 29 October to November 3

Latest weekly analysis of ethnic media coverage. For the analytical narrative, go to Ethnic media election coverage 29 October to 3 November:

 

This is the last of the weekly analyses. The complete set can be found at: Ethnic Media Coverage.

I will be working on a summary report over the next few weeks regarding the close to 2,500 articles monitored 20 July to 3 November, building upon my pre-writ analysis in Policy Options, How does ethnic media campaign coverage differ?.

Parties must work between elections to improve diversity, say MPs, candidates

Some of the results of our recent analysis:
The 43rd Parliament will include 51 visible minority MPs, up from 47 after the 2015 election, while the number of Indigenous MPs will remain the same, at 10 out of 338, despite a record number running.

Parties have moved in the right direction when it comes to recruiting and selecting diverse political candidates, but more has to be done between elections to make federal politics accessible, say recent candidates and newly elected MPs.

“It’s not going to cut it,” if parties only focus on bringing in politicians that better reflect Canada’s makeup during pre-election candidate searches, said Liberal MP-elect Han Dong for Don Valley North, Ont.

“Between elections, all parties have to make a deliberate effort to reach out to communities to get them involved in policy discussions,” as a starting point, said Mr. Dong, a former Ontario MPP. “It is so important to generate that interest, to give a sense of involvement in decision-making. That’s how you’re going to get more people step forward and going for public office.”

For Andrea Clarke, who ran unsuccessfully as the NDP’s candidate in Outremont, Que., this year, the question of class and income disparity also makes running for Parliament less accessible to some, often racialized, Canadians.

How to make sure electoral politics are accessible and representative of the population isn’t something that should be discussed for just a few months each campaign season, she said.

“It’s something we need to intentionally build into how we hold our elections, and unfortunately folks who are the farthest have to fight the hardest to make the case that this is what we should be doing,” she said, adding that a lack of representative politics means losing out on having “different voices at the table, advocating for their communities, and their lived experience.”

Source: Andrew Griffith, from dataset created by The Hill Times, The Samara Centre for Democracy, and research partners.

The next Parliament will see a slight increase in visible minority representation in the House, with 51 MPs compared to 47 in 2017. The 43rd Parliament has 26 South Asian MPs, eight Chinese, five Black, six Arab, three West Asian, two Latin American, and one Korean, according to data pulled by researcher Andrew Griffith, based on a candidate database he created with The Hill Times, The Samara Centre for Democracy, and researcher Jerome Black, drawing from candidate biographies, media articles, social media, and photo analysis. The data may be missing some MPs, as it’s gleaned from publicly available information, and largely based on self-reported details.

Improving representation means striking a balance between “having candidates that run that reflect the composition nationally and yet making sure nominations are grassroots,” said Conservative MP-elect Marc Dalton, who is Métis and among the 10 MPs who identify as Indigenous in this Parliament.

Though a record number of 65 Indigenous candidates ran this election, the number who made it into the House didn’t budge from the 10 elected in 2015.

That amounts to three per cent of MPs, while 4.9 per cent of Canada’s population identified as Indigenous in the 2016 census. The party make-up has slightly changed, with six MPs in the Liberal caucus, two new MPs for the NDP, one Conservative, and Liberal turned Independent Jody Wilson-Raybould (Vancouver Granville, B.C.) remaining in the House.

The number of visible minority MPs is out also of line with the Canadian population, according to the 2016 census, which puts the visible minority population at 22.9 per cent—compared to 15 per cent of MPs in the 43rd Parliament. The Liberals lead with 38 MPs, followed by 10 in the Conservative Party, and three with the NDP. None of the Green Party’s three MPs or the Bloc Québécois’ 32 MPs are visible minorities.

If that’s the benchmark, Canada has “a serious underrepresentation problem,” said Mr. Griffith, a researcher at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, who uses a narrower comparison, looking instead at the level of Canadian citizens, rather than residents, who are visible minorities—17.2 per cent.

In that respect, he said parties are doing “reasonably well” especially compared to other political systems.

There were also small gains in the number of visible minority candidates who ran overall this election, from 12.9 per cent of candidates running for the main parties in 2015, to 15.7 per cent, including the new People’s Party of Canada, which had more visible minority candidates than the Green Party.

As with women, Samara researcher Paul Thomas said there’s a similar problem with visible minorities being less likely to run in seats where parties have a strong chance of winning. Gains in diversity are more likely made through seats that open up each election when incumbents leave, said Mr. Thomas, but his analysis found that the most competitive seats weren’t as open to diverse candidates.

This was especially true for the Conservative Party, which ran three visible minority candidates out of 42 competitive ridings—those with no incumbent running for re-election, or which were lost by a margin of five per cent or less in 2015.

Mr. Thomas also noted the Bloc’s “very poor performance” on this front. Despite its caucus tripling in size, only four of its 78 candidates were visible minorities, none of whom were ultimately elected.

When breaking down the results by ethnic background, a better picture emerges, noted Mr. Griffith, one that shows clear gaps in federal representation by community. For example, Filipino-Canadians are the fourth-largest visible minority group, but parties fielded only four candidates with that background overall, and none were elected. At 1.5 per cent of the House, Black representation is also low, he said, with five elected of the 49 candidates nominated across the major parties, despite making up 3.5 per cent of Canada’s population.

Mr. Dong is one among a record eight Chinese-Canadians elected to Parliament this year, but he noted it’s still half what it should be to reflect the Chinese-Canadian population, which makes up 4.6 per cent of the country.

“I think all parties, when it comes to candidate searches, are stepping towards the right direction,” said Mr. Dong. “In the beginning, it’s always hard, but when you start generating interest” and bringing candidate numbers into the double digits, as was the case with his community this election, he said it means there’s less of a mystery to political candidacy, and that more will come. Based on Mr. Griffith’s assessment, there were 38 Chinese-Canadian candidates in the running this past election.

They’re immigrants to Canada. So why are they supporting far-right parties that want to reduce immigration?

About 15 percent of the PPC candidates were visible minority:

Kulbir Singh Chawla really doesn’t like when he’s connected with a customer service representative with a foreign accent.

This, despite having a accent himself.

“Here in Canada, I would say don’t even employ Kulbir,” Chawla said of customer service jobs.

“Because I still don’t have that Canadian way of (speaking) fully.”

The most recent federal election saw a small but distinct cadre of people of colour and immigrants such as Chawla supporting and in some cases even running for far-right populist parties such as the People’s Party of Canada, the National Citizens Alliance and the Canadian Nationalist Party.

All of these parties wanted to reduce immigration and scrap Canada’s official multiculturalism policy.

Despite being an immigrant himself, Chawla says he supports these policies.

Chawla, an industrial engineer, came to Canada from India with his wife and daughter in 1999. He currently lives in Nova Scotia and calls himself a Canadian nationalist. When he first moved here, he considered himself left-leaning, but over the past two decades, he’s experienced what he calls a political awakening.

It led to him attending yellow vest rallies at the movement’s peak, where he would wear a matching yellow turban. And people would call him racist.

“The left media would say this is a racist movement. And there I am with my turban. And it just breaks their narrative,” he said.

He was first drawn toward the Conservatives, then toward far-right, fringe parties such as the National Citizens Alliance, which in addition to advocating for lower taxes and the abolishment of the Bank of Canada Act, wants to reduce immigration levels to about 50,000 a year. Chawla previously ran for the National Advancement Party of Canada, the NCA’s predecessor, in Calgary Midnapore in a 2017 byelection.

He says some reasons his political stance shifted are political correctness and liberal “indoctrination” about issues such as white supremacy and racial profiling (the former he says doesn’t exist, the latter he believes is valid in some cases).

“It started with the yellow vest movement … It’s come up as a big, I will say wake-up movement for Canada and Canadians. It brought them together as well. So there’s a great deal of populism and nationalism going on,” Chawla said.

He compares nationalism to working for a corporation; the ultimate goal should be the betterment of the company, rather than advancing one’s own personal fortune. The same goes for living in a confederation.

It’s where his deep distaste for call centres that employ people with accents stems from. He said he believes it hurts Canada both economically and in terms of its national identity.

In particular, he is opposed to customer service being outsourced to other countries, for economic reasons — it takes jobs out of Canada and hurts the country’s GDP. It inspired him to create a Change.org petition urging the government and corporations to “Create call centres in Canada!”

But he acknowledges there’s an important cultural component as well.

“When I come here, if I found my own type of people speaking on the call … then it’s no different from being in India,” he said.

“We immigrants came to Canada for a whole different outlook on life. And we find it’s all changing, back to the same old Punjabi style.”

For parties such as the People’s Party of Canada that were accused of harbouring racist candidates and policies, there’s an obvious benefit to having candidates and supporters of colour, says Akaash Maharaj, a former senior resident at Massey College and CEO of the Mosaic Institute, an organization that helps bring together immigrants who have come to Canada from countries affected by conflict.

“There has been an effort by extreme right parties to try and play a game of blackface and brownface to inoculate themselves against accusations of racism by demonstrating that they have at least one or more members of their parties or candidates who are not white,” Maharaj said.

But the allure of anti-immigration policies for immigrants themselves is more complex.

“On the face of it, it looks absurd and I think it is absurd … I wouldn’t say it’s widespread,” Maharaj said. “But it’s more common than one might expect.”

“It’s the old pull-up-the-ladder syndrome,” he added. “Now that they have made it in, they want to protect themselves from people exactly like themselves that harbour the same ambitions. They are afraid more people benefiting from Canada means that their share of the pie will somehow diminish.”

This phenomenon is even more common among recent immigrants when compared to first-generation Canadians or the descendants of immigrants, Maharaj noted.

Peter Loewen, a populism expert at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, said when immigrants move to Canada, integrate into mainstream society and accept the status quo, there’s a quick transition to viewing themselves as Canadian — and therefore, different from the rest of the people coming here.

He points to the 2015 federal election, where the support for a niqab ban was higher among immigrants than native-born Canadians.

“That’s largely underwritten by a sense that immigration is tough and once you’ve gone through it, you expect people to go through it without any more accommodations than you’ve had,” he explained.

Populism sells well to immigrant communities because at its heart, it’s about a deep disaffection with the political class who are seen as unsympathetic or even antagonistic toward everyday people. Immigrants can often come from countries with political corruption.

But populism comes in different forms, says Drew Fagan, professor of public policy at Munk School and a former deputy minister in the Ontario government.

“The new strain of right-wing populism increasingly pits itself against subsets of the population like immigrants and minorities. Whereas left-wing populism pits itself against what is viewed as an unfair system,” he said. “It’s about structure as opposed to people.”

And what is emerging around the world, and in Canada, is far-right populism, Fagan added. Its members are largely religious, have reservations about diversity, and are disdainful of institutions or perceived elites.

From there, populism can devolve into nativism, a policy of promoting the interests of native inhabitants of a country against those of immigrants.

Source: They’re immigrants to Canada. So why are they supporting far-right parties that want to reduce immigration?

Ethnic media election coverage 21-28 October

Latest weekly analysis of ethnic media coverage. For the analytical narrative, go to Ethnic media election coverage 21-28 October:

Nearly 100 new MPs offer new face of Parliament, including 60 in flipped seats

More on MP diversity:
In many ways the incoming Parliament looks quite similar to its predecessor, with 240 returning MPs, the same number of MPs who are Indigenous or a visible minority, and 10 more women.
A third of the 60 MPs representing ridings that flipped were won with less than five per cent of the vote.

Eight former MPs, seven lawyers, five farmers, two Olympic athletes, a financial adviser, a musician, and an actor are all among the 98 new MPs headed to the Hill this fall.

Two-thirds of that group helped change the face of the new Parliament, flipping the ridings in their party’s favour during the Oct. 21 election that propelled Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) back to Ottawa with a minority government made up of 133 incumbents, like him, holding the Liberals’ 157 seats.

Many of the ridings that flipped were hard-fought battles, with a third won by margins of five percentage points or less of the vote, and Quebec and the Bloc Québécois figuring prominently in that group. Among those who lost their seats are a cabinet minister, the Conservatives’ deputy leader, and the NDP’s Orange Wave legacy in Quebec.

Conservative candidates switched the most seats across the country, at 27, stealing mainly from the Liberals in the Western provinces and often winning by the widest margins. Former MPs John Williamson (New Brunswick Southwest, N.B.) and Rob Moore (Fundy Royal, N.B.) were among those who took their ridings back in decisive victories, more than 20 points ahead of their closest competitors.

Some Bloc Québécois candidates also scored convincing wins to not only return their party to official status in the House, but also rocket past the NDP to a third-place finish. The traditionally sovereigntist party brought the next biggest bloc of flipped seats at 22, mostly to the NDP’s detriment, taking 10 of the 14 seats the NDP lost in the province.

One-third of the Bloc’s caucus of 32 are women—a proportion the House is close to achieving this year.

Election after election, women are eking out greater representation at the federal level. The 43rd Parliament will include 98 women MPs, up from the 88 in 2015, but three shy of the 30 per cent mark championed by Equal Voice and others as a threshold for adequate representation. That bumped Canada’s international standing by four from 61 to 57 for women’s representation in political office.

Sixty-six women are returning MPs, 10 are new but helped their parties hold existing ridings, while 22 are among the 60 ridings that flipped.

The number of Indigenous and visible minority MPs elected Oct. 21 did not change the totals elected in 2015.

Four new Indigenous MPs were elected—three in ridings that switched parties, including Conservative MP-elect Marc Dalton (Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, B.C.), and NDP MPs-elect Leah Gazan (Winnipeg Centre, Man.) and Mumilaaq Qaqqaq (Nunavut)—but their number remains static in the House. As in 2015, 10 Indigenous MPs were elected to the House, though this year representing different parties, including six Liberals, one Conservative, two NDP, and one Independent.

The number of MPs who are visible minorities also remained static at 47, according to a preliminary analysis. The Liberals have four fewer MPs who have been identified as visible minorities, with 35, followed by nine Conservatives, and three NDP MPs.[Note: Expect that the large number of Bloc MPs impeded an increase as other parties are more diverse than the Bloc, which all appear to be “pure Laine”]

All numbers are pulled from candidate demographic profiles built by The Samara Centre for Democracy and The Hill Times, in partnership with researchers Jerome Black and Andrew Griffith, based on biographies and other online sources.

Tories lead flipped seats

The Conservatives led in flipped seats and also among former MPs trying to make it back to Parliament.

Political experience was a common thread among the successful new candidates—nearly half of the 98 new MPs cited past work as political staffers or representatives, with at least 10 sitting in provincial or territorial legislatures, and at least 14 on city council.

Of the 30 former MPs who appeared on ballots in the general election, five of the successful eight were Tories, including Mr. Williamson and Mr. Moore, Kerry-Lynne Findlay (South Surrey–White Rock, B.C.), Kyle Seeback (Dufferin-Caledon, Ont.), and Tim Uppal, who took back Edmonton Mill Woods, Alta., from Liberal cabinet minister Amarjeet Sohi.

Eight of the party’s 27 new seats came from B.C., followed by four apiece for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.

Bloc victorious over NDP, Grits

Several of the new Bloc MPs come to Parliament with backgrounds in education.

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet led his party’s reversal of fortunes, helping stamp out the last seats that remained from the NDP’s Orange Wave in 2011. Over two elections, the New Democrat’s 59 seats has dwindled to one, held by the popular Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, Que.).

Mr. Blanchet beat two-term NDP MP Matthew Dubé in Beloeil-Chambly as one of 10 NDP seats it flipped.

Also among the Bloc’s new cohort is Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, the son of former Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe, who took Lac-Saint-Jean, Que., from Liberal MP Richard Hébert. It was among the nine seats the party took from the Grits.

The Liberals, meanwhile, carved a further three of its four seats from the NDP in Quebec, where many of the ridings that flipped were close races.

The NDP took three ridings back from the Liberals, including St. John’s East, N.L., after a successful bid from two-term former MP Jack Harris, who was defeated in 2015.

Human rights activist and educator Ms. Gazan beat one-term MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette by eight per cent to take Winnipeg Centre, Man., while 25-year-old Ms. Qaqqaq is representing Nunavut as one of this Parliament’s youngest MPs, and the first NDP MP to represent the region since it became a territory.

Of the seven seats the Liberals managed to flip (while losing four times that amount), Olympic medallist Adam van Koeverden’s victory in Milton, Ont., over deputy party leader Lisa Raitt was by far the biggest of the night.

And Fredericton’s new Green Party MP Jenica Atwin made history at the Liberals’ expense, when she took the seat from one-term MP Matt DeCourcey and gave the Greens its first federal seat outside of B.C.

Source: Nearly 100 new MPs offer new face of Parliament, including 60 in flipped seats

Nothing but a ‘vanity project’: People’s Party of Canada is likely dead, experts say

Hard not to agree. And it did not seem to have any effect of pulling the Conservatives further to the right:

In the lead-up to this week’s federal election, media outlets around the world wondered whether right-wing fringe candidate Maxime Bernier and his People’s Party represented an expansion of the populist, nationalist and anti-establishment sentiment sweeping the United States and Europe.

“A ‘Mad Max’ candidate offers a far-right jolt to the Canadian election,” read a headline in the New York Times. “Can populism become popular in Canada?” asked the BBC.

Judging from Monday night’s results, the answer appears to be a resounding no. The dismal outcome — the People’s Party clinched zero seats and less than 2 per cent of the popular vote — did not come as a surprise to political watchers, who said Tuesday our first-past-the-post system “inoculates” us from fringe parties. Plus, they said, Bernier’s brand of populism was just too extreme, particularly when it came to his views on immigration.

While Bernier, who lost in his own riding of Beauce, Que., insisted in a concession speech that the movement was “only getting started,” experts said the People’s Party likely would not survive.

“The PPC is rather easily seen now as a vanity project of Bernier’s, and as a very ineffectual attempt to come up with a latter-day Reform Party challenge to more moderate conservatism,” said David Laycock, a political science professor at Simon Fraser University.

Bernier, who held the Beauce riding since 2006, had served under the Conservative banner until last year when he narrowly lost the leadership contest to Andrew Scheer and then formed his own party. On Monday night, he garnered 28 per cent of the vote and placed second to Conservative Richard Lehoux.

Some of the party’s other higher-profile candidates, such as Renata Ford, widow of the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford, and Lee Harding, former Saskatchewan director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, barely made a dent — coming in fourth in their respective ridings of Etobicoke North and Cypress Hills-Grasslands and capturing only 2.8 per cent of the vote.

Bernier blamed “nasty and shameless attacks” from opponents for the PPC’s poor showing. (Late last week, The Globe and Mail reported that strategist Warren Kinsella and his firm Daisy Group had been hired by the Conservatives to “seek and destroy” Bernier’s party and portray its supporters as racist. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer refused to confirm or deny the allegation. Bernier filed a complaint with Elections Canada over the affair).

But experts suggested it was the party’s policies that did them in. While certain aspects of the PPC platform — support for libertarian principles, small government and a repeal of the carbon tax — dovetailed with the Conservatives, the party’s stances on immigration were controversial.

Bernier vowed to repeal the Multiculturalism Act and severely curtail immigration levels. Stealing from Donald Trump’s playbook, he even suggested building a fence along parts of the Canada-U.S. border to thwart irregular migration. Critics accused the party of providing a home to people peddling hate.

“Canadian voters don’t and won’t soon support the kind of overt racism that Bernier courted,” Laycock said. “Comparative public opinion data on immigration and multiculturalism show that while Canada isn’t the multicultural utopia that some commentators contend, Canadians don’t feel comfortable with explicit attacks on minority groups, and value ethnic diversity far more than most Europeans do.”

If Bernier had discussed multiculturalism in a more nuanced way with specific policy proposals, his messaging may have resonated more, said Tamara Small, a political science professor at the University of Guelph.

“The idea of multiculturalism is very important to people — definitely in English Canada,” she said.

Bernier had initially not been invited to take part in televised leaders’ debates, but that decision was reversed by former governor general David Johnston, head of the Leaders’ Debate Commission, who cited the party’s  “organizational capacity,” legitimate chance of electing more than one candidate and the media attention the party had received.

But Laycock and Small said the party received more news coverage than it deserved.

“I can’t think of a party in recent history that has polled at less than 3 per cent that got the amount of attention that he got, frankly,” Small said.

But if the media had ignored the PPC during the campaign, they would have been accused of not giving attention to the broad spectrum of political parties, said Bessma Momani, a political science professor at the University of Waterloo.

“Frankly, populists would have used the absence of coverage … as a way to suggest that the media is overtaken by liberal interests.”

Asked what message the defeat of the PPC now sends to the Conservative Party as it rebuilds after failing to topple the Liberals, Small said there is nothing to be gained by pushing further to the right.

“There’s no more people there. There’s none,” she said.

“If there’s going to be a leadership race, a Kellie Leitch type of candidate probably doesn’t dominate,” Small added, referring to the one-time Conservative leadership hopeful who had controversially proposed screening immigrants for “Canadian values” and setting up an RCMP tip line so people could report “barbaric cultural practices.”

However, there is a chance, Momani said, that backers of right-wing populism may still want to work with the Conservative Party, in the same way the Tea Party movement in the U.S. worked with the Republican Party to elect Donald Trump.

The People’s Party itself though is “probably” dead, Laycock said. Bernier’s poor showing in Quebec indicates there isn’t a regional base for his conservative alternative.

Furthermore, “it is very hard to attract media attention without any MPs, especially when your leader can’t win his own seat.”

Source: Nothing but a ‘vanity project’: People’s Party of Canada is likely dead, experts say

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