Canadian immigrants turn to MPs for help with official documents, but to no avail

Of note (MPs spend a lot of time on immigration and passport issues):

Canadian immigrants say they’ve been reaching out to their federal members of parliament (MPs) for help with their long-delayed immigration files.

For some, it’s been years since they first opened their files with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

“MPs used to be the higher level to try and get additional information and even MPs aren’t getting responses,” noted immigration lawyer Tamara Mosher-Kuczer.

Lately, IRCC has been blaming COVID-19 for serious delays — even though some immigrants say they applied for their visas, permanent residences and citizenship before the pandemic hit.

“We can still help them as we did before, but the answers from the department continue to reflect delays in the process due to COVID-19,” explained Anthony Housefather, MP for Mount Royal. “So, the service remains unchanged, but the processing times for almost all applications are slower.”

Mississauga – Erin Mills MP Iqra Khalid noted the federal government has proposed investing $85 million to “boost IRCC’s capacity and reduce processing times in these key areas affected by the pandemic.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the challenges that Canadian residents face, and IRCC is no exception,” said Khalid, who adds her office alone is tracking hundreds of active immigration cases with the department.

Federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser did not respond to CTV News’ request for comment.

Source: Canadian immigrants turn to MPs for help with official documents, but to no avail

New Parliament has some fresh, diverse faces, but is it enough?

Some good commentary by Erin Tolley. Agree with her that it would be preferable for the Library of Parliament to collect and maintain this data, as they do for women, Indigenous and those born outside Canada:

The number of visible minority MPs and of other historically marginalized communities in Canada’s 44th Parliament, which resumes Monday, Nov. 22, has notably increased, but some analysts question the depth of the changes. 

The number of Indigenous MPs went from 10 in 2019 to 12. There will be a total of eight Black MPs, including the five incumbent from the 2019 Parliament and three new additions.

Based on the validated and judicial recount results posted on Elections Canada website, the Liberals have 160 seats (up by three from 2019), the Conservatives 119 (down two), the NDP 25 (up one), the Bloc Québécois an unchanged 32, and the Greens two.  

Despite seemingly little change on the surface, the election yielded a relatively high turnover — bringing a total of 52 new MPs from all parties who will take their seats in the House of Commons for the first time. 

Critical twists

In at least six ridings where visible minorities were either incumbents or contenders, there were critical twists and turnarounds. 

Liberal Parm Bians unseated the Conservative Kenny Chiu in the riding of Richmond East. Paul Chiang unseated the Conservative Bob Saroya in Markham-Unionville. George Chahal defeated Jagdeep Kaur Sahota in Calgary Skyview, thus swaying an important seat for Liberals in the province of Alberta. Conservative Nelly Shin lost to the NDP candidate in Port Moody-Coquitlam, and the Conservative Michelle Ferreri defeated Maryam Monsef in Peterborough. 

The sixth important riding where visible minorities lost out to a third candidate was Kitchener-Centre, where the dropping out of the race of Raj Saini led to an easier win for the Green party candidate Mike Morris.      

Election 44 reflected the greatest diverse pool of candidates in any election thus far, and as a result, the new Parliament will have greater representation for many historically neglected communities. 

The new Parliament will have 103 female MPs, three more than the previous one, and women MPs in total now make up 30.5 per cent of the House of Commons, a slight increase from 29 per cent. 

For comparison, in 2015, there were 88 women MPs. The Liberal Party has increased its number of female MPs since then from 52 to 57. The NDPs have gone from nine to 11. For the Conservatives, the number of women remained steady at 22, as did the number for the Bloc Québécois at 12 and for the Greens at one. The 44th Parliament likewise marks an increase in LGBTQ2S+ MPs, with eight openly LGBTQ2S+ MPs elected, double the number from 2019.  

In the runup to the September election, a team of Carleton University researchers led by Erin Tolley, Canada research chair in gender, race and inclusive politics, launched a project to track candidate’s diversity. 

The dataset collected includes information about their gender, race, Indigenous background, age, occupation, and prior electoral experience, as well as riding, party, and province. 

Slow and incremental

But while there is visibly increased diversity, Tolley says the progress has been slow and incremental.  

“The snap election and short campaign likely had some impact on who ran for office this time around,” she told New Canadian Media. 

“We know that it takes longer to find and convince women, racialized and Indigenous candidates to run, not because they don’t want to but because politics historically has been inhospitable to them.”

Without being proactive, she says, another election might come sooner than we think. 

“If parties are serious about diversifying politics, they should already be laying out the groundwork, identifying promising candidates, encouraging them to run, and giving them the support they need to do so,” she says. 

Tolley also points out that, based on the observation of successive election cycles, racialized and Indigenous candidates remain somewhat pigeon-holed in a select number of ridings, mostly those with large racialized or Indigenous populations. This, according to her, creates a ceiling in terms of how many can be elected to Parliament. 

“We know that racialized and Indigenous candidates can win in a number of ridings, regardless of the riding’s demographic composition. Parties should think more broadly about the contexts in which they recruit diverse candidates so as not to limit their opportunities,” Tolley suggests. 

Reflecting on the makeup of the new Parliament, Andrew Griffith, a media commentator, policy analyst and the fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, likewise sees it as a “slow and steady progress,” both in terms of the number of visible minority candidates and elected MPs.  

He also considers that growing diversity is reflected in the new Cabinet that was announced on Oct. 26, and expects this to extend into Parliamentary secretaries. 

Not enough data 

Of the 338 candidates during the election, Liberals had 147 women running for office, 25 Indigenous,18 Black and another 50 visible minority candidates and 17 who identify as LGBTQ2S+.  

The Conservatives, out of 338 candidates in total, had 114 female candidates, their largest number so far. Of those, eight were Indigenous and Metis candidates. The Conservatives also had four LGBTQ2S+ candidates in this election. 

There were also 14 Black and 60 visible minority candidates, bringing the total of the non-white candidates to 74. The NDP had 177 women, 29 of them Indigenous. It had 104 visible minority candidates and 69 LGBTQ2S+ candidates. The Bloc Québécois had a total of 78 candidates, including 37 women, and 13 visible minority candidates, which albeit small, in comparison to others, was the most in the Party’s history. 

Based on the final tally of the candidates, the Liberals once again have the highest number and percentage of MPs, with 43 elected to serve. The Conservatives have six visible minority MPs. The NDP has three. One visible minority MP, a former Liberal candidate, won as an independent. 

Such figures, however, are not readily available as neither the Parliamentary Library nor the political parties put them out. 

Tolley is especially critical of the lack of institutionalized collection of demographic data on candidates or the racial backgrounds of MPs.  

“The Library of Parliament does publish information on women and Indigenous MPs, but nothing related to race. This leaves journalists and researchers without reliable and systematic data on diversity in parliament. That makes it difficult to track progress or hold parties accountable”, she says. 

The first item of business when Parliament resumes will be the election of the Speaker.

Source: https://newcanadianmedia.ca/new-parliament-has-some-fresh-diverse-faces-but-is-it-enough/

Unvaccinated Conservative MPs should ‘stay home’ from Parliament: Bloc leader

Valid given vaccine mandates elsewhere even if this will only affect Conservative MPs:

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said Wednesday the next session of Parliament should happen in person with any members who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 staying home.

Questions remain about what the return to Parliament will look like for Canada’s 338 elected representatives after the recent federal election saw the Liberals re-elected with a minority government.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will name his cabinet next month and Parliament will resume sometime in the fall.

Since the pandemic hit in March 2020, the House of Commons and committees had been functioning with some MPs working from Ottawa, but many others appearing virtually, including, later on, to vote, before the election was called.

Blanchet said he wants to see Parliament resume quickly with MPs having to be fully vaccinated in order to be there in person because now vaccines against the novel coronavirus are more widely available.

His party, along with the New Democrats and Liberals, made it a rule that candidates had to be fully vaccinated in order to hit the doorsteps, but the Conservatives did not.

“They get fully vaccinated or they stay home,” Blanchet said of Conservative MPs who might not have had their shots.

“Parliament should not come back under any kind of hybrid formation … now we know that we can go on with the way this building is supposed to work, and we should not refrain from doing so because a few persons don’t believe that the vaccine works. This belongs to another century.”

NDP MP Peter Julian said in a statement that because Canada is battling a fourth wave of the virus, the party wants to talk to others about continuing some of the hybrid practices when Parliament resumes.

“All of our NDP MPs are vaccinated and we’ve been very clear that federal government employees must be vaccinated too. Getting vaccinated is the right thing to do and elected leaders have a responsibility to set a good example by following public health advice,” Julian said.

The Liberals and Conservatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

The Conservatives saw 119 MPs, including incumbents and new candidates, elected on Sept. 20, after the party spent the race dogged by questions about its opposition to making vaccines mandatory as a tool to defeat COVID-19.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole refused to say on the campaign trail whether he knew how many of those running for the Tories had been fully vaccinated, saying he told campaign teams that those who are not immunized against COVID-19 should take daily rapid tests.

O’Toole is himself vaccinated and has been encouraging others to get their shot, but the Conservative leader says he also respects the personal health choices of Canadians and attacked Trudeau for using the issue to sow division in the country.

Conservative MPs will make their way to Ottawa next week to have their first caucus meeting since the election, where they will have to decide whether they want to review O’Toole’s leadership.

The call for MPs to be vaccinated comes as Trudeau works on bringing in a mandate requiring the federal civil service, along with those working in its federally regulated industries, to be fully vaccinated.

His government has promised to make it a rule by the end of October that travellers flying or taking a train in Canada have to be immunized in order to board.

Many provinces have already introduced a vaccine passport system requiring consumers to provide proof of immunization to access non-essential businesses like restaurants and sports and entertainment venues.

“For the safety of House of Commons staff, translators, pages, security, other MPs and their staff, all parliamentarians should show proof that they are fully vaccinated in order to take their seats in the House,” tweeted former Liberal cabinet minister Catherine McKenna, who didn’t seek re-election, but served for six years in government.

As of Friday, Health Canada reported that around 79 per cent of people 12 and older as having being fully vaccinated, with about 85 per cent receiving at least one dose.

Source: Unvaccinated Conservative MPs should ‘stay home’ from Parliament: Bloc leader

Calls by Operation Black Vote Canada for increased representation in elections are going unanswered by party leaders

Never understand why these kinds of advocacy and calls do not include any data, even though this is fairly easy to obtain given work by a number of researchers.

2019 numbers to provide the most recent baseline: 50 Black candidates, 6 Black MPs. A partial explanation lies in the relative dispersion of Black Canadians in contrast to other groups (e.g., Canadian Sikhs, Chinese Canadians) that are more concentrated.

There are 21 ridings with 10 percent or more Black Canadians (2016 data) – https://multiculturalmeanderings.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/vm-ridings-black-10-percent.pdf:

Earlier this year, Parliament unanimously voted to designate Aug. 1 as Emancipation Day across Canada, commemorating the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.

While we have made progress in the almost 200 years since the first Emancipation Day, we still have a lot to do to eradicate the systemic racism that remains deeply embedded in our institutions. To do so, we must ensure that we have diversity and inclusion at decision-making tables at every level of government.

As part of its advocacy efforts, Operation Black Vote Canada (OBVC) engaged the leaders of the major political parties with elections occurring over the next 12-18 months to call for the implementation of strategies to increase the meaningful participation of Black candidates in upcoming races.

Leaders are responsible for setting the tone, priorities and direction of the campaigns their parties will run. With this authority comes both the opportunity and the responsibility of ensuring that the slates they present to voters reflect the makeup of Canada. To this end, we have asked party leaders to commit to three things:

  • Working with local electoral district associations to help nominate Black candidates in ridings with past records of success, or “winnable” ridings.
  • Ensuring that Black nomination candidates have equal access to lists, information and data to further their campaigns.
  • Ensuring that nominated Black candidates receive equally full support of their party structure throughout the election cycle, including fundraising support, leader engagement and access to all relevant data.

While we received responses from every party leader in Nova Scotia, we are still awaiting replies from the Ontario PC party, and all of the party leaders in Quebec. Despite our efforts, the only federal party to respond to date is the Green party.

Over the past year, we have heard from corporate and political party leaders that they are committed to increasing diversity in all workplaces.

The path to building a diverse caucus is paved with a diverse slate of candidates. As part of our commitment to advocate for the election of Black Canadians of all political affiliations across Canada, OBVC will continue to hold leaders and political parties to account for the lack of representation of Black Canadians at all levels of government. Black representation matters to us, and to Canada. It should matter to political party leaders as well — we know that a broader pool of lived experiences helps inform and develop public policy that reflects the needs of Canadians.

Black communities must demand that our interests and or voices are adequately represented at all decision-making tables. In the current and upcoming elections, we are asking all voters to choose wisely, looking at all the platforms and the track record of each party — including who they choose to nominate.

Ultimately, it’s up to us all to vote for a party that reflects the best interests of you, your family and your community.

Velma Morgan is the chair of Operation Black Vote Canada. She is an advocate for gender and cultural diversity in politics.

Source: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/08/20/calls-by-operation-black-vote-canada-for-increased-representation-in-elections-are-going-unanswered-by-party-leaders.html

‘Enough is enough’: new group aims to open path for Filipino-Canadian candidates in next federal election

Of note. Nine ridings have 10 percent or more Filipino-Canadians (Filipino population greater than 10 percent):

Ignore Filipino-Canadian candidates at your own peril: that’s the message a new political action group is sending to federal parties, as jockeying for nomination races for the next election gets underway in earnest.

The Filipino community could be a decisive political force for whichever party manages to rally it, say two of the founders of the Filipino Canadian Political Association, a new group devoted to breaking down barriers that have left the community without representation in Parliament since 2004.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” said Grant Gonzales, a second-generation Filipino-Canadian in Toronto who is serving as the chief spokesperson for the group.

More than 837,000 Canadians identified as having a Filipino ethnic origin in the 2016 census, about 2.5 per cent of the population. More than 100,000 people from the Philippines have been given permanent resident status in Canada since then.

The 2016 Filipino population was bigger than the margin of victory in the last election in 37 federal ridings, including nine of the 25 most competitive races, according to an FCPA analysis of data from Statistics Canada and Elections Canada.

The group issued a press release on April 6 calling on political parties to nominate Filipino-Canadian candidates in winnable ridings ahead of the next election, which could come later this year. The data analysis was included in the release.

“Parties have attempted to activate us [in the past], but it’s always to support another candidate from a different community, not necessarily one of our own,” said Paul Saguil, another co-founder of the FCPA who is also running for the Liberal Party nomination in Brampton Centre, in an interview with The Hill Times.

“The information is there for party organizers to now think about very carefully. Knowing these demographics, why wouldn’t you run a Filipino-Canadian to activate these populations in favour of your party?” he said.

The two men founded the group along with Joseph Guiyab last fall, after the Liberal Party appointed former TV broadcaster Marci Ien as its candidate for a byelection in Toronto Centre. That appointment shut the door on an open nomination contest for would-be candidates including Mr. Saguil, who later stepped back from another nomination contest in Don Valley East when Liberal MPP Michael Coteau announced that he would be running there.

Mr. Saguil said Ms. Ien’s appointment, as well as other unsuccessful attempts by Filipino-Canadians to secure party nominations, played a role in the formation of the group. Mr. Gonzales was more explicit.

“That [appointment] drove a lot of sentiment around how difficult it is for racialized communities, especially Filipino-Canadians, to get into office,” he said. “We thought, ‘enough is enough,’ let’s start more intentionally bringing attention to these issues, this gap in representation.”

Both men said they held no ill will toward Ms. Ien, who went on to win the Toronto Centre byelection. Ms. Ien is Black, and Black Canadians are also underrepresented in Parliament: Black Canadians account for 3.5 per cent of Canada’s population, but hold only five—or 1.5 per cent—of the 338 seats in the House of Commons.

Mr. Gonzales said he wants to see the parties make it easier for Filipino-Canadians to run, whether that means making an appointment, as was the case for Ms. Ien, or just doing more to recruit Filipino candidates.

Filipino-Canadians have won seats in provincial legislatures and municipal councils in Canada, including Mable Elmore, B.C.’s first Filipino MLA. Some have secured nominations to run for federal parties, including Julius Tiangson, who ran for the Conservatives in York Centre in a byelection last year, and is running to secure the party’s nomination in that riding for the next election. Mr. Tiangson did not respond to an interview request last week.

Federal ridings contain an average of about 112,000 people. A perfectly representative House of Commons would have eight MPs from the Filipino community. There are currently none, and there has been only one in Canadian history: Rey Pagtakhan, who represented Winnipeg’s north end for the Liberals from 1988 to 2004.

“It’s the same conversation we have when we’re talking about women in politics. The number of times they need to be asked to run for office, because of the barriers, the attitudes that they face when they run for office,” said Mr. Gonzales.

“If you have a political party reaching out to you and saying, ‘we’d be interested in having you run for a nomination contest,’ well that adds a lot of confidence already to a candidate.”

In the meantime, Mr. Saguil said he wants the FCPA to be able to fill some of that void left by the parties, providing information and connections to Filipino-Canadians who are thinking about a run in politics.

The FCPA is still in its infancy as an organization, and does not yet have a network of volunteers and supporters broad enough to move votes in swing ridings on its own. It has not yet begun to raise money, and does not have paid staff.

The three founders have reached out to leaders within the community and had conversations with some people in federal politics, including Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino (Eglinton-Lawrence, Ont.) and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul, said Mr. Gonzales.

FCPA will have to show community can be mobilized: NDP strategist Romeo Tello

All three founders of the FCPA are Toronto residents with Liberal ties. Mr. Gonzales said they want the organization to be cross-partisan, and operate across the country.

The organization isn’t aiming to sway votes toward one party or another, said Mr. Saguil, but rather draw political parties’ attention to the Filipino community’s power in closely-contested ridings.

“There’s a lot of pride in our community. And when they see someone putting their name forward, and when they see a party actively putting someone forward because they want the support of the Filipino-Canadian community, then it’s a natural expectation that they’ll want to rally behind someone, whichever standard that they’re representing,” he said.

“If I’m thinking strategically for these ridings, and I want to make sure that there is no margin of error for the next election, why wouldn’t I be asking the party leadership, ‘Where is our Filipino-Canadian candidate who would help rally this population?’” said Mr. Saguil.

To be effective, the group will have to show parties the political power held by the Filipino community, said Romeo Tello, a Filipino-Canadian who has worked on provincial and federal campaigns for the NDP.

“It’s all around having conversations, and growing a network of people who can move to action on any given issue,” said Mr. Tello, who is not a member of the FCPA.

Many Filipino-Canadians work in manufacturing or front-line service industry jobs, said Mr. Tello. Filipino women fill many of the country’s front-line health and care-giving jobs, as nurses, personal support workers, and live-in caregivers.  Data released by the province of Manitoba show Filipino-Canadians have been infected by COVID-19 at a higher rate than the general population.

Younger generation ready to run: Saguil

Mr. Gonzales wants the FCPA to follow the path charted by other ethnic political interest groups in Canada. Jewish Canadians have long been represented by effective lobby groups such as the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, and the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee. Ukrainian Canadians have the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. Punjabi Sikhs have become a political force in their own right in Canada.

The Filipino communities across Canada do not have some of the advantages that organizers in those other ethnic groups have wielded so effectively. Filipino-Canadians are numerous, but spread out across the country: Winnipeg North and Winnipeg Centre are the only ridings in which Filipinos account for 20 per cent of the population or more.

The Philippines has been among the top source countries for immigrants to Canada for most of the past 20 years. Still, the community is a relatively young one, and many of those who have immigrated to Canada from the Philippines have been focused on carving out a life for themselves in a new country, said Mr. Saguil.

Running for office requires financial resources, and connections with political parties and other communities. “All of those things take literally one person’s lifetime, if not more, to accumulate,” said Mr. Saguil.

“That’s what we mean by systemic barriers in the FCPA. Other communities in Canada have had generations to accumulate what we’ll call collectively this political capital.”

The younger generation who immigrated with their parents—including Mr. Saguil—or were born in Canada are now more ready and able to step into the political fray, he said.

Mr. Saguil will face tough competition for the Liberal nomination in Brampton Centre. The riding was created as part of the 2013 electoral boundary realignment. It is currently held by Independent MP Ramesh Sangha, who was kicked out of the Liberal caucus earlier this year over remarks he made about some of his fellow Liberal MPs. Mr. Sangha won it as a Liberal candidate by double-digit margins in both the 2015 and 2019 elections. All five of Brampton’s MPs are Indo-Canadian.

Two other Liberals have started a campaign for the nomination in Brampton Centre so far: Amin Dhillon, a multimedia personality and former Miss India Worldwide Canada, and businessman Nasir Hussain.

Indo-Canadians are the most numerous ethnic group in Brampton, outnumbering Filipinos almost 10-to-one in the city. The Brampton Indo-Canadian community includes veteran political organizers and fundraisers.

Mr. Saguil said he has built a “broad coalition” of support already for his nomination bid, including volunteers and organizers from the Punjabi, Black, and Pakistani communities, and Filipino-Canadians from across the country.

If his odds of winning the nomination are long, the payoff of a victory could be great for Mr. Saguil. The last two elections suggest that the next Liberal candidate in Brampton Centre will have a good chance at winning.

Mr. Saguil is the deputy head of TD Bank’s global sanctions compliance and anti-corruption program, as well as a lawyer and a gay rights activist. MPs from under-represented communities who have impressive resumes are often good candidates for a cabinet appointment, even as political rookies. Procurement Minister Anita Anand (Oakville. Ont.), who boasts a resume a mile long, and was made Canada’s first Hindu cabinet minister shortly after winning her first election in 2019, is one recent example.

Source: ‘Enough is enough’: new group aims to open path for Filipino-Canadian candidates in next federal election

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

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.

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

The first Chinese-Australian female MP hopes to unite divided community after historic win

One wonders what took them so long (the first Chinese Canadian MP was Douglas Jung, a Conservative MP elected in the Diefenbaker landslide of 1957):

Liberal candidate Gladys Liu has been officially announced as the winner in the Victorian seat of Chisholm — making her the first ever Chinese-Australian female member of Federal Parliament’s Lower House.

Key points:

  • Roughly 20 per cent of the population in the seat of Chisholm are of Chinese ancestry
  • Ms Liu beat out Labor’s candidate with a margin of 1,100 votes
  • If a Labor challenge is successful, it could trigger a by-election in Chisholm

Speaking for the first time after being declared the winner, Ms Liu said she was thrilled to have won what was one of the election’s tightest contests.

Ms Liu beat Labor’s candidate and fellow Chinese-Australian Jennifer Yang by just 1,100 votes to gain the crucial multicultural seat.

She praised her team for their deep commitment to her campaign and said she received a great welcome when she arrived in Canberra to take up her historic new role.

“It is a great addition to a great team, because not only am I female but I can speak … two other languages, and also I am coming from a different ethnic background and that will enrich not only the country but also the parliamentary setting,” she said.

The challenges of a divided community

Ms Liu was born in Hong Kong, but the former speech pathologist has put down roots in Chisholm since moving to Australia three decades ago.

Roughly 20 per cent of the population in the seat of Chisholm are of Chinese ancestry, but the community is heavily divided along politcal lines.

Ms Liu won the seat with just 50.58 per cent of the vote over Ms Yang who gained 49.42 per cent for Labor.

Ms Liu seemed unfazed by the narrow margin, saying “no one party can have 100 per cent support”, and the split vote among the Chinese community was “consistent with the voting trend in the country”.

“In terms of the political awareness … a lot of Chinese have shown interest in different political parties, their values, their policies,” she said. “I think this a great achievement and improvement from the whole community.”

Ms Liu said her goal was to represent everyone in the community “whether they voted for me or not”.

“This is one of my jobs — to make sure they are well represented and their voices are heard in Canberra,” she said.

Accusations of dirty tactics

But Ms Liu’s win has been called into question by Labor party officials.

Last month, she had to fend off accusations of using dirty tactics during the campaign after the ABC revealed she had posted a how-to-vote card on Chinese social media platform WeChat.

Ms Liu at first denied authorising the material, but the ABC recorded information showing she posted the how-to-vote card under her own WeChat account at the end of April.

“I feel there were a lot of nitty gritty, some minor things or even non issues and some lies as well.”

The message told voters to “copy exactly as it is to avoid an informal vote”, suggesting any other preferencing would result in an invalid ballot.

The Labor Party is set to challenge Ms Liu’s win,alleging such material was designed to confuse voters into voting for the Liberals.

If a Labor challenge was successful, it could trigger a by-election in Chisholm.

But Ms Liu said she only posted material that was “authorised by the Liberal Party headquarters” and she had “no control” over what her supporters posted.

When challenged over the how-to-vote card, Ms Liu responded, “What’s wrong with that? All parties do that”.

As for her political future, Ms Liu said her “priority is to serve Chisholm and represent them”.

When asked if she will be running for minister she replied, “Let me go to Federal Parliament for the first sitting and see how it goes.”

first Chinese-Australian female MP hopes to unite divided community after historic win ABC News Liberal candidate Gladys Liu has today been officially announced as the winner in the Victorian seat of Chisolm — making her the first ever Chinese-Australian female member of Federal Parliament’s Lower House.

Source: The first Chinese-Australian female MP hopes to unite divided community after historic win

Australia’s new parliament is no more multicultural than the last one

Dramatic contrast with Canadian numbers: 56 foreign-born (44 MPs, 12 Senators, 2017), and currently 48 MPs who are visible minority:

Politicians often say Australia is the most successful multicultural country in the world – but it would seem the country’s growing diversity is failing to make its mark in the corridors of power.

The newly elected 46th parliament will likely have little more cultural diversity than the previous one, according to figures compiled by the Parliamentary Library and SBS News.

The number of MPs born overseas in the new parliament is down from 23 in the previous parliament, to 22, across the House of Representatives and Senate. While the number of MPs with one or more parent from a non-European background rose slightly, from eight in the previous parliament to nine in the new one.

45th Parliament versus the 46th Parliament

SBS News (source Parliamentary Library and SBS News)

Some of the notable exiting MPs include the Liberal’s Tony Abbott, born in England and Lucy Gichuhi, born in Kenya. As well as Labor’s Lisa Singh whose parents were born in Fiji.

Some of the newly elected MPs from diverse backgrounds include Liberal’s Dave Sharma, born in Canada to an Indian father; the Green’s Mehreen Faruqi, born in Pakistan; and the Liberal’s Gladys Liu, born in Hong Kong, who as of Tuesday was on track to pick up the closely fought Victorian seat of Chisholm.

According to the 2016 census 28.5 per cent of Australians were born overseas. While the United Kingdom remains the largest country of origin within that, China and India are in second and third place respectively.

UTS sociology professor Andrew Jakubowicz said he wasn’t surprised parliamentary diversity hasn’t grown in the new parliament.

“Parliament is essentially a white club, it is essentially a white boys club … The dynamic of change which is sweeping through the Australian community more widely is very apparent at the state level, but the federal level it seems to have been squeezed out,” he told SBS News.

The figures on multiculturalism for the 45th Parliament come from the Parliamentary Library and were accurate as of April 2019.

Data for the new parliament is compared with the previous figures and available public biography information of all new incoming MPs on their official websites.

Parliament is essentially a white boys club.

– ANDREW JAKUBOWICZ, ACADEMIC

SBS News has reached out to both the Labor and Liberal parties to confirm the birthplace of several new members who haven’t mention their place of birth on their official websites.

The analysis is also based on the likely results, with some Senate and Lower House results still not finalised on Tuesday, following Saturday’s election win for the Coalition.

Where there has been change, is in the number of women who will take their place in parliament, with at least 81 women having confirmed to have won seats in the Senate or the House of Representatives.

This is compared to 73 female MPs in the previous parliament. There are 227 seats across both houses of parliament.

The number of Indigenous Australians in parliament will also likely increase from four to five with the return of Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie.

During her first stint in Parliament, Ms Lambie used her maiden speech in 2014 to reveal her family connection to Tasmania’s Indigenous population.

According to an Essential Research poll commissioned for SBS News prior to the election, 71 per cent of Australians believed the country would benefit from a greater representation of under-represented groups in parliament.

Of those who agreed with the sentiment, 46 per cent said they would like to see more women in parliament, 32 per cent said more Indigenous Australians and 17 per cent said more Australians born overseas should be in parliament.

Professor Jakubowicz said he believed the Section 44 controversies and dual-citizenship concerns may be a barrier for multicultural Australians who are thinking about getting into politics.

“I think people from ethnically diverse communities who might want to make a run might be fairly intimidated by the sorts of hoops needed to jump through,” he said.

He also added that until the major parties change their internal processes and begin pre-selecting diverse candidates in winnable seats, little would change.

“The idea is that the parliament represents the range of the Australian people … that isn’t happening,” he said.

Source: Australia’s new parliament is no more multicultural than the last one