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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tolley put the onus on political parties.

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

Racialized minorities don’t experience the same obstacle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

As for white men, their political possibilities widen.

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

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

Samara’s 2017 Democracy 360 Second Report Card on How Canadians Communicate, Participate and Lead in Politics – Visible Minority Methodology Issues

While I have great respect for the work Samara does and continues to do, as exemplified in their latest report, I would be remiss in not pointing out some serious methodological mistakes made with respect to visible minority representation.

Their diversity numbers:

While our current Cabinet was selected to be more reflective of the Canadian population, Parliament generally, with 74% men, still has a long way to go. Women represent half of Canada’s population, but they are only 26% of its MPs. Visible minorities are better represented—they make up 17% of MPs and 19% of the population. Indigenous MPs make up 3% of the House and 4% of the population. In terms of representation of the youngest cohort of voters Canadians, representation has lost ground since 2015. Only 4% of MPs in the 41st Parliament are aged 18 to 30, a cohort that comprises 17% of the Canadian population.

The two mistakes are:

  • Using the wrong baseline for visible minority representation. Samara uses the overall population of visible minorities (19 percent) rather than the correct baseline of 15 percent, those visible minorities who are also Canadian citizens and thus able to vote. This is the second time that this incorrect baseline has been used and should be corrected for future reports; and,
  • Their count of the number of visible minority MPs is wrong. The correct count is 47, not the 53 indicated in the chart below.

The corrected numbers show visible minorities forming 14 percent of the House of Commons (2015 election), compared to 15 percent of the visible minority voting population. A good result.

Samara and I have shared our respective data sets and discussed these concerns and they have been forthcoming on the reasons for the discrepancies. Their count of visible minorities included some Indigenous MPs and Alexandra Mendès (but not Pablo Rodriguez) and they used the overall visible minority population to be consistent with their earlier report.

For future reports, my main recommendations:

  • for women, foreign-born and Indigenous MPs, use the authoritative parlinfo biographical information which would avoid mis-categorization of Indigenous as visible minority MPs;
  • use existing analysis rather than re-inventing the wheel. Erin Tolley, Kai Chan and I all came up with the 47 number (Erin and I compared notes to ensure that neither of us missed anything, Kai did his work independently; and,
  • use the population of visible minorities who are also Canadian citizens as the baseline, not the total visible minority population.

Their numbers for foreign-born, women and Indigenous MPs are correct, taken from the parl.gc.ca site (however the graphics are not – 40 versus the correct figure of 41 foreign-born, 81 versus 88 women, 9 versus 11 Indigenous peoples).

Source: 2017 Democracy 360

Byelection results: Tories hold Calgary seats, Liberals keep Ottawa, Montreal, Markham: Increase in diversity

These results further increase diversity: four women elected, all replacing men, one visible minority elected, replacing a non-visible minority man.

Overall totals: 92 (up from 88) women or 27 percent, 48 visible minorities (up from 47) or 14 percent.

Source: Byelection results: Tories hold Calgary seats, Liberals keep Ottawa, Montreal, Markham – Politics – CBC News

Liberal Jewish and Muslim MPs condemn imams who called for the death of Jews [and anti-Muslim hate]

Great initiative and statement:

….So right now, the Parliamentary record shows Liberals voting down a motion condemning racism and intolerance even as Conservatives, New Democrats, and Bloc Quebecois MPs, along with the lone Green Party MP, voted in favour of condemning all racism and religious intolerance. (Conservatives, it should be noted, vowed not to vote for M-103 when that motion comes to the floor, preferring, instead the one voted on Tuesday.)

It’s in that context — the reports of the imams calling for death to Jews and the Liberal rejection of a motion condemning, in part, discrimination against Jews —  that a group of Liberal Jewish and Muslim MPs issued this statement Wednesday:

“As Canadians, we rise and fall together. Polarization doesn’t only hurt targeted groups, it hurts all Canadians.

As Parliamentarians, we feel it is our responsibility to rally Canadians around our shared values of human rights, equality and respect for each other. It is our duty to speak out and set an example for Canadians in confronting stereotypes and prejudice, and advancing understanding and education.

We are horrified by reports that two Imams in Montreal and Toronto called for the death of Jews during sermons. We condemn such behaviour and call on the mosques’ administration to take appropriate action.

We are equally troubled by reports of hate notes posted outside identifiable Jewish homes in Toronto this past weekend, as well as deeply concerning accounts from university campuses of Jewish students being targeted and vilified. Anti-Semitism is real and we must stand together against it.

We are also united in condemning Islamophobia and supporting Motion 103. Three weeks ago, six Muslim Canadians were killed during their prayer service at a Quebec mosque. Since the attack, there have been troubling incidents of mosque vandalism and a protest with hateful slogans outside a Toronto mosque. As Parliamentarians we recognize this rise in Anti-Muslim sentiment as Islamophobia.

We respect and defend Canadians’ right to freedom of speech and peaceful protest, and Motion 103 does nothing to change speech laws in Canada, contrary to falsehoods being circulated. We believe the best way to counter hate is through free and open dialogue and as such we also want to exercise our right to speak out against intimidating Canadians, including children, when they’re visiting their place of worship.

Motion 103 sends a message of solidarity to all those affected by religious and other forms of systemic discrimination and calls on the Heritage Committee to study and make recommendations to respond to them.

Religious, ethnic, gender and sexual orientation discrimination is a threat to our diversity and social cohesion. We call on all Canadians to lead by example. Words matter.

The overwhelming majority of Canadians reject guilt by association and stigmatization. That is why we must redouble our efforts to promote education and understanding.

We take pride in the countless Canadian stories of interfaith groups coming together to make our communities better.

We must continue to defend a Canada that is based on our Charter of Rights and Freedoms respecting the rights and responsibilities of all. Diversity is our strength.

Members :
Hon. Jim Carr, Winnipeg South Centre
Hon. Karina Gould, Burlington.
Hon. Ahmed Hussen, York South — Weston
Hon. Maryam Monsef, Peterborough — Kawartha.
Omar Alghabra, Mississauga Centre
Julie Dabrusin, Toronto — Danforth.
Ali Ehsassi, Willowdale.
David Graham, Laurentides — Labelle.
Anthony Housefather, Mount Royal
Majid Jowhari, Richmond Hill.
Iqra Khalid, Mississauga — Erin Mills.
Michael Levitt, York Centre
Yasmin Ratansi, Don Valley East
Dan Ruimy, Pitt Meadows — Maple Ridge.
Marwan Tabbara, Kitchener South — Hespeler
Arif Virani, Parkdale — High Park.
Salma Zahid, Scarborough Centre”

For racialized communities, electoral reform is about more than voting | Toronto Star

While Avvy gets the numbers wrong – there are 47 visible minority MPs, not 46  (14 percent), close to the 15 percent of visible minorities who are also Canadian citizens and who can vote, her broader point on the need for better representation would benefit for more attention to the declining naturalization rate, and how that disproportionately affects visible minorities, and hence participation in elections (see Citizenship Applications: Third Quarter Continues to Show Decline).

Moreover, while it is legitimate to criticize the specific choices of which  visible minorities made it into Cabinet (four Canadian Sikhs, one Afghan Canadian), a broader look at senior political positions (parliamentary secretaries etc) and Senate appointments presents a more nuanced picture (see my Government appointments and diversity).

My focus is more on the declining naturalization rate given the longer term impact on social inclusion/cohesion and representation:

When the 46 so-called “visible-minority” MPs were elected to the Canadian Parliament in the 2015 election, some media called it a “watershed” moment in our history and a victory for Canada’s multiculturalism. In reality, out of a total of 338 seats, the politicians from different communities of colour represent just over 13 per cent of Parliament, while about 19 per cent of Canada’s population is made up of people of colour, with the largest three groups being South Asian, Chinese and black, who together made up 61 per cent of all communities of colour. When Trudeau named his cabinet, one that he described as looking like Canada, not one Chinese or black made it to his short list.

Today, tens of thousands permanent residents of Canada are denied the right to vote because of the strict naturalization law, not to mention the 200,000 or immigrants with precarious status who have lived and worked in Canada for years, in some cases decades, without ever given a chance to regularize their status.

As Canadians ponder which electoral system will be best for our democracy, considerations should be given for the following two questions:

  • Which electoral system will be best able to engage the marginalized communities, including racialized communities and new Canadians, in order to ensure their full participation in the democratic process.
  • Regardless of which system is chosen, what can we do to make our political bodies more fully reflect the makeup of Canada?

On both questions, the special committee report fell short. While the Report did make some passing references to the need to increase representation of “visible minorities,” no specific recommendation — or an attempt to come up with one — was made to address this issue.

This is in contrast with the committee’s treatment of some of the other under-represented groups, or groups that are not as engaged in the political process as they should, such as indigenous peoples, students, youth, people with disabilities, and women, where there were specific sections in the report devoted to analyzing how to increase their democratic purification, and in the case of indigenous people and women, their political representation. But even then, the committee did not offer any concrete solutions for these critical challenges.

The government has since been hosting its own online consultation to gather public opinion. Apart from offering no public education or information about the electoral reform process or the various possible options, the questions posted on Mydemocracy.ca are replete with false dichotomy.

Canadians are asked a number of “either-or” questions, as if the choices presented are mutually exclusive. One question assumes, for instance, a system that requires greater collaboration among parties would be less accountable. Another asks Canadians to choose between improving representation of under-represented groups and greater political accountability.

While there is no perfect system, there is no reason why we cannot aspire to design a system that is inclusive, accountable, and above all, responsive to all Canadians.

Source: For racialized communities, electoral reform is about more than voting | Toronto Star