House more diverse, but still has a long way to go – The Hill Times Editorial
2016/11/22 Leave a comment
While hard to disagree with the overall tenor of this editorial, the more interesting aspects of Kai Chan’s in-depth work is less with traditional diversity – women, visible minorities, foreign-born, Indigenous peoples – is with respect to the lack of occupational, age, education etc where some of the differences between parties are striking.
The Hill Times conclusion only focuses on the former and is silent on the latter:
As The Hill Times reports in this week’s issue, this is one of the most diverse House of Commons in Canadian history, but it still has a long way to go to reflect Canada’s diverse population. More work must be done to elect more women, more indigenous peoples, more visible minorities, and more people with diverse educational and professional backgrounds. The House is still too white, too male, and too English.
According to research by Canadian expatriate economist Kai Chan, who has a PhD in economics from New Jersey’s Princeton University and is a self-described “data-junkie,”of 338 MPs elected in the last general election, the average group in the House is 50-59; the most common professional background is law; and the most studied subject is politics. Some 104 MPs, or 30 per cent of MPs, are bilingual; 47 MPs, or 13 per cent, were born outside Canada; and there are 88 female MPs, or 26 per cent of the House. Of the 47, or 14 per cent of MPs who were born outside Canada, 11 were born in India, six in the U.K., and four in Lebanon. Out of the 291 MPs, or 86 per cent of the House, born in Canada, 28 MPs were born in Montreal, 25 in Toronto, and 12 in Winnipeg.
According to the 2011 National Household Survey, of Canada’s 32.8 million total population, 6.2 million, or 19 per cent, are visible minority Canadians, including 1.5 million South Asians, 1.3 million Chinese Canadians and about 945,665 black Canadians. The Filipino population numbers 619,310, Latin American 381,280, Arab 380,620, Southeast Asian 312,080 and West Asian 206,840. And the total aboriginal population is 1.4-million.
“Canada is such a diverse country, it’s good to get all different voices,” Mr. Chan told The Hill Times. “It’s especially good because we live in a globalized world, and for Canada to really capitalize on its demographic dividend, we really should have all those people at the table.”
Canadians elected 60 lawyers, 47 consultants, 43 professors, 42 business people, and 41 executives. Some 63 MPs studied politics, 60 studied law, 27 studied business and 27 studied economics. Some 199 prefer English and 35 prefer French only.
In the education category, a total 136, or 40 per cent of MPs, have bachelor’s degrees; 75 MPs, or 22 per cent, have master’s degrees; and 30 MPs, or eight per cent, have PhDs. And 81 MPs have secondary or lower levels of education. The Liberals lead the pack with 22 MPs who have doctorates, followed by the Conservatives with five MPs who have doctorates, the NDP two and Bloc one MP. Of the MPs who have secondary or lower education, the Conservatives have the highest with 42 MPs, followed by the Liberals with 27, the NDP eight and the Bloc four MPs. The Liberals are far ahead of other parties when it comes to MPs who have master’s or bachelor’s degrees with 47 and 82, respectively. In the Conservative caucus, 14 MPs hold their master’s and 31 their bachelor’s. On the NDP side, 12 MPs have their master’s and 19 MPs have their bachelor’s degrees. Some 32 MPs attended the University of Toronto, 22 McGill University in Montreal, and 16 went to Queen’s University in Kingston.
Hopefully, all political parties will make a much stronger effort to recruit more candidates who are underrepresented in the House right now, including more visible minorities, more women, more indigenous peoples to run in the next election. Canada is a diverse country. It’s time that diversity was better reflected in the House.