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Diversifying Canada’s most diverse parliament

June 1, 2018 Articles, Media / Op-ed
By Anna Desmarais. Published on Jun 1, 2018 3:00pm (The Weekender Weekender 22 2018) Even after Canada elected its most diverse parliament ever in 2015, there is more work to be done to ensure that the Green Chamber is representative of the Canadian population at large. In 2015, Canada elected its most diverse Parliament ever — but experts say more can be done in the upcoming election to encourage various forms of representation in the Green Chamber. The 42nd Parliament is represented by 47 visible minority MPs from various cultural backgrounds and 10 Indigenous MPs, smashing the previous record of 28 and seven MPs belonging to each respective group. [caption id="attachment_3636" align="alignleft" width="212"] Ziad Aboultaif became the first Lebanese member of Parliament when elected as the Conservative representative of Edmonton—Manning in 2015.[/caption] One of the new faces to emerge from the 2015 election was Conservative MP Ziad Aboultaif, a prominent Lebanese business-owner representing Edmonton—Manning. Aboultaif decided to run for office to give back to the country he now calls home. On October 19, 2015, he became the first Lebanese member of parliament to represent a riding in Western Canada, winning a decisive victory with 47 per cent of the vote. “It…

MP laughed at for his bus-driving past? Elitist attitudes persist in politics, experts say

February 16, 2017 Articles, Media / Op-ed
By Tania Kohut National Online Journalist, Breaking News  Global News A sharp chorus of laughter was heard in the House of Commons on Tuesday as Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi mentioned his past career as a bus driver, while offering condolences for a slain Winnipeg Transit employee. On Wednesday, Liberal MP Adam Vaughan asked that the laughter heard the day before be withdrawn, and the record corrected. He called it offensive to the House, the values of Canadians and to the country’s diversity. “Laughing at the previous employment status of a member of this House is offensive, especially when that service was a public service to the people of this country.” In response, Tory MP Candice Bergen agreed with Vaughan’s message of inclusion, and rebuffed the accusation that her party members would laugh at a person’s past profession. After all, it’s called the House of Commons due to its intent to represent common Canadians. “We absolutely respect and honour all of the jobs that we have done, and the experience that we bring to this House,” Bergen said. But with all the talk of diversity in politics — getting more women involved, people of all ethnic backgrounds — professional experience and education can be added to the list of invisible barriers. Politicians tend to…

‘We live in a globalized world,’ House most ethnically diverse in Canadian history, but still has long way to go: research

November 21, 2016 Articles, Media / Op-ed
‘We live in a globalized world,’ House most ethnically diverse in Canadian history, but still has long way to go: research A record 47 visible minority and 10 indigenous MPs were elected in this House. [caption id="attachment_3076" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The Hill Times photographs by Jake Wright and the Parliament of Canada[/caption] By ABBAS RANA PUBLISHED : Monday, Nov. 21, 2016 12:00 AM PARLIAMENT HILL—It’s the most ethnically diverse House of Commons in Canadian history, but it still has a long way to go. The House is still mostly white, male, and English-speaking, according to a study conducted by Kai Chan, who released his data to The Hill Times, and most MPs are married, 30 per cent are bilingual, 13 per cent were born outside Canada, women make up 26 per cent of the House, 14 per cent are visible minorities, three per cent are indigenous, most studied politics, most were lawyers, and most have post-secondary education. Among the 338 MPs elected in the last general election, the most common age group is 50-59, 214 MPs are married, and 26 MPs have four or more children, according to Mr. Chan, an expatriate Canadian economist who now resides in the United Arab Emirates and who holds a…

Canada’s parliament and its diversity problem

January 30, 2015 Articles, Media / Op-ed
Canada's parliament and its diversity problem BY ASHLEY SPLAWINSKI   | JANUARY 30, 2015 Canada is widely renowned for being a 'diverse mosaic'. However, a newly released study by Kai Chan concludes that Canada's current Conservative government and cabinet are not an accurate reflection of our population. Not surprised? Perhaps it's time to contemplate the meaning of "multiculturalism" in all of its controversial glory. Why are we just questioning this now? The term 'diversity' can be used quite loosely. However, in Chan's study, it is defined through: geography, language, religion, age, gender, education, ethnicity and occupation. Chan, currently a policy advisor to the prime minster of the United Arab Emirates, stated that his motivation to study parliamentary representation was fueled by the escalating tension between Canada's Conservative government and its scientific community. The relationship between policy and science has been outlined by the Canadian Science Writers' Association (CSWA) in a statement saying that, in the past, Canada's federal scientists were encouraged to publicly discuss their research. This changed when the Conservative government introduced media policies to control communication between scientists and the public. The move to cut funding to scientific services and programs added to the scientific community's concern, resulting in…

Toronto Star article: “Parliament’s lack of diversity goes beyond race, gender: study”

January 4, 2015 Articles, Media / Op-ed
January 2, 2015 Parliament’s lack of diversity goes beyond race, gender: study A study exploring the demographics of Parliament suggests a mismatch with the Canadian population that goes beyond race and gender to issues such as religion and education. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="545"] Report author Kai L. Chan says a homogeneous House and Senate are likely to result in "uniformed" perspectives that do not represent the general population.[/caption] By: Nicholas Keung Immigration reporter, Published on Fri Jan 02 2015   The ruling Conservatives and federal cabinet don’t look remotely close to the new Canada they represent, says a new study, which suggests there are real consequences to the lack of diversity. Kai L. Chan’s demographic study of who’s representing us in Parliament shows that the federal NDP comes closest to matching Canada’s visible-minority and gender realities, but both the House of Commons and Senate fail miserably in mirroring the diversity of Canada. “The socio-demographic biases are not without consequence as Parliament is the policy-making and political governing body of the country,” Chan writes in “Canada’s Governing Class: Who rules the country?” “When these decision makers debate the merits of initiatives, laws or policies that affect . . . women, minorities or the scientific community, the…




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