From the archives: Diversity in the 41st Parliament, part 1

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Leadership Wednesday, January 21, 2015 View Count = 2461

From the archives: Diversity in the 41st Parliament, part 1

HoC composition by party

This week and next, to celebrate five years of building a stronger democracy, we'll be republishing some of our best content from the Samara archives
Today's blog is part one of a series by former Samara Research and Communications Intern Kyle Crawford on diversity in the current Parliament. This post was originally published in June, 2011.

Canada’s parliamentarians bring a multitude of experiences to their job. In The Accidental Citizen? we found that the MPs we interviewed came from a much more diverse set of backgrounds than most people think. We talked to MPs who were electricians, nurses, and priests--and yes even a few lawyers (but probably fewer than you’d think). But like Canada’s 40th Parliament, the 41st is more male and whiter than Canada’s population.

At the start of the current Parliament, 9.4% of MPs were visible minorities, compared with 16.2% of Canada’s population. That’s a slight improvement from the 40th Parliament, where visible minorities made up 6.8% of the House. The increase represents an additional 8 MPs.

19 of the 111 MPs new to the House in 2011 were visible minorities, including new members Parm Gill, Ted Hsu and Hoang Mai. 10 incumbent visible minorities earned re-election.

The NDP caucus had the highest proportion of visible minorities of the three largest parties, with 13.6% of its caucus being visible minorities. The CPC was next with 7.2%, and the Liberals followed with 5.9%.  Just by the numbers the Bloc is the most diverse with a whopping 25% visible minority MPs, but of course the party only claims four total seats. In the previous Parliament three of the Bloc’s 48 MPs were visible minorities.

Compared with the previous Parliament, the NDP made the largest jump adding 13 visible minority MPs to their caucus. The Liberals went from the most diverse to the least of the three largest parties, falling from 11.7% to 5.9% diversity. They now only have two visible minority MPs. The Conservatives stayed at about the same level of diversity going from 5.5% to 7.2% visible minority MPs.

Visible Minority MPs by Party in Canada's 40th and 41st Parliament


Visible Minority MPs in the 41st Parliament


Of course there are a number of ways of thinking of diversity. The next post will further explore the composition of the 41st Parliament, including a detailed look at immigrant and aboriginal MPs.

To read about some contemporary research on educational diversity of MPs, check out this 2015 story in the Toronto StarThe second post in this archive series will be available next week.

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