From the archives: Diversity in the 41st Parliament, part 2

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Leadership Tuesday, January 27, 2015 View Count = 2346

From the archives: Diversity in the 41st Parliament, part 2


To celebrate five years of building a stronger democracy, we're republishing some of our best content from the Samara archives
Today's blog is part two 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. Part one is available here.

Last week we explored the diversity of the 41st Parliament by examining the number of visible minorities in Canada's political parties. We found that the NDP had the highest proportion of visible minorities with 13.6%, the CPC was next with 7.2% and among the three largest parties the Liberals followed with 5.9%. But this is just one way of looking at diversity. Today we're going to explore the diversity of MPs across the provinces and territories.

Canada’s population is composed of roughly 16% visible minorities, but this varies from a high of 24.8% in B.C, to 2.6% in the Atlantic Provinces. We’ve crunched the data and here are some of the most interesting findings that result from taking a look at how the composition of Parliament reflects differences in regional diversity.


• Quebec is the only province to have a higher percentage of visible minority MPs than its population. The province is made up of 8.8% visible minorities but with 11 minority MPs, that is almost 15% of its seats. In the 40th Parliament this was not true of any province. 

• The high number of visible minority MPs in Quebec is a result of the huge NDP gains in the province. 10 of Quebec’s 11 minority MPs were elected for the first time this year and all 10 are in the NDP caucus. 


• 10.7% of Alberta’s MPs are visible minorities, which compares to 13.7% of its population. For the second parliament in a row this means Alberta’s visible minority MPs reflect the province's diversity closer than any other province. 

• This shouldn't be surprising considering Calgary and Edmonton are the 4th and 6th most diverse cities in Canada, and Alberta’s 3 visible minority MPs all represent ridings in Calgary and Edmonton. 

British Columbia

• 16.7% of B.C's MPs are visible minorities, which is the highest percentage of any province. However B.C is also the most diverse province in Canada with 24.8% visible minorities. This means B.C is just slightly behind Alberta in how reflective its MPs are of the province's diversity.

• Half of B.C's visible minority MPs are in the Conservative caucus.


• Ontario is the second most diverse province in Canada (22.8%), yet proportionally the province has the fewest visible minority MPs. 

• In our previous post on diversity in Canada’s Parliament we found that the Liberal caucus is about 5.9% diverse and the Conservative caucus is 7.6% ethnically diverse. The Conservative and Liberal dominance in Ontario largely explains the low level of diversity among the province's MPs since the two parties won about 80% of the seats in the province.


*Population statistics reflect the 2006 Canadian census.

To read about some contemporary research on educational diversity of MPs, check out this 2015 story in the Toronto StarThere will be more from the Samara archives coming soon.

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