The search continues


Noah Richler: “If Canada is to experience its own extraordinary, galvanizing political progression, it will not be because it has elected a black to high office. That would be pleasing enough, not least because slavery was also practiced here, though it would be misrepresenting history to pretend that the issue is as profoundly troubling here as in the United States. But no, our own Obama moment will occur when Canada upholds a candidate from the First Nations as prime minister.”

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The search continues

  1. Well, Phil Fontaine’s an extremely capable leader and person, and extremely experienced at running a volatile and fragmented organisation, but he’s sort of got his hands full . . . Still, maybe the Liberals should sound him out? I’d vote for him.

  2. Beat you to it. Just blogged about this.

    Would be thrilled to see this happen. Gives me goose bumps just thinking of the possibility.

  3. I haven’t been too impressed by Fontaine, but maybe that’s because he’s only in the media expressing outrage or begging for handouts.

  4. Begging for handouts?

    Good luck Canada.

  5. Bernd Christmas.

    No, it’s not a dry tree.

    Very capable guy.

  6. The search is over. Danny Williams is Canada’s Barack Obama, or at least the Nation of Newfoundland’s.

  7. A native canadian is almost guaranteed to not become prime minister in any reasonable time frame.

    1) Native population is 3%, compared with America’s 12.5% share for blacks. If job was assigned randomly you’d see a Native Canadian PM 1/4th as often as an afro-american President. On an American frequency of 1 in 44, the Native Canadian PM would happen 1 in 176 times. We’re on our 22nd PM, 17 holding office more than a year and “really” being PM. Using the Obama standard, we should expect to wait 1000 years for a Native Canadian PM. Using random chance, probability of not having a Native Canadian PM only drops below 50% after 23 tries. It hits 25% at 45 tries. Since Native Canadians have shamefully only recently been recognized as full political participants, only PMs from Trudeau onward should count, giving us 7 PMs (5 real, 4 without Martin). So the expected wait for a Native Canadian PM is somewhere between 90 and 270 years with no bias.

    2) Native political engagement is focused on activist groups, bands, and territorial governments. This siphons political talent away from National (or Provincial) politics, reducing the likelihood of a national leader coming from the native community. There are thousands of hopeful PMs (of varying sanity) for every elected PM, so numbers are key. The resistance to transfer of politicians between levels makes this focus on lower level politics especially problematic.

    3) National political figures tend to come from prominent careers in other fields with only Harper, Joe Clark and Kim Campbell having minimal pre-politcs careers amongst PMs since the 50s. With the current problems in the native community, individuals with PM calibre backgrounds are unfortunately very rare.

    4) Canadian PMs so far have included 1 Irish Catholic, 1 fourth generation german immigrant, 16 of English or Scottish descent, and 5 franco-canadians (including Martin). Irish, German, Italian, Chinese, and Ukrainian communities are further under-represented than Native Canadians. All of these communities are further along on national political engagement and high level careers that build potential PMs.

    5) Fetishizing a community to satisfy personal guilt or desires to manifest one’s sensibilities is more than a little bit racist. Saying that you want more friends of a given ethnicity is disgusting and offensive, just as saying that you want politicians from a given ethnicity. Obama being president doesn’t do a damn thing to solve the problems of gang culture, single parent families, or derision of success. Canada having a Native PM won’t solve corrupt bands, pervasive joblessness, educational failure, or substance abuse. It sure does/will make people feel better in certain dining rooms, and that’s of course the important thing! Pass the fair trade organic cous-cous!

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