A card no one has in their hand to play - Macleans.ca
 

A card no one has in their hand to play


 

At about the 3:20 mark of this interview with Heritage Minister James Moore, discussion turns to the subject of Canadians stranded abroad and Mr. Moore—quite rightly—dismisses those who would play the “race card” on this particular issue. Of course, then he goes on to say the following.

“The Conservative government, our party, is the most ethnically diverse political party in the House of Commons. We have more Canadians from more backgrounds and more diversity than any political party in Canada.”

Indeed, the Conservative caucus includes 12 MPs who the Public Policy Forum identified as “non-white,” meaning the government side is a mere 91.6% white.

Mind you, if you choose to measure your diversity as a percentage of the population, the prize goes to the Liberal side, which is only 88.3% white.

By the PPF’s count, 7.8% of Canada’s 40th Parliament is “non-white,” a slight decrease from the 39th Parliament. For the record, visible minorities account for some 16 percent of the general population.


 

A card no one has in their hand to play

  1. According to the stats you linked to, the NDP caucus is 97.3% white!

  2. I wonder what the percentage is for Maclean's bloggers and commenters. (Just saying)

  3. Let's be careful with language here. While there's often overlap between race and ethnicity, skin colour is hardly the sole measure by which one can deduce ancestry, and cultural diversity.

    • Is somebody playing fast and loose with that disctinction here? I'm not sure I am following your point.

      • I get uncomfortable when we start equating cultural diversity with skin colour, as some sort of absolute measure. Not that "visible minority" doesn't count for anything, but it's quite possible – and fully valid – that Moore was including white skinned Canadians of various ethnic identities or descent. The connection of race to culture is something that rarely is used in a productive manner.

        I also get uncomfortable when we assume that anyone with a dark complexion, or a party populated with a greater proportion of the same, automatically brings to the table a heightened sensitivity to issues of cutural diversity and race relations. It's as distasteful as charging the Conservatives with racism in the Muhamud affair, when there's no credible evidence to suggest anything more than gross incompetence on their part.

      • I get uncomfortable when we start equating cultural diversity with skin colour, as some sort of absolute measure. Not that "visible minority" doesn't count for anything, but it's quite possible – and fully valid – that Moore was including white skinned Canadians of various ethnic identities or descent. The connection of race to culture is something that rarely is used in a productive manner.

        I also get uncomfortable when we assume that anyone with a dark complexion, or a party populated with a greater proportion of the same, automatically brings to the table a heightened sensitivity to issues of cutural diversity and race relations. It's as distasteful as charging the Conservatives with racism in the Muhamud affair, when there's no credible evidence to suggest anything more than gross incompetence on their part.

        And finally, there always seems be the assumption that if we could only have our institutions match the census, these issues of diversity would somehow melt away. Without denying the barriers faced by many who aren't white males, there's something icky about simply trying to fill seats with enough ovaries and pigment to make us all feel good, if that makes any sense.

        • Thanks for the clarification, excellent points, all. I'm still not sure that they are related to the story, but they are excellent points.

          • No problem, and thanks. My concern was initially with sideline charges of racism, being countered by fuzzy references to diversity, resulting in Wherry's use of skin colour stats to somehow settle the matter.

          • Fortunately we are closing in on a scientific definition of racial diversity. Pretty soon we will have DNA reports on all our politicians and can then place an actual number on how diverse they really are.

            Culture is much tougher… I would suggest a massive buffet and look at what is left-over. Of course, we now know that all of the politicos will be compelled to eat the seal meat first.

  4. Well, if we're going to look at problems that cross party lines, how about gender?

    Sure 90% of Parliament is white, but about 84% of the COUNTRY is white, so it's not all that crazy. On the other hand, roughly 50% of the population is female, but women account for only about 23% of Parliament. And even the party with the highest percentage of female MPs (the NDP) only has 33% female MPs.

    • What is a little maddening is the number of political "power couples", where the woman is clearly the stronger person, but where the male goes after the high profile position.

  5. How much of the Parliamentary Press Gallery is non-white?

  6. Politics and journalism have got to be the whitest professions in Canada but, curiously, they are the two main groups pushing multi-culti policies. Too bad they don't practice what they preach.

    I can't remember where I saw the link but some blog recently linked to 10 page report written by a few profs that looked at the decline of Lib support from 2000 to 2008. Interestingly, the main reason the Libs have seen their support drop is they are losing Catholics and visible minorities. If I remember correctly, Libs received about 38% of ethnic vote while Cons got around 33% in 2008 election. We will see soon enough if the trend continues.