Representation in Parliament matters — and Jagmeet Singh's NDP is leading the way

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Representation in Parliament matters — and Jagmeet Singh's NDP is leading the way

Representation in Parliament matters — and Jagmeet Singh's NDP is leading the way


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh fields questions from supporters at a campaign event in Surrey, B.C. on Sunday.



Representation in Parliament matters — and Jagmeet Singh's NDP is leading the way

By Ed BroadbentContributor

Mon., Sept. 30, 2019timer3 min. 

It is no exaggeration to say that, between the time I first entered the House of Commons in 1968 and my retirement nearly 40 years later, I witnessed a revolution in the makeup of Parliament.

In 1968, the House of Commons looked completely different than it did in 2006, let alone today. The typical Member of Parliament was white, male, and probably hailed from one of just a handful of professions and social backgrounds. If this sounds like hyperbole, consider that only a single woman — Grace MacInnes of the NDP — was a Member of Parliament between 1968 and 1972.

This failure at inclusion reflected poorly on Canada’s democratic institutions and political parties, but it also, more broadly, reflected a society that discriminated against women and racialized and Indigenous people across many aspects of both public and private life.

Great strides were made in subsequent decades thanks to the feminist movement and the tireless work of racialized activists and Indigenous leaders.

As a result, a more diverse array of voices began to enter Parliament — prompting a sea change not only in the backgrounds of our elected representatives but also in the kinds of policies they debated and ultimately acted upon. Canadian society has become fairer as a result.

Better representation in politics, after all, is hardly an abstract question or an isolated goal. It can surely be no accident, for example, that as the number of women and members of visible minorities in Parliament increased, Canada’s federal government also passed important legislation like the Employment Equity Act of 1986 — which requires employers to eliminate discriminatory barriers in the job market — alongside other policies that were long overdue.

There remains, however, much work to be done when it comes to making sure that Parliament actually looks like the country it exists to serve.

recent survey conducted by the National Observer paints a mostly bleak picture of the efforts currently underway by Canada’s major political parties to improve the diversity of the House of Commons. As its author Fatima Syed noted: “Other than the NDP, the remaining parties are not representative of Canada’s visible minority population — Black, Indigenous or people of colour — which Statistics Canada finds amounts to at least 25 per cent.”


You wondered why the NDP have been a bit low in the polls, eh!

And you thought elections were not rigged, eh!

And there are zero articles about this in the CBC nor the Toronto Star because.............

 —  —09.30.2019 10:05 AM


The picture above was apparently taken last night in Ottawa.  It shows the Huffington Post’s Althia Raj and the Liberal Party’s Gerald Butts.

Raj is one of the moderators in the crucial (and only) English-language leaders’ debate.

She and her employer have been criticized many times in the past for being biased – in favour of the Liberal Party of Justin Trudeau.

In my view, Butts was merely doing his job, and doing it well.  But was it a good idea for Raj to get together with Butts, mere days before the debates kick off?

No.  And some studies actually make that clear, too.

There’s bias, and there’s appearance of bias.  In a tight election race, it is stupid for a reporter to do anything that provides evidence of an appearance of bias.  Particularly when there is a requirement that “high journalistic standards” be maintained in respect of the debates.

It’s always the same: people in Ottawa regularly think that everyone South of the Queensway don’t notice what they do after hours.

But we do.