Note: Updated Friday, June 3, 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.
In the newest Parliament, 9.4% of MPs are 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 new 111 MPs are visible minorities, including new members Parm Gill, Ted Hsu and Hoang Mai. 10 incumbent visible minorities earned re-election.
The NDP caucus has the highest proportion of visible minorities of the three largest parties, with 13.6% of its caucus being visible minorities. The CPC is next with 7.2%, and the Liberals follow 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 4 total seats. In the previous parliament 3 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 2 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
We'll be bringing you more posts on the composition of the 41st Parliament, including a detailed look at immigrant MPs. We've crunched the numbers but we want to hear from you. What do the number of minority MPs say about the health of our Parliament? What do the changes in the numbers of visible minority MPs indicate?
*Of course there are a number of ways of thinking of diversity. In future posts we will be bringing you information on immigrants and Aboriginal people in the 41st Parliament. As always, if you have any comments or concerns, let us know through a comment below or by contacting us.