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City council representativeness and local dynamics:

Montreal and Vancouver


October 25, 2013
Wendy Cukier, MA, MBA, PhD, DU (hon), LLD (hon), M.S.C.
Vice President, Research and Innovation
Founder/Director, Diversity Institute
Ryerson University

AGENDA

Purpose
Background
Project Scope
Findings
Towards inclusive municipal politics
Conclusions and Recommendations

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BACKGROUND
CURA DiversityLeads five year SSHRC project
to benchmark and assess progress towards
diversity in leadership
examine barriers at the individual, organizational
and societal levels
develop an integrated approach across groups,
sectors, and levels for sustained change

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Why diversity among municipal elected officials?


shapes political priorities (Bird 2007),
addresses issues relevant to underrepresented
populations (Siemiatycki & Saloojee 2002)
Signals inclusiveness and opportunities (Cukier et al
2011)
Concerns over quality of local democracy (Bird 2011)
Expansion of municipal role into new policy areas with
profound effect on diverse groups (Good 2009)
Accessibility of municipal politics compared to other
levels (Bird 2011)

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Greater Montreal ranked second and


Vancouver third as immigrant destinations in
Canada
VMs account for nearly two-thirds (64.8%) of
recent immigrants in Montreal CMA; and 69%
in Vancouver CMA (StatsCan 2006)
Distinction between immigrants and VMs
Local partisan systems in both municipalities

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PROJECT SCOPE
Examined 3,025 elected officials in selected areas of
Greater Montreal in 2011-2012
SPARC B.C. examined 2,274 elected officials in Greater
Vancouver in 2010
Sub-sectors: Municipal, Provincial, Federal, school
boards
Proportion of visible minorities in sample areas:
Greater Montreal - 22.5%
Greater Vancouver - 51%

Used publicly-available information to determine


demographic profile of leaders
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FINDINGS
Elected officials in Greater Montreal, 2011-2012
Elected officials
sub-category
Municipal
councillors
Members of Q.C.
National Assembly
Members of
Parliament
School board
trustees
Total elected
officials

No.
Percent
Percent
Total analyzed analyzed Percent Percent
VM
sample for VM
for VM
VMs
Women Women
278

268

96.4%

3.4%

33.1%

1.5%

38

38

100.0%

15.8%

39.5%

7.9%

24

24

100.0%

29.2%

41.7%

16.7%

162

160

98.8%

7.5%

45.1%

3.1%

502

490

97.6%

6.9%

37.8%

3.3%

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Elected officials in Greater Vancouver , 2011


Elected officials subcategory

Total
Sample

No.
Percent
analyzed Analyzed
for VM
for VM

Percent
VMs

Percent
Women

Municipal councillors

46

46

100.0%

21.7%

37.0%

Members of B.C.
Legislative Assembly

40

40

100.0%

25.0%

37.5%

Members of Parliament

19

19

100.0%

31.6%

42.1%

School board trustees

34

34

100.0%

30.3%

50.0%

Total elected officials

139

139

100.0%

26.1%

41.0%

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Variation between levels


Low VM representation at municipal level
absence of voting rights for legal resident non-citizens
(Bird 2004)
Incubency linked to VM disadvantage in single
member districts with first-past-the-post system(Bird
2005; Simard 2008)
At-large voting system in Vancouver found to dilute
votes of VM citizens and reduce electability of VM
candidates (Smith 2011)
Low information context at municipal level (Bird 2011)

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Variation in VM representation between elected officials in Canadas


largest metropolitan areas
% VM elected officials
% VMs in sample pop.

Montreal municipal and school boards


Montreal federal and provincial
Vancouver municipal and school boards

Vancouver federal and provincial


Toronto municipal and school boards
Toronto federal and provincial
0%

10%

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20%

30%

40%

50%

60%

VM underrepresentation in Greater
Montreal
Homogenization of local political organizations with
similar names and promises (Collin 2011; Latendresse
& Frohn 2011)
Highly personalized local political discourse means
tendency for voters to rely on name recognition (Collin
2011; Latendresse & Frohn 2011)
Municipal amalgamation in Montreal linked to reduced
opportunities for new candidates (Andrews et al. 2008)
French language may be additional obstacle for
minorities in Montreal (Simard 2003)

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TOWARDS INCLUSIVE MUNICIPAL


POLITICS

Individual

Group

Organizational

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Sector

Social
Environment

Societal level
Electoral systems
Citizenship regimes and immigration avenues
Images of leadership

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Organizational level
What gets measured gets done: Targets for
under represented groups
Targeted Recruitment and Outreach
Coaching and Mentoring
Succession Planning and Apprenticeship
Training Programs
Assistance with Mechanics and Machinery
High Profile Endorsements
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Individual level
Improve voter knowledge through media
coverage and information context of
municipal elections
Not just a pipeline issue
Evidence that VMs disproportionately less
successful when they run as candidates compared
to other groups (Bird 2011)

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CONCLUSIONS &
RECOMMENDATIONS
To improve political inclusion of VMs in municipal
office, barriers must be addressed at the social,
organizational, group, and individual levels
Key barriers are incumbency, Winner takes all
party politics in at-large electoral system
Need to examine in greater detail social
composition of local political parties and
strategies to improve inclusion of diverse groups
in municipal office
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CONTACT
Diversity Institute
Ted Rogers School of Management
Ryerson University
http://www.ryerson.ca/diversity
diversityinstitute@ryerson.ca
416-979-5000 ext. 7268

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