Only 25% of Canada’s MPs today are women. To get more
women elected, Fair Vote Canada does not propose any kind of quota system. In
fact, some FVC members oppose any kind of quota system: the choice is up to
with no quota system, a mixed member proportional system would let Canadian
voters elect about 44% women MPs, if voters want to. And they do: polls show that 90% of Canadian voters want to see more women elected. (I didn’t
set a 44% target; that’s how the numbers turned out, as shown below.)
I am not predicting this WILL happen. I am saying it COULD happen, if voters vote for women as they say they want to do. And it would happen naturally, as shown below.
Nova Scotia Liberals. In 2011, they happened to nominate men in all 11 ridings.
proportional system recommended by the Law Commission of Canada
were in effect
in 2015, Nova Scotia Liberals would nominate seven local candidates (in larger
ridings), and hold a regional nomination process to nominate as many as 12
regional candidates: the seven already nominated locally, and up to five more
regional-only candidates. Given seven men nominated for the seven local
ridings, would their regional nomination meeting, choosing up to five additional
candidates at once, nominate no women? They would surely nominate two or more additional
women, naturally, even without a parity quota system.
France’s Parity Law
In France, in 1996, women made up a very
low proportion of their National Assembly members: lower than in any other
European country except Greece.
prominent women politicians from both sides of the political spectrum published
a manifesto demanding that the concept of political parity be enshrined in the
French constitution. In the 1997 legislative elections, the number of women
députés dropped to less than 11%.
campaign caught fire. In 1999 France adopted constitutional amendments known as
,’ mandating that political parties put forward equal numbers of
male and female candidates. It has worked very well in the regional assemblies
and the municipal councils, all elected by proportional representation. In the
National Assembly it was difficult since they are all from single-member
districts, but still, various incentives have brought the number up to 26.9%.
Quebec likes the Parity Law
campaign echoed loudly in Quebec. When the Charest government proposed a mixed
proportional system in 2004, it included financial incentives for parties
presenting women as more than 40% of their candidates, as a temporary measure;
to terminate when women made up 50% of the members of the National Assembly.
proposal never proceeded. However, Quebec’s counterpart to Fair Vote Canada,
pour une démocratie nouvelle, proposes
a model of proportional
representation that would include Quebec’s own Parity Law. Again, it’s a mixed
proportional model with 78 local MNAs and 50 “top-up,” regional MNAs from eight
regional lists. But the lists must be “zippered” (alternating men and women),
four of them must start with a woman, and they are closed lists to stop the
voters upsetting the parity rule. And like the Charest plan, the MDN model has
financial incentives to present more women candidates in the local ridings.
Fair Vote Canada’s principles include “Fair
representation: To reflect in the legislatures the diversity of
society we must change the voting system and related laws to remove barriers to
the nomination and election of candidates from groups now underrepresented
including women, cultural minorities and Aboriginals.”
The “barrier” is the fact that all candidates today are
nominated one at a time, preventing party members from nominating a balanced
group. What nomination meeting, nominating five people, would choose to nominate
only one woman, or no cultural minorities?
Fair Vote Canada doesn’t propose a
Fair Vote Canada does not propose a Parity Law. However,
polls show that 90% of Canadian voters want to see more women elected.
women likely do?
If voters can vote for a local MP and for their favourite
of their party’s candidates for regional MP, how might women do?
prepared a simulation, on the votes cast in 2011 for those candidates, of
the 338 MPs to be elected in 2015, using the personalized mixed proportional system recommended by the Law Commission of Canada, with regions of about 14
MPs. Let’s see who I think could be
elected, if voters take the opportunity to elect more women. Grand total: 151 women, 190 men.
fewer, larger, local ridings, a handful of MPs actually elected in 2011 would
have failed to win local nominations. That’s why elected MPs are always nervous
of proportional representation. But this gives more choice for voters electing
regional “top-up” MPs. They will generally elect more women, as long as the
parties have nominated some women as regional candidates. In my simulation, I
assume they would.
From Central Toronto and Scarborough, with
13 MPs we will have five New Democrats, four Liberals, three Conservatives, and
a Green. Suppose the eight local MPs were New Democrats Jack Layton, Olivia
Chow, Peggy Nash, Mathew Kellway, and Rathika Sitsabaiesan; Liberals Bob Rae
and John McKay; and Conservative Roxanne James. Two regional Liberal MPs could
be Maria Minna and Michelle Simson (or Gerard Kennedy). Two regional
Conservative MPs could be Theresa Rodrigues and Harry Tsai (or Marlene Gallyot).
The Green could be Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu. (8:5)
From Northern Toronto and Etobicoke, with
12 MPs we will have five Liberals, five Conservatives, and two New Democrats.
Suppose the seven local MPs were
Liberals Carolyn Bennett, Judy Sgro, and
Kirsty Duncan; and Conservatives Joe Oliver, Mark Adler, John Carmichael and
Bernard Trottier. Two regional Liberal MPs could be Michael Ignatieff and
Martha Hall Findlay. The one Conservative regional MP could be Maureen Harquail
(or Priti Lamba). Two regional NDP MPs could be Mike Sullivan and Mary Hynes.
York and Durham Region’s 15 MPs will
be eight Conservatives, four Liberals and three New Democrats. Suppose the nine local MPs were Conservatives Peter
Van Loan, Julian Fantino,
Peter Kent, Lois Brown, Paul Calandra, Jim Flaherty, Bev Oda, and Chris
Alexander; and Liberal John McCallum.
Three regional Liberal MPs could be Mark Holland, Karen Mock, and Cynthia
Wesley-Esquimaux (or Bryon Wilfert). Three regional NDP MPs could be
Chris Buckley, Nadine Hawkins and Sylvia Gerl (or Trish McAuliffe). (6:9)
Peel—Halton’s 16 MPs will be eight Conservatives,
five Liberals and three New Democrats. Suppose the nine local MPs were Conservatives
Lisa Raitt, Bal Gosal, Robert Dechert, David Tilson, Mike Wallace, Stella
Ambler, Eve Adams, and Kyle Seeback; and New Democrat Jagmeet Singh. Five
regional Liberal MPs could be Bonnie Crombie, Andrew Kania, Navdeep Bains (or
Paul Szabo), Ruby Dhalla and Connie Laurin-Bowie. Two regional NDP MPs could be
Michelle Bilek and Waseem Ahmed. (7:9)
Hamilton—Waterloo—Niagara’s 18 MPs
will be eight Conservatives, five New Democrats, four Liberals and a Green.
Suppose the 11 local MPs were Conservatives Rob Nicholson, Diane Finley, Gary
Goodyear, Stephen Woodworth, Harold Albrecht, David Sweet, Dean Allison and Phil
McColeman; New Democrats David Christopherson and Chris Charlton; and Liberal Frank
Valeriote. Three regional NDP MPs could be Susan Galvao, Malcolm Allen, and Heather
Kelley (or Wayne Marston, Marc Laferriere, Bobbi Stewart or Nancy MacBain.) Three regional
Liberal MPs could be Karen Redman, Marie Bountrogianni, and Andrew Telegdi (or Bev
Hodgson, Andrew Gill or Dave Braden). The Green regional MP could be Cathy
Ottawa—Cornwall—Pembroke’s 11 MPs will
be five Conservatives, three Liberals, two New Democrats and a Green. Suppose
the seven local MPs are Conservatives John Baird, Pierre Poilievre, Royal
Galipeau, Cheryl Gallant
and Guy Lauzon (or Gordon O'Connor or Pierre Lemieux); Liberal Mauril Bélanger;
and New Democrat Paul Dewar. The two Regional Liberal MPs could be Anita
Vandenbeld and David McGuinty (or David Bertschi or Julie Bourgeois). The NDP
Regional MP could be Marlene Rivier. The Green Regional MP
could be Jen Hunter (or Caroline Rioux). (4:7)
London—Windsor—Bruce’s 14 MPs will be
seven Conservatives, four New Democrats, two Liberals, and a Green. Suppose the
nine local MPs are Conservatives Ed Holder, Dave MacKenzie, Gary Schellenberger,
Larry Miller, Patricia Davidson, Dave Van Kesteren, and Jeff Watson; and New
Democrats Irene Mathyssen and Joe Comartin. Two regional New Democrats could be
Brian Masse (or Brian White or Grant Robertson) and Ellen Papenburg (or Karen
Gventer.) Two regional Liberal MPs could be Glen Pearson and Kimberley Love (or
Gayle Stucke or Matt Daudlin). The Green regional MP could be Emma Hogbin.
Central and Mid-East Ontario’s 13 MPs
will be seven Conservatives, three New Democrats, two Liberals, and a Green.
Suppose the eight local MPs are Conservatives Tony Clement, Kellie Leitch, Daryl
Kramp, Rick Norlock, Barry Devolin, Patrick Brown, and Scott Reid (or Gord
Brown); and Liberal Ted Hsu. Three regional New Democrats could be Dr. Wendy
Wilson, Dave Nickle (or Michael McMahon), and Lyn Edwards (or Myrna Clark). One
regional Liberal could be Kim Rudd or Betsy McGregor. The Green regional MP
could be Valerie Powell (or Erich Jacoby-Hawkins). (5:8)
Northern Ontario’s nine MPs will be
four New Democrats, three Conservatives, and two Liberals. Suppose the six
local MPs are New Democrats Charlie Angus, Claude Gravelle, Carol Hughes and John
Rafferty, and Conservatives Greg Rickford and Bryan Hayes. The two regional
Liberal MPs could be Carol Hartman and Moe Comuzzi-Stehmann (or Anthony Rota). The
regional Conservative MP could be Lynne Reynolds. (4:5)
Ontario total: 52 women, 69 men.
Montreal-Laval’s 22 MPs will be nine
New Democrat MPs, six Liberals, four Bloc Quebecois and three Conservatives. Suppose
the 13 local MPs are New Democrats Thomas Mulcair, Hélène Laverdière, Alexandre
Boulerice, Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet, Hélène LeBlanc, Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe,
François Pilon, Rosane Doré Lefebvre, and Alain Giguère; and Liberals Justin
Trudeau, Denis Coderre, Stéphane
Dion, and Irwin Cotler (or Marc Garneau).
The regional Bloc MPs could be Gilles Duceppe, Maria Mourani, Daniel
Paillé, and Nicole Demers (or Vivian Barbot or Ginette Beaudry.) The regional Conservative MPs could be Gérard
Labelle, Larry Smith, and Svetlana Litvin. The regional Liberal MPs could be Marlene
Jennings and Lise Zarac (or Karine Joizil or Eva Nassif). (10:12)
Rive-Sud—Suroît’s 12 MPs will be seven
New Democrats, three Bloc, one Liberal and one Conservative. Suppose the seven
local MPs are New Democrats Sadia Groguhé, Pierre Nantel, Matthew Dubé, Marie-Claude
Morin, Hoang Mai, Anne Minh-Thu Quach, and Jamie Nicholls. The three regional
Bloc MPs could be Carole Lavallée, Carole Freeman and Luc Malo. The regional
Liberal MP could be Alexandra Mendès. The regional Conservative MP could be Jean-Guy
Dagenais (or Nicole Charbonneau Barron). (6:6)
The 15 MPs from Laurentides--Lanaudiere—West
and North Quebec will be nine New Democrat MPs, three Bloc MPs, two
Conservatives and one Liberal. Suppose the nine local MPs are Françoise Boivin,
Nycole Turmel, Pierre Dionne Labelle, Manon Perreault, Romeo Saganash, Francine
Raynault, Christine Moore, Mathieu Ravignat, and Charmaine Borg. The three
regional Bloc MPs could be Pierre Paquette, Johanne Deschamps and Monique Guay.
The two regional Conservative MPs could be Lawrence Cannon and Lucie Leblanc (or
Nancy Brassard-Fortin). The regional Liberal MP could be Marcel Proulx. (9:6)
The 11 MPs of
Estrie—Montérégie-Est—Centre-du-Québec—Mauricie will be five New Democrats,
three Bloc MPs, two Conservatives, and Liberal. Suppose the seven local MPs are
New Democrat MPs Robert Aubin, François Choquette, Ruth Ellen Brosseau, Jean
Rousseau, and Pierre Jacob; Bloc MP Louis Plamondon ; and Conservative MP Christian
Paradis. The two regional Bloc MPs could be France Bonsant and Paule Brunelle
(or André Bellavance). The regional Conservative MP could be Mélisa Leclerc.
The regional Liberal MP could be Francine Gaudet (or Denis Paradis). (5:6)
The 18 MPs of Quebec City and East
Quebec will be seven New Democrats, five Conservatives, four Bloc MPs and two
Liberals. Suppose the 11 local MPs are New Democrats Raymond Côté, Anne-Marie
Day, Alexandrine Latendresse, Élaine Michaud, Jonathan Genest-Jourdain, Dany
Morin, and Guy Caron; Conservatives Maxime Bernier, Steven Blaney and Denis
Lebel; and Bloc MP Jean-François Fortin. The regional Conservative MPs could be
Josée Verner and Sylvie Boucher. The regional Bloc MPs could be Christiane
Gagnon, Robert Bouchard and Danielle-Maude Gosselin. The regional Liberal MPs could be Nancy
Charest and Jean Beaupré. (8:10)
Total Quebec MPs: 38 women, 40 men.
The Lower Mainland’s
26 MPs will be 12 Conservatives, eight New Democrats, five Liberals, and a
Green. Suppose the 16 local MPs are Conservatives Kerry-Lynne Findlay, James
Moore, Ed Fast, Alice Wong, Nina Grewal, Wai Young (female), Randy Kamp, Andrew
Saxton, John Weston, Russ
Hiebert (or Mark Warawa) and Mark
Strahl; New Democrats Libby Davies, Jinny Sims, and Peter Julian; and Liberals Joyce
Murray and Hedy Fry. Five regional NDP MPs could be Don Davies, Gwen O'Mahony, Kennedy
Stewart, Karen Shillington (or Meena Wong or Susan Keeping), and Fin Donnelly (or
Jasbir Sandhu). Three regional Liberal MPs could be Ujjal Dosanjh, Sukh
Dhaliwal, and Wendy Yuan (or Pam Dhanoa or Taleeb Noormohamed). One regional
Conservative MP could be Dona Cadman (or Diana Dilworth, Deborah Meredith, Trang
Nguyen (female), Mani Fallon, Jennifer Clarke, or Irene Yatco). The regional
Green MP would no doubt have been Adriane Carr. (13:13)
The BC Interior’s nine MPs will be
five Conservatives, three New Democrats and a Green. Suppose the six local MPs
are Conservatives Cathy McLeod, Ron Cannan, Dan Albas, Bob Zimmer (or Dick
Harris) and David Wilks (or Colin Mayes); and New Democrat Nathan Cullen. Two
regional NDP MPs could have been Lois Boone and Alex Atamanenko. The regional
Green MP could have been Alice Hooper. (3:6)
seven MPs will be three New Democrats, three Conservatives and a Green. Suppose the four local MPs are New Democrats Denise
Savoie, Jean Crowder, and Randall Garrison; and Conservative John Duncan. The
two regional Conservative MPs could be James Lunney and a woman regional
candidate (or Gary Lunn or Troy DeSouza). The regional Green MP is, of course,
Elizabeth May. (4:3)
BC Totals: 20 women, 22 men.
Metropolitan Calgary’s 11 MPs will be
seven Conservatives, two Liberals, one New Democrat and one Green. Suppose the
seven local MPs are Conservatives Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney, Michelle Rempel,
Diane Ablonczy, Blake Richards, Deepak Obhrai, and Lee Richardson. The two
regional Liberal MPs could be Jennifer Pollock and Janice Kinch (or Josipa
Petrunic or Cam Stewart). The regional New Democrat MP could be Holly Heffernan.
The regional Green MP could be Heather MacIntosh.
Metropolitan Edmonton’s 11 MPs will be
seven Conservatives, three New Democrats and a Liberal. Suppose the seven local
MPs are Conservatives Rona Ambrose, Tim Uppal, James Rajotte, Laurie Hawn, Brent
Rathgeber, and Mike Lake; and New Democrat Linda Duncan. The two regional NDP
MPs could be Ray Martin and Nadine Bailey. The regional Liberal MP could be Mary
MacDonald. The regional Conservative MP could be a regional woman candidate (or
South and North Alberta’s 12 MPs will
be nine Conservatives, two New Democrats and one Liberal. Suppose the eight
local MPs are Conservatives Kevin Sorenson, Ted Menzies, LaVar Payne, Earl
Dreeshen, Rob Merrifield, Chris Warkentin, Brian Jean, and Jim Hillyer. The
regional Conservative MP could be a regional woman candidate. The two regional
New Democrat MPs could be Jennifer Villebrun and Mark Sandilands. The regional
Liberal MP could be Karen Young.
Alberta Totals: 14 women, 20 men.
Saskatchewan’s 14 MPs will be eight
Conservatives, five New Democrats, and one Liberal. Suppose the nine local MPs
are Conservatives Gerry Ritz, Lynne Yelich, Andrew Scheer, Kelly Block, Ed
Komarnicki, David Anderson, and Garry Breitkreuz; New Democrat Nettie Wiebe; and
Liberal Ralph Goodale. The four Regional NDP MPs could be Noah Evanchuk, Darien Moore, Lawrence Joseph, and Valerie Mushinski (or Denise Kouri). The regional
Conservative MP could be a regional woman candidate.
Saskatchewan totals: six women, eight men.
Manitoba’s 14 MPs will be eight Conservatives,
four New Democrats, and two Liberals. Suppose the nine local MPs are
Conservatives Shelly Glover, Vic Toews, Candice Hoeppner (now Bergen), Steven
Fletcher, Joy Smith, Merv Tweed, and Joyce Bateman; and New Democrats Pat
Martin and Niki Ashton. The two regional Liberal MPs could be Anita Neville and
Kevin Lamoureux. The two regional New Democrat MPs could be Rebecca Blaikie and
Jim Maloway (or Rachelle Devine). The regional Conservative MP could be Ann
Manitoba totals: eight women, six men.
Nova Scotia’s 11 MPs will be four
Conservatives, three New Democrats, three Liberals, and a Green. Suppose the
seven local MPs are Conservatives Peter MacKay, Gerald Keddy, and Scott
Armstrong; New Democrats Megan Leslie, Peter Stoffer, and Robert Chisholm; and
Liberal Rodger Cuzner. The two provincial Liberal MPs could be Scott Brison (or
Geoff Regan) and a woman provincial candidate. The provincial Conservative MP could
be Wanda Webber. The provincial Green MP could be Sheila Richardson.
Nova Scotia totals: four women, seven
New Brunswick’s 10 MPs will be five
Conservatives, three New Democrats, and two Liberals. Suppose the six local MPs
are Conservatives Rob Moore, Keith Ashfield, Tilly O'Neill Gordon, and Mike
Allen; New Democrat Yvon Godin; and Liberal Dominic LeBlanc. The two provincial
New Democrats could be Shawna Gagné (or Susan Levi-Peters) and Rob Moir. The
provincial Liberal MP could be Kelly Wilson (or Jean-Claude D'Amours). The
provincial Conservative MP could be Bernard Valcourt (or Evelyne Chapman).
New Brunswick totals: three women, seven
Newfoundland and Labrador’s seven MPs
will be three Liberals, two New Democrats and two Conservatives. Suppose the
four local MPs are Liberals Judy Foote and Gerry Byrne, New Democrat Jack
Harris and Conservative Peter Penashue. The provincial Liberal MP could be Siobhan
Coady (or Scott Simms). The provincial New Democrat MP could be Shelley Senior
(or Ryan Cleary). The provincial Conservative MP could be Fabian Manning.
Newfoundland and Labrador totals:
three women, four men.
PEI’s four MPs will be two
Conservatives and two Liberals. Suppose the two local MPs are Conservative Gail
Shea and Liberal Lawrence MacAulay. The provincial Conservative MP could be Mike
Currie (or Donna Profit). The provincial Liberal MP could be Wayne Easter.
PEI totals: one woman, three men.
From Western Arctic: Dennis Bevington,
NDP; Sandy Lee (female), Con.
From Nunavut: Leona Aglukkaq, Con;
Paul Okalik, Lib.
From Yukon: Ryan Leef, Con; Larry
Territories total: 2 women, 4 men
Grand total: 151 women, 190 men.
Note: only five of these women are hypothetical
regional-only women candidates.
Note: the federal NDP constitution requires that gender parity apply when electing Officers, Executive members, and Council members. The Council shall create rules and procedure for the nomination of federal candidates. When several regional candidates are nominated at once under the MMP system, undoubtedly gender parity will apply. If the NDP gets eight MPs in a region, and elects three men locally, the five regional MPs will have to be the four women and the one man not winning a local seat, assuming the three local men were among the top eight on the regional list, unless NDP voters use their personal votes to move a fifth woman into the top eight, which could well happen.