chapter  9
23 Pages

Patterns of substantive representation among visible minority MPs: Evidence from Canada’s House of Commons

ByKAREN BIRD

Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to examine patterns of visible minority representation in the Canadian House of Commons.1 It asks whether visible minorities elected to Parliament make a difference in politics and, specifically, whether they substantively represent ethnic minority citizens by attending in Parliament to issues deemed important to such citizens. Corollary to this is a second question: whether non-minorities elected from constituencies that contain large visible minority populations also substantively represent minority constituents, or whether their legislative behaviour is distinctive from that of visible minority MPs. The chapter also investigates whether the legislative behaviour of visible minority MPs differs depending on their party membership, and depending on their gender. The data were drawn from legislative debates of the Thirty-ninth Canadian Parliament, which sat from April 2006 until September 2007.