With Ministerial mandate letters committing to diversity and calls to achieve gender parity in the Senate, a look at the previous appointments provides context.

Senate Appointments.001Upcoming Senate appointments will provide a test for the common wording in Ministerial mandate letters:

“You are expected to do your part to fulfill our government’s commitment to transparent, merit-based appointments, to help ensure gender parity and that Indigenous Canadians and minority groups are better reflected in positions of leadership.”

This, along with the push for gender parity and greater diversity in these appointments (see Trudeau urged to create gender-balanced Senate), means the Government and advisory panel will be judged partly by these objectives.

In that context, I thought it might be interesting to compare the Chrétien and Harper records with respect to diversity.

Chrétien, with his 75 appointments, achieved close to parity for women, with aboriginal peoples slightly over-represented. Visible minorities were under-represented, however.

Harper with his 57 appointments, in contrast, slightly over-represented visible minorities while under-representing women and aboriginal peoples (the fewer number of appointments over a comparable time period reflects his decision to stop appointing senators in response to the Duffy and other scandals).

We will see what PM Trudeau and the advisory body come up with.