This election will offer a record number of visible minority candidates. 13.9 percent of candidates from the three major parties are visible minorities, slightly below the number of visible minorities who are citizens.

Is the increased number of visible minorities being reflected in party candidates? Which ridings are these candidates running in? And do these candidates reflect the largest groups in their ridings?

Now that we know the names of all candidates, we can answer these and related questions.

But first, as a basis for comparison, how has women’s representation increased in 2015 candidates? The analysis by Equal Voice shows that overall representation from the 2011 election has slightly increased from 31 to 33 percent (still far away from equality), with the relative ranking of parties below.

Women Candidates 2015 Election

To assess visible minority representation I have used candidate names, photos and biographies to identify visible minority candidates. Although not as exact as identifying women candidates (e.g., subjectivity in analyzing photos), it nevertheless provides a reasonably accurate indication of how well Canadian political party candidates represent the population of visible minorities who are also Canadian citizens (15 percent).

Building on an earlier study by Jerome Black (“Racial Diversity in the 2011 Federal Election: Visible Minority Candidates and MPs”) showing the diversity in earlier elections, I went through the candidate lists using the criteria above, concentrating on the more diverse ridings.

Out of a total of 1014 candidates for the three major parties, 142 or 13.9 percent were visible minorities. The chart below shows a growth in visible minority candidates for the three major parties plus the Bloc.

VisMin Candidates 2004-2015.001

For the 2015 election, the Liberal party has the most visible minority candidates, slightly greater at 16 percent than the number of visible minority voters who are citizens. The Conservative party and the NDP have slight under-representation (13 percent) while the Green party has greater under-representation (11 percent). The Bloc québécois only appears to have a two visible minority candidates (under three percent of Quebec’s 78 seats).

The chart below provides the comparative numbers for each party in the 33 ridings that are more than 50 percent visible minority, broken down by gender.

VisMin Candidates Top 33 RidingsAdditional characteristics of these ridings, in terms of the candidates, include:

  • Out of the 99 candidates from the three major parties, 68 are visible minorities (over two-thirds). These account for just under half of the 142 visible minority candidates in all ridings.
  • 19 candidates are women (19.2 percent)
  • In 15 of these ridings, all major party candidates are visible minorities;
  • Only one riding, Scarborough Guildwood, has no visible minority candidates;
  • The Conservative Party has the most visible minority candidates (25), followed by the Liberal Party (24) and the NDP (19); and,
  • In general but by no means universally, many candidates come from the larger communities in these ridings, particularly South Asian ridings as this table 2015 Ridings with More than 50% Visible Minorities and Their Candidates shows.

Happy election viewing and seeing how these (and other) ridings go.

Photo: Canadapanda / Shutterstock.com