Critical Summary of “Why Group Representation in Parliament Is Important” by Tim Schouls Essay

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Critical Summary of “Why Group Representation in Parliament Is Important” by Tim Schouls

Tim Schouls in his essay, “Why Group Representation in Parliament Is Important,” argues that the parliamentary representation in Canada is unfair because it doesn’t represent Canada’s social diversity as a whole. He believes that democracy in Canada can be considerably deepened and enhanced when the composition of the House of Commons substantially reflects the social diversity of Canada (for example, Aboriginals, ethnic minorities, visible minorities, gays etc. ) instead of geographical diversity (constituencies).

He asserts there’s a big change taking place in Canadian politics; attachment to geography, language, and religion are becoming less important to Canadians while attachments to ethnicity and gender are becoming more significant. Therefore, it’s legitimate to call for a system that reflects this change. The main objective of democracy in a country is to form a parliament that represents its people. But Mr. Schouls complains that in the parliament Canadians are overwhelmingly represented by privileged white males from professional and business background, which undermines the interests of rest of the population that don‘t fit the category.

In response to Mr. Redekop’s argument, which states that MPs get elected simply because they are better than their opponents in capturing the vote, Mr. Schouls argues that winning more votes doesn’t necessarily mean better services from the MPs. We elected members of parliament so they can serve us well. Marginalized people in the society will be better represented by those who are like them because their identities carry with them distinctive experiences that are different from white male MPs. Marginalized people can achieve this goal though special guaranteed seats in the parliament. Mr. Schouls then counters Mr.

Redekop`s argument, which claims that by paying more attention to gender and ethnicity-based claims to inclusion will farther fuel division amongst Canadians, by saying that unlike the Quebec separatists, which is based on a geographic identity, marginalised people are not asking for separation from Canadian democracy, but rather to be more fully included within them. John H. Redekop, in his essay, “Group Representation in Parliament Would Be Dysfunctional for Canada,” argues that identity-based group representation in Parliament, with guaranteed seats, is neither desirable not workable in Canada.

One of the problems involving this system is that it’s often hard to categorize individuals into different groups. For example, what proportion of Aboriginal blood or French blood is required to be categorized as an Aboriginal or a French-Canadian; who decides who’s who; what about those who identify themselves with multiple identity? Identity-based representation can created tension within a particular group due to lack of representation from sub-groups (e. g. , Indian Muslims vs. Indian Hindus vs. Indian Sikhs). Moreover, it is impossible to accommodate representative from every ethnic background in the House of Commons.

Mr. Redekop argues that voters can be represented well without having to elect someone who shares same ethnicity or gender by electing someone who’s competence. He also says that MPs representing ethnic diversity will have little influence in the Parliament due to their small size, which would consistently create minority government, which in turn will result in political and economical instability. Our current single-member district electoral system creates stability and accountability in the government by producing majority governments.

Then he argues that simply the ability to represent is not the primary qualification to become an MP, which explains why most female voters vote for candidate or party believed to be the best option or most favourable to them. In a identity-based representation those who are elected to guaranteed seats, Mr. Redekop believes, would be deemed to be second-class MPs because they are elected with special governmental facilitation. As a result, they be less effective in the Parliament. Though, he does recognize that the current system is highly unrepresentative. Having rejected Mr.

Schouls idea of identity-based group representation Mr. Redekop suggests that the problem of under-representation can be solved by having half of the House of Commons seats filled by our present form of election, which would enable all Canadians to retain the benefits of having their own MP, and having the other half being filled by a proportional representation system, which would promote unity and goodwill, for example, by allowing a nationally victorious party to have at least some representation from a province where it got a large number of votes but did not come first in any riding. In agreement with Mr.

Redekop, I support the dual electoral system because I recognize that the current system is highly unrepresentative but having an identity-based electoral system will be chaotic. People are more concerned with issues like economy and healthcare than who they are being represented. The question is what they are representing? Canada’s ethnic groups (except French-Canadians) and women are dispersed throughout the country; therefore, it will be difficult for a MP to represent the values and needs of members living in different geographic locations because it’s very likely that their values and needs will be different from each other.

By having a dual electoral system, a combination of single-member district and identity-based representation, we can experiment with the system and see if we can find a solution to the problem of under representation. Having said that, I also think that Mr. Schouls also has a point. Of course, it will be hard to make sure that all the identity-based groups are represented in the Parliament but we should try the best we can and minimize lack of representation.

Mr. Redekop argues that MPs representing ethnic diversity will have little influence in the Parliament due to their small size then he also argues that these groups will become special interest groups in parliament, which are conflicting ideas. Why would anybody or corporation try to influence a group that has no influence in the parliament? Moreover, it likely that special interests would try to influence big parties because they’re more influential. Mr.

Redekop blames women for not having more members in the Parliament, though indirectly, by saying that “most female voters, just like most male voters, tend to vote for the candidate or party that they believe to be the best of the options,” which implies that women are not typically the best options; otherwise, we would have had many more women in the Parliament. Yes, most women do vote sensibly and usually they cast their vote for the male candidates, not because they’re the best choice but because they don’t have a choice.

Not many women run for seats in the Parliament because it takes a lot of money to run a campaign and women tend to be less stable financially due to discrimination in our society. Therefore, it’s important that about 51% (the approximate percentage of the number of women in Canada) of the parliamentary seats are kept reserved for them. Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 252 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006).

252 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 254 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 253 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 257 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006).

263 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 261 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 265 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 266 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006).

272 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 267 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 268, 274 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 269, 271 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006).

271 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 265 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 268 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 273 Mark Charlton and Paul Barker, Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (Fifth Edition), (Nelson 2006). 269.

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