John Lornic had an interesting piece on Spacing.ca earlier this week looking at the relative paucity of diverse members of Toronto municipal government. While highlighting notable exceptions (women are better represented at the municipal level than higher levels), Lornic points out that:
“the absence of mainstream women and/or visible minority candidates from the ballot is troubling, and underscores a trend identified by Dave Meslin at betterballots.to.”
Note: Check out betterballots.to for some nice breakdowns of the representativeness of Toronto government
While Mayoral candidates such as Sarah Thompson might debate their classification as not “mainstream,” I agree with Lornic and Meslin’s points: given the diverse composition of Toronto’s population, certain sub-populations are significantly underrepresented within government. What is the reason for this? Lornic throws a couple of possibilities on the table,
“So what gives with the megacity? It is the fundraising demands? The media cauldron that is the lot of the mayor of the City of Toronto? Or the prospect of dealing with the dunderheads who’ve been clogging the arteries of council for years?
All possibilities, and I think a combination of these factors is likely. There is, however, something deeper at play here. During grad school I undertook a little research looking at employment equity in Ontario municipalities. I was trying to see if any vestiges of the sort lived Employment Equity Act put in place under the Rae government had hung on over the years.