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Diversifying Local Democracy: Participation and Equitable Representation of Visible Minorities in Municipal Government

March 1, 2018 at 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM

Location:A602 Loeb Building

Karen Bird
Professor of Political Science, McMaster University

In this talk, Karen turns to the local sphere, and discusses the institutional barriers to achieving diverse representation in municipal politics in Canada. She looks in particular at malapportionment of municipal wards in Ontario, and the impact on visible minority voting power in local politics. This research was recently cited in the Ontario Municipal Board’s ruling to overturn the City of Hamilton’s ward boundaries.

Karen Bird specializes in comparative politics, electoral systems, and women’s and ethnic minorities’ political representation. In 2010, she co-edited the book The Political Representation of Immigrants and Minorities: Voters, Parties and Parliaments in Liberal Democracies (Routledge), which presents a comparative examination of electoral participation, party choice, candidacy and parliamentary representation among visible minority and migrant-background voters across Europe and North America. Her current research looks at the design and impact of ethnic quotas for selected Indigenous and ethnic minorities in parliamentary elections across 30 countries worldwide. She has published several new articles and is presently organizing an international conference on this topic, to take place in Dec. 2018.

Sponsored by the Bell Chair in Canadian Parliamentary Democracy.