Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Janique Dubois (University of Ottawa)
Changer les choses de l’intérieur : le traitement des questions et des identités autochtones par les députés autochtones à la chambre des communes du Canada: Simon Dabin (Université de Montréal ) Abstract: La 42ème législature du Canada est historique sur le plan de la représentation des Autochtones au sein de la Chambre des Communes. L’élection fédérale de 2015 présentait un nombre record de candidats se déclarant autochtones (57), ce qui s’est traduit par l’élection d’un nombre tout aussi record de députés autochtones (10) et par la nomination de deux d’entre eux à des ministères. Depuis, un certain nombre d’action posé directement par ces députés (la remise en cause du nom de l’édifice « Langevin », les prises de paroles en langues autochtones ou encore le dépôt de la loi C-262 etc.) ou sous leur influence (réelle ou supposée), pourrait être défini par le concept de ce que certains auteurs ont appelé une « autochtonisation » des pratiques étatiques (Nadasdy 2018, 14 et 309). Cette autochtonisation consiste en des actions à l’intérieur des structures coloniales mais qui remettent en cause le statuquo constitutionnel, dans le but de transformer ces institutions au profit des Autochtones.
Se faisant, nous désirons vérifier un aspect de cette autochtonisation en procédant à l'analyse de contenu des discours prononcés en Chambre des Communes par ces députés autochtones, puis les comparer avec l'analyse de contenu des discours tenus par leurs collègues allochtones, lorsqu'ils parlent des questions autochtones. Notre objectif est de voir comment les Autochtones parlent d'eux mêmes et des enjeux qui concernent les Premières Nations, Inuit et Métis et s'ils offrent une dialectique différente de celle des allochtones.
Toward More Effective Indigenous and Minority Representation in Canada: Electoral Boundary Developments in Nova Scotia and Ontario’s Far North: Karen Bird (McMaster University) Abstract: In 2018, the provinces of Nova Scotia and Ontario each established independent commissions to make recommendations regarding electoral boundary review and the effective representation of specific minorities. In Nova Scotia, the commission considered the history and made future recommendations regarding exceptional ridings to promote the representation of Acadians and African Nova Scotians. In Ontario, the commission made recommendation that led to the creation of two new electoral districts in the far north, to improve the representation of Francophones and Indigenous peoples. This paper examines and compares these two cases, asking three questions. First, what were the political circumstances that gave rise to these commissions, and what do they tell us about the challenges of advancing exceptional ridings for minority and historically marginalized groups in Canada? Second, what are the experiences of members elected to represent these ridings, and what can they tell us about the practice of minority representation via special districts in Canada? Third, how do the dynamics of minority representation across three distinctive groups (Indigenous, francophone, and Afro-Canadian) compare? Specifically, how do group features related to mother tongue, geographical distance and isolation, and race impact group members’ expectations about representation, and shape the representative's role in the constituency and the legislature. Considered as a whole, this paper aims to draw lessons from these provincial experiments on how to make legislative assemblies more fairly representative of our population, while adding more diverse voices to our political discourse.
Aboriginal Representation Revisited: Alex Norman (University of Leeds) Abstract: Aboriginal people are not another kind of national group or ethnicity as they put an emphasis of the role of maintaining their particular customs as a self-defining element. Traditions are a way of defining their community in opposition to the historical colonisation they have endured. This colonial dimension is fundamental in the understanding what constitute the indigenous element of a community. Aboriginal representation is often imagined as, what Pitkin (1967) calls, descriptive representation having indigenous representatives in a political body, like for any other minority groups. However, by using a constructivist approach to representation by using Saward’s representative claim theory (2006; 2010), political institutions, like a parliament, can be discussed as representations themselves. Thus, allowing an aboriginal tradition integrated in an institution’s design to be regarded as transforming discourse around the latter. This paper addresses the question of institutional representation of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly, the parliament of the newest Canadian territory, Nunavut. It will explore how the integration of the Inuit Qaujimajatuqanjit (Inuit knowledge) into the Assembly makes the Assembly a representation in itself. It will show how the discourses within the Assembly and in its design, and the Assembly’s approach integrates indigenous tradition. The paper will discuss how the concept of indigeneity can be integrated into an institution and turn it into a representation. By doing so it will shed new light on the concept of representation as a construction and a new way to approach the conception of indigenous representation.
Mrs Mandela’s Bewilderment: Afrikaner Kindness and the Cruelty of Apartheid: Jeremy Hexham (University of Calgary) Abstract: In June 1981 Mrs. Winnie Mandela expressed her “bewilderment” at the kindness of individual Afrikaners who nevertheless strongly supported the “cruel and dehumanizing policy of apartheid.” She rightly described apartheid as “evil” because of the enormous harm created for indigenous Black Africans. Yet, she knew that many educated Afrikaners, who were in other respects “good people,” supported this system because they believed that in the long run it would benefit all South Africans. This paper explores Mrs. Mandela’s paradox which provides a classic example of false consciousness. Then, instead of accepting “false consciousness” as a natural occurrence it seeks to understand how past suffering, the nature of political organization, and cultural communications, blinded many Afrikaners to the grim reality of apartheid. The paper stands as a warning that the best intentions can go astray and that what may appear to be “deliberate untruths” are, as Marx recognized, often far more complex than is usually realized. It is therefore the task of political scientists not only to unmask such untruths, but to help the critics of unjust systems understand why sometimes people who defend injustices are not consciously deceiving themselves and others. The paper concludes by arguing that political communications are the key to understanding situations like this and that we need to revive the study of propaganda in all its forms.