Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Jacquetta Newman (King's University College - Western University)
Session Abstract: Palgrave-McMillian has contracted with Manon Tremblay and Joanna Everitt to produce an edited Palgrave Handbook of Gender and Canadian Politics. This new collection of articles by leading scholars in the field of gender and politics crosses all of the fields of Canadian politics and has as its primary objective the revisiting of the field of Canadian politics in light of gender (interpreted broadly, as inclusive of gender identities and performances (women’s femininities and men’s masculinities) and sexualities). This approach will result in an important resource for those researching and teaching in the discipline.
In order to ensure that the various papers in the Handbook gets feedback from all parts of the discipline we are submitting a proposal to hold four different panels at the CPSA Annual meetings in 2019. These panels can be cross listed between the Gender and Politics and Canadian Politics sections as well as the Political Theory, the Political Behaviour and the Public Policy sections. The four panels are outlined below with the abstracts following each proposed panel. Tremblay and Everitt will assist in organizing the panels by agreeing to arrange Chairs and Discussants for each section.
This panel involves just those papers which are appropriate to the Canadian Politics and Gender and Politics Sections.
Mobilizing Equality Through Canada’s Constitution and Charter: Milestones, or Missed and Even Mistaken Opportunities?”:: Alexandra Dobrowolsky (Saint Mary’s University) Abstract: In the early 1980’s process of “patriating” Canada’s constitution, a range of equality seekers mobilized, thereby shaping the contours of what would become an entrenched Charter of Rights and Freedoms and contributing to what many considered to be its ground-breaking contents. Soon after, even more substantive understandings of equality were tested and challenged in the courts by various actors from feminist groups and First Nations, to gays and lesbians, as well as advocates for persons with disability. Now, almost thirty years later, this paper will explore how the country’s lauded constitution and Charter hold up in light of: i) efforts to combat complex forms exclusion, especially around gender, sexualities, racialization, Indigenization and poverty, and ii) more intricate, intersectional approaches to politics. Ultimately, it will illustrate that, despite the early momentum, and subsequent reaching of multiple Charter milestones (including the recognition of sexual orientation as a prohibited ground for discrimination), constitutional struggles, in and beyond the courts, have reflected certain missed, and indeed, even some mistaken, opportunities when it comes to addressing structural inequalities and the needs of increasingly compounded collective identities.
Gender and Canadian Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations: Linda White (University of Toronto) Abstract: This paper examines the role that federalism and multilevel governance play in politics and policy making in Canada from a gendered perspective. The paper examines three questions: why does federalism matter in politics and policy making in Canada, particularly in areas related to social policy making; what is the constitutional basis of federal-provincial relations; and what effect does federalism have on the prospects for change to create a more gender equal society in Canada that includes both women/men, femininities/masculinities and sexualities (LGBTQ+ and so on)? The paper argues that the highly decentralized nature of the Canadian federation along with strong and autonomous federal and provincial governments (veto points and multiple veto players) makes coordinated policymaking challenging. It also allows for greater variation in policy between provinces and territories and across two orders of government, along with partisan-driven policymaking. This can lead to sub-optimal policy outcomes in a number of areas, including policies to support gender equality. The goals of this paper are to help students of politics understand the importance of the institution of federalism and multilevel governance in Canada as well as why those multilevel governance dynamics are so crucial to our understanding of politics and gender-based public policy making.
Gender and the Political Executive in Canada:: Joanna Everitt (University of New Brunswick - Saint John), JP Lewis (University of New Brunswick - Saint John) Abstract: The failure of Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals to win the recent Ontario election has left Canada with only one women serving as leader of a federal or provincial government, down from a record breaking 6 in the fall of 2013. Countering this turnaround is the much-publicized gender equal cabinet of the 2015 federal Liberal government (following on the heels of Rachel Notley’s cabinet in Alberta and followed by John Horgan’s cabinet in BC). These recent contradictory trends have resulted in an increased attention to questions of representation (including gender and sexual orientation) in political executives at both the national and provincial level. In our paper we will answer the question: What is the relationship between the political executive and gender in Canada? In answering this central question, we look to achieve three central objectives: 1) explain the basics on cabinet government in Canada, 2) present the history of women and sexual minorities as first ministers and in cabinet and 3) examine critical elements of cabinet and gender such as portfolio, tenure and cabinet committee membership. By considering both the normative and empirical aspects of the relationship between political executives and gender this paper will provide an understanding of the gendered, sexualized, and racialized dimensions of representation on the most powerful decision-making bodies in Canada.