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Canadian Politics

A12(b) - Gender and Organizations of Canadian Civil Society

Date: Jun 5 | Time: 02:00pm to 03:30pm | Location: SWING 110

Chair/Président/Présidente : Manon Tremblay (University of Ottawa)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Joanna Everitt (University of New Brunswick Saint John)


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 is being submitted to the Canadian Politics and Gender and Politics Sections, but would also be of interest to the Political Behaviour Section.


Gender and Political Parties in Canada: Jeanette Ashe (Douglas College)
Abstract: This paper offers a brief history of the major parties and associated ideologies, then focusses on how candidate selection processes shape the gendered and sexualised make-up of the House of Commons. Parties are depicted as gatekeepers to elected office, with selection processes providing the key to understanding why the House looks the way it does. Who is and is not selected reflects parties’ gendered and sexualised selection practices and preferences for the male, heterosexual, cisgendered standard model candidate, exacerbated by the single member plurality electoral system where each party is restricted to nominating one candidate per constituency. Unlike many other advanced democracies, no Canadian parties use sex or LGBTQ+ quotas to ensure a minimum number of women and LGBTQ+ people are selected despite extant literature revealing such equality guarantees offer an immediate solution to the problem their underrepresentation. Lack of party sex and LGBTQ+ quotas, and the recent rejection of Bill C-237, The Candidate Gender Equity Act (An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act), in part stems from a long-held misconception that women and LGBTQ+ peoples’ underrepresentation is due to a lack of supply rather than a lack of demand. Political recruitment scholarship, however, reveals women and LGBTQ+ people come forward in enough numbers to fill half the candidacies, but parties disproportionately select men and heterosexual candidates. These findings emphasize the link between party organisations and women and LGBTQ+ peoples’ persistent parliamentary underrepresentation.


Gender and Public Opinion, Political Behaviour, and Voting in Canada: Amanda Bittner (Memorial University), Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant (Queens University)
Abstract: The study of voting behavior as we know it today emerged as a field of political science research in the 1950s, with the advent of contemporary survey research methodologies. Today, understanding how voters see themselves, political parties, and the economic, social, and political issues on public agendas are hugely important, and scholars from around the world have made important inroads into understanding the political psychology of attitude formation and behavior. Much of this literature has treated cis, heterosexual white men as the “default,” despite the fact that the world is filled with (mostly) other groups of citizens. Studies of the role of gender, sexuality, and race and ethnicity are increasingly present and provide us with important (and more nuanced) insights into the minds of voters. In this paper, we provide an introduction to the field of public opinion, political behavior, and voting using a lens of diversity, highlighting the various things we know about attitudes and behavior, and the things we have yet to understand fully.


Gender and Social Movements in Canada: Manon Tremblay (University of Ottawa)
Abstract: Social movements are sometimes regarded as actors alien to the Canadian political system, as if their field of action were limited to civil society. However, and this is the idea defended in this text, social movements contribute fully in Canadian political governance, notably by influencing social values and being involved in the public decision-making process and the implementation of public policy. Drawing on theories of social movements (in particular, the resource mobilization approach and the political process approach), this paper will examine this idea by focusing on two movements that have played a significant role in Canadian politics in recent decades: the women’s movement and the LGBTQ movement.


The Gender Dynamics of Interest Group Politics: The Case of Canada’s Debate on the Decriminalization of Prostitution: Francesca Scala (Concordia University)
Abstract: In Canadian politics, interest groups are said to provide an important vehicle for organizing, representing, and articulating the collective interests of society before government. They use a number of different strategies, such as direct lobbying, public campaigns, to influence governments to enact policies that benefit their members. However, while the theory of pluralism claims that all interest groups have access to power, research demonstrates that women, LGBTQ, and the poor face greater obstacles when trying to effect policy change. Using the case of the campaign to decriminalize prostitution in Canada, this paper explores how gender intersects with class, race and sexual orientation, to shape interest group politics and outcomes.