Visible minorities make up roughly half of the population in Metro Vancouver. Despite this, their representation in municipal governments is very low, in partial contrast to provincial and federal levels of government, where representation is higher, although still not proportionate. This study documents this underrepresentation at the municipal level, investigates the sources of that underrepresentation and examines policy options to address it. In five case studies, the research looks at the impact of at-large versus ward electoral systems, varying rates of voter turnout, and the influence of incumbency on electoral chances of visible minority candidates. Drawing on these case studies and six subject matter interviews, the study then evaluates four policy options in the Metro Vancouver context: changing to a ward system for elections, education campaigns, civic engagement opportunities and the status quo.
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Thesis advisor: Gordon, Josh
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