Heritage candidates can get elected when voters cast their ballots along the heritage lines. As Bob Mok writes, voting for heritage may not be healthy for Canadian politics, as some candidates are under foreign influence, whereas others lack track records or political experiences.
Please refer to an earlier article for this series of discussions - http://096.ca/news/550866 , http://096.ca/news/558925 , and
Before we look into candidates of Chinese heritage in the upcoming Federal Election, we must have a discussion on its definition and impact. I have written on this topic after the last municipal election in October 2014 and I am repeating some of my thoughts here from that article.
As mentioned before, Incumbents have the advantage of having a performance record, human and business connections, and name recognition in the media so they are not in this category. As well, Canadian-born children of immigrants are really not “Heritage Candidates”. Their ties and status are severed from their parent’s culture to varying degrees.
In the Federal Election Arena, party candidates have to first become a nominee for the riding and ran through a preliminary contest. Nominees will sign up as many party members as possible and get them out to vote for them during the candidacy race. It is not uncommon to see riding membership for the party to balloon many folds during a candidacy race.
The nominees must first complete a very detailed application form and supply supporting documentations to the political party. This is done to check on the integrity of the nominee and save the party from any future embarrassments.
Heritage Candidates, with their linguistic (non-English or French) abilities, business, and community connections can gain a great advantage over others in ethnic enclaves. There are also unconfirmed practices of negotiations amongst heritage candidates resulting in the eliminating of some that do not see a reasonable chance of success. These are done either directly or through intermediaries at the pre-nomination stage to avoid the splitting of votes during the riding contest.
On many occasions, heritage candidates will be combined with “Star Power” or “Profession status” – both of these will attract votes from new citizens from the same heritage or country of origin as the candidate. In many cultures, respect is given unconditionally to certain professions – Doctors, Lawyers, Academic professors, etc over the candidate’s communication skills, political experience, and personal conduct.
Winning the riding nomination is not always a ticket to become a party candidate. The party leader can always “parachute” another “more suitable” candidate into the riding to take away the winner’s spot. This is the difference between the Canadian Federal Party system and that of the United Kingdom’s where this practice is not taken very lightly. The Canadian Leaders use this tool to keep control on “rebels” within their party and this is not fair to the party members who voted in the affected ridings.
Sometimes, foreign governments can plant their own “heritage candidate” for political gains. Cabinet posts are considered and handed out many times along Provincial and Heritage lines on “Political correctness”. If selected as Cabinet Ministers, they have a direct hand in making policies and laws that can provide political and business advantages to their country of origin.
For the voters who are voting for the “Heritage Candidates”, they do so to feel the sensations of “national pride” since many are still holding dual citizenships where permitted by their country of origin.
Voting along heritage lines is not healthy for Canada. Candidates must also get votes from outside of their own cultural groups. Many voters will continue to vote along party affiliations. Others should vote for those candidates with proven track records of commitment to the Community with adequate political experiences.
Next time, we will look into distribution of “Heritage” candidates for each province with a focus on those with an Asian or Chinese heritage.
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