Canada needs to legislate a maximum of 10% for any one occupation in House of Commons

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NorthReport
Canada needs to legislate a maximum of 10% for any one occupation in House of Commons

if we are going to seriously address inequality we need to limit the number for any one occupation to 10 per cent maximum in the House of Commons.

JKR

Canada needs to legislate a maximum of 10% for any one occupation in House of Commons?!?

Most lawyers would say that would be unconstitutional.

Rev Pesky

I'm curiouis, North Report. How would your proposal effect inequality?

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

I appreciate the sentiment behind this proposal, but then we wind up with the problem of what to do when more than 10% of one occupation (most likely lawyers) actually gets elected to the House of Commons.

Say that 20% of elected MP's on election night are lawyers. The election results in half these ridings would need to be declared invalid (presumably those where the candidates won by narrower margins). Then there would need to be new elections held in these ridings, with none of the candidates allowed to be lawyers.

I imagine that this scheme would not be very popular with voters, and it would serve to drive votes to whichever party campaigned most vigorously against it (most likely the Conservatives).

JKR

What are the odds that lawyers wouldn't take this to court?

Maybe we need to legislate a maximum of 10% for any one occupation on the Supreme Court?!?

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

JKR wrote:
What are the odds that lawyers wouldn't take this to court?

Yeah, odds are pretty good that lawyers would take this to court, as are the odds that they would win and the law would be declared unconstitutional.

progressive17 progressive17's picture

Trying to tinker with a political system based on competition is futile. Those who are backed by the most capital will always be able to outcompete the rest.  

Sean in Ottawa

Sorry this idea is a stinker. Completely unworkable in practice.

It overlooks the fact that people need choice for it to be an election.

Parties are encouraged to help their candidates to be diverse. To assume that occupation is the only issue of diversity is ridiculous. a little thought and it should be apparent just how much of a non-starter this is.

Also some occupations legitimately lead to skills that can be used by another. Understanding law is not entirely terrible for law-makers.... Also there are corporate lawyers, human rights lawers, international law lawyers, environmental lawers, criminal law lawyers.... So do we improve things by taking the first ten corporate lawyers and then say no to the social activist lawyer working in the field of human rights? Most aspects of life have a field of law associated.

I know it is popular to hate lawyers. But this is a super silly suggestion that is not even democratic. I do not want to be told -- oh sorry some place in another province elected the quoa of lawyers and while they are all right wing we are all full up so we cannot have the best candidate available.

You want to cut down on lawyers? Remove barriers to entry  -- often economic. Look at recruitment. But pay attention to the skills you want. This is not going to be proportionate across all fields. If we are to target any over-representation it likely would be by rich celebrities who are not as qualified rather than goingat people who have studied hard in a field and have something they want to propose to offer.

NDPP

There should indeed be an 'occupation' of that sold-out, criminal shithouse for the 1% that is the HoC. 

NorthReport

This is such a terrible idea.

Just imagine how bad it would be if working class people had fair representation in Canada's House of Commons!!!

6079_Smith_W

How about we get gender parity settled first.

Besides, there's an easy workaround to this that most of them are already doing. Sell your companies. Wouldn't be  that hard to stop being a member of any profession long enough to do this gig. So aside from the fact it is unworkable, and doesn't have clear benefits, the people it is designed to catch have ways around it.

Plus this kind of smacks of the same blind anti-elitism that landed Trump in the White House.

 

Sean in Ottawa

NorthReport wrote:

This is such a terrible idea.

Just imagine how bad it would be if working class people had fair representation in Canada's House of Commons!!!

What a silly response -- as if the only way to do that would be to put limits on individual occupations.

Sean in Ottawa

6079_Smith_W wrote:

How about we get gender parity settled first.

Besides, there's an easy workaround to this that most of them are already doing. Sell your companies. Wouldn't be  that hard to stop being a member of any profession long enough to do this gig. So aside from the fact it is unworkable, and doesn't have clear benefits, the people it is designed to catch have ways around it.

Plus this kind of smacks of the same blind anti-elitism that landed Trump in the White House.

 

You are largely correct although there are ways of getting more workign people in the House -- this just isn't it.

I totally agree that the issue of gender parity is easier and a greater priority than messing with occupations.

The thing is many of the measures that would address gender parity in terms of access woudl also address working people generally.

None of these involve some kind of quote on professions.

And many in a given profession are not always that similar to each other and unless you deal with access you will get the same class of people anyway.

This is a terrible idea trying to fix a problem with the wrong tool.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Just imagine how bad it would be if working class people had fair representation in Canada's House of Commons!!!

All people need to do is vote for those representatives.  Instead of 10% lawyers, the HoC could have 0% lawyers, if that's what Canadians actually want.

aside:  Many years ago, National Lampoon magazine used to feature a comic strip called "Of the People" -- the gist of it was that the POTUS was just another civil servant, who lived in a modest house with his mother, took the bus to work, held cabinet meetings in his living room (after borrowing enough chairs from his neighbours) and suchlike.  I hate to give NR new ideas tho.

NorthReport

Time to start thinking outside the box. Why not be supportive of both gender and minority representation at the same time? 

Good on Starbucks but they need to be unionized!

Starbucks Promises 100% Pay Equality for Women and Minorities

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-21/starbucks-promises-10...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Why not be supportive of both gender and minority representation at the same time?

I think most babblers are.

But by "minorities" I assume you mean ethnic or religious minorities, and not "tool and die makers" or "retail employees".  Just trying to keep this awesome thread on track is all.

WWWTT

Good idea North Report!

Or I should say it's a good starting point. Being an MP, regional councilor or lets just say politician is a full time occupation in itself.

Perhaps there's a way that people from the working class, the unsexy people that have to work for a living, can be better represented and/or their interests?

Sounds like communism to me and I'm all for it! As for the lawyers? Change the charter and provide free law school education to everyone, that way many more people will become lawyers and flood the market with cheap lawyers. That should fix em up.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Perhaps there's a way that people from the working class, the unsexy people that have to work for a living, can be better represented and/or their interests?

There's nothing stopping them from running for office right now.  Conversely, there's nothing specific about being a lawyer that makes you a shoe-in for an MP spot.

Also, there's still voting, if you want to be represented and/or your interests.

Quote:
As for the lawyers? Change the charter and provide free law school education to everyone, that way many more people will become lawyers and flood the market with cheap lawyers. That should fix em up.

I'm not sure why that would require tinkering with the Charter.

But if you want to punish them for earning too much and being too exclusive, develop an "Uber" for lawyers.  Worked on cabbies, right?

Is this some generic "half baked 'stick it to the man' ideas" thread?

What if we just take erryone who thinks they're better'n us and make them scrub toilets with Q-tips?  That's my idea for a better world.  Who's in?

NorthReport

Canada's House of Commons which is hardly common. Quite the misnomer, eh!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuTMWgOduFM

New Canadian study explains why working class should be angry

 

An angry (white) working class, which has not experienced the benefits of trade and globalization, provided Donald Trump with his margin of victory in a few key states that had not voted Republican in decades.

That's what most who analyzed the results of last Tuesday's vote are saying.

Highly unionized populations in places such as Erie County Pennsylvania and Macomb County Michigan were so disaffected and angry that they threw their lot in with a bizarre billionaire, whom they don't particularly like.

Trump's claim that he cares about the forgotten people, who have been penalized by bad trade deals, Wall Street and shadowy elites, may sound entirely disingenuous to many of us.

Nonetheless, it somehow worked with voters to whom the other side offered scant hope, once Bernie Sanders was out of the picture.

A newly released study by the Canadian Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) might explain some of that working class anger.

The study's innocuous sounding title is: Labour Productivity and Real Earnings in Canada, 1976-2014. But its conclusions are almost explosive.

It shows that in Canada, the productivity of labour -- the amount workers produce per unit of effort -- went up by over one per cent per year over the 38 years between 1976 and 2014.

The average worker's earnings, however, barely budged over that same period. The rise in wages was less than one-tenth of one per cent per year. Put differently, the rise in productivity was more than 10 times that of earnings.

In the U.S., the annual rise in productivity over the past three decades has been 1.63 per cent. During that same period, earnings, as in Canada, rose at a fraction of one per cent per year, at 0.15 per cent per year to be exact.

Hollowing out of the middle class

"Canadian labour is more productive than ever before," the CSLS study says, "But there is a pervasive sense among Canadians that the living standards of the 'middle class' have been stagnating."

The study's authors identify two factors that explain the gap between rising productivity and stagnant incomes.

One is the hollowing out of the middle class. For the period 1976-2014, there was a measure of income growth, but it was almost all at the bottom and the top of the earnings ladder.  The vast majority in the middle were left out.

The other factor is that the bosses have been keeping an increasing share of enhanced productivity for themselves. As the study puts it:

"Between 1976 and 2014, labour's share of aggregate income declined from 59.9 per cent to 53.3 per cent. This decline was accompanied by a corresponding increase in capital's share of income."

The study’s authors say that the concrete causes of these phenomena are outside their scope, but they do offer what they call plausible explanations for the hollowing out of the middle-income group and the decline in labour's share of total income.

They put the blame on globalization, technological change and institutional changes.

The growth of globalization has "allowed capital to seek the highest returns globally and, at the same time, has brought workers in Canada's traded goods sector into competition with the workers of low-wage countries." In other words, trade deals do indeed benefit corporations, but they often also weaken workers' rights with a race to the bottom.

Robotics and computer technology, the study's authors note, have replaced people with machines, eliminating production-line work, "computation-intensive white-collar work" and other routine technical tasks that once provided good middle-income jobs. Technological change has also weakened the bargaining power of workers, leading to an increasingly part-time, Uber-ized world.

And one of the biggest institutional changes has been a sharp decline in the unionization of workers. That decline has been steady in Canada, but much steeper and more dramatic in the U.S. 

Forces behind stagnating middle incomes are not likely to disappear

The Centre for the Study of Living Standards points out that the unequal distribution of income growth is neither an inevitable nor irreparable fact of life. The Centre's economists argue that it is not too late for "policy to be used to adjust that distribution." And the fact that productivity is growing, the study's authors say, should make the task of devising new policies easier, not harder.

"It is easier," the study says, "to ensure that everyone receives a larger slice of the pie when the pie itself is growing."

But that hopeful conclusion comes with a big caveat. The forces that cause stagnating middle incomes are, the study tells us darkly, "unlikely to disappear in the near future."

In the authors' words:

"If anything, the possibilities for further substitution of capital for labour are likely to expand with the advent of self-driving vehicles, self-service technology in retail, automated fast food preparation, and so on. At some point, policymakers will have to grapple with the implications of these changes for the living standards of the middle class."

The policy challenge the CSLS identifies is a serious one, which demands a multi-faceted response.

In the U.S., many voters were sufficiently impressed with the Trump campaign’s brutal and frank description of their economic malaise that they convinced themselves that Trump has serious solutions -- although the real estate developer and reality television personality never enumerated a single one. Rather than policies, he had a slogan: "Make America Great Again."

It will be interesting to see how Trump's working class voters react when he gives key roles in his administration to Wall Street insiders, corporate shills and neo-con ideologues, and then proceeds to implement one of his only tangible ideas: deep tax cuts for upper-income earners and corporations.

In Canada, we can still hope that when confronted with evidence of the sort we find in the CSLS study politicians might make an effort to come up with something more serious. 

Karl Nerenberg is your reporter on the Hill. Please consider supporting his work with a monthly donation SupportKarl on Patreon today for as little as $1 per month!

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/karl-nerenberg/2016/11/new-canadian-stud...

NorthReport

Karl Nerenberg and our long-term moderator Meg are two of Rabble biggest assets!   Tip of the hat to you both!

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I won't quote your whole post #19 but it doesn't appear that any of it has to do with making sure there are fewer lawyers, and more welders, in the HoC.

WWWTT

What if we just take erryone who thinks they're better'n us and make them scrub toilets with Q-tips?  That's my idea for a better world.  Who's in?

Sounds good to me! I’ll watch you do it first for half an hour and I’ll let you know. 

WWWTT

There's nothing stopping them from running for office right now.  Conversely, there's nothing specific about being a lawyer that makes you a shoe-in for an MP spot.

Also, there's still voting, if you want to be represented and/or your interests.

So in other words you’re saying “shut up and stop complaining, the government knows what’s better for you”

cco

Also, not to stand up for the evil lawyers or anything, but I have friends who are both lawyers and decidedly working-class. They don't hand out $500k/year jobs at the firm of Exxon, Satan, and Mulroney the day you graduate from law school.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Sounds good to me! I’ll watch you do it first for half an hour and I’ll let you know.

I was being facetious. 

 

But you're actually in favour?  LOL.

Quote:
So in other words you’re saying “shut up and stop complaining, the government knows what’s better for you”

No.  I'm saying that the electorate gets to choose the government that represents them.