British Journal of Canadian Studies

Protected black and Acadian electoral districts in Nova Scotia: a case study in institutionalised surrogate representation

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2021), 33, (1), 77–97.

Abstract

From 1991 to 2011, the political representation of the Acadian and black populations of Nova Scotia was ensured via four ‘protected ridings’ - electoral districts with population sizes well below median size created for their significant minority presence, a unique initiative that remains little examined in the literature. Through the reports of the electoral boundaries commissions, I examine the models of representation implicit in this system and use them to further the definition of surrogate representation presented by Jane Mansbridge, finding that what emerged was a system of institutionalised surrogate representation, wherein Acadians and African Nova Scotians throughout the province were represented by the representatives of the protected ridings. Beyond providing an overview of the unique Nova Scotian case, this paper also furthers the literature on surrogate representation by demonstrating that surrogate representation can be subdivided into two forms, which I categorise as ‘promissory/anticipatory surrogate representation’ and ‘gyroscopic surrogate representation’.

De 1991 à 2011, la représentation politique des populations acadiennes et noires de la Nouvelle-Écosse a été assurée par quatre ‘circonscriptions protégées’, des circonscriptions électorales dont la population est bien inférieure à la taille médiane et qui ont été créées pour leur importante présence minoritaire, une initiative unique qui reste peu étudiée dans la littérature. À travers les rapports des commissions de délimitation des circonscriptions électorales, j’examine les modèles de représentation implicites dans ce système et je les utilise pour approfondir la définition de la représentation de cause (surrogate representation) développé par Jane Mansbridge, en constatant que ce qui en est ressorti est un système de représentation de substitution institutionnalisé, dans lequel les Acadiens et les Afro-Néo-Écossais de toute la province étaient représentés par les représentants des circonscriptions protégées. En plus de fournir un aperçu du cas unique de la Nouvelle-Écosse, cet article fait également avancer la littérature sur la représentation de substitution en démontrant que la représentation de substitution peut être subdivisée en deux formes, que je catégorise comme ‘représentation de cause promissoire/anticipatoire’ et ‘représentation de cause gyroscopique’.

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Author details

Wigginton, Michael J.