In 2016, the newly elected Liberal government introduced reforms to the appointments system following well established partisan selections by previous governments. The government claimed that the new policy would provide Canadians with a more honourable, merit-based appointment process that would be free from political interference. This paper assesses the extent to which the objectives of the new policy came to fruition. The research examines the process of citizen participation by evaluating 1,168 Governor-in-Council (GIC) appointments made by the Liberal government to 204 federal institutions over the first four years of the program. The paper compares this group to 1,428 GIC appointments made by the former Conservative government during its final term in office. The research explores whether the reforms have changed the type and quality of appointments to federal organizations since the new system came into effect. The analysis uses the publicly available demographic information of geographic location, educational background, occupation, and gender for each appointee. This paper provides critical insight into current and future processes of citizen participation and discusses its implications for democratic politics in Canada. The research shows that the Liberal reforms did not improve the quality of appointments to federal organizations. The relevant demographic information for the Liberal appointees was similar to that of the Harper government, which meant the new changes tended to focus on representation rather than qualifications.
Master of Arts