The Ontario Liberal Party has moved to allow only women to run for the nomination in more than 20 of its districts in an effort to improve gender equity in their group.
The party provided a list of 22 constituencies to Global News where it has made the rule change, including in the greater Toronto area, the Durham region and other parts of southern Ontario.
Janice Hebbert owns a business in downtown Oshawa, which is among those selected in the strategy. He said he would rather see the best candidate win, regardless of gender.
“I mean, we can run against men, in my opinion. We don’t have to exclude them to win, ”he said.
Others who went for a walk were more in favor of the move.
“Women have a different perspective on what is important, what is high priority, so I think we are more likely to put people first,” said Wenda Abel, who lives near Whitby, Ontario.
Margaret Egan, who lives west in Courtice, Ontario, said the rule change could influence her vote.
“I really feel like it’s good to have more women on the scene and [at] the table and come to the forefront, ”he said. “I really think it’s a good sign.”
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The effort aims to build a strong and diverse team before the June elections, according to the party, with a commitment to gender parity on their team by then.
“Many parties will talk about the fact that we need gender parity, but treat it as ambitious goals,” said Brian Johns, president of the party.
“Our leader, Steven Del Duca, has felt strongly that we needed real tools to make sure we could make it happen.”
Tim MacNeill, a political science professor at Ontario Technological University in Oshawa, said he believes the move is a positive change, but it doesn’t go far enough.
“In any democracy, you want elected representatives to resemble their populations and this is going to do that in some way,” he said.
MacNeill added that she would prefer a more holistic approach, with constituencies reserved not only for women but also for other underrepresented groups.
“You could have a highly qualified male indigenous candidate who comes from a low socioeconomic background; You can’t apply and then you end up with a privileged white woman who gets the job, ”he explained.
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Johns said that for now the focus is on gender parity for women and anyone who identifies as a woman.
“The discussion can go anywhere based on religion, skin color, all that; the fact is that we are talking about gender parity,” he said.
About 60 percent of the candidates nominated so far are women, Johns said, and about 70 percent of those women have benefited from the rule change.
Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party and Ontario’s NDP were contacted for comment by phone and email, but did not respond by the deadline.
Ontario’s 43rd election is scheduled for June 3, 2022.
List of female-only candidate districts:
-Don Valley West
-Humber-Black Creek River
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