Why the next elections need more women

With just a few days before we find out who will form Canada’s next government, it seems increasingly likely that we will end up again where we started.

Sure, it’s possible that Erin O’Toole’s Tories would end up with a plurality of seats, and that Justin Trudeau’s liberals could theoretically get the majority they wanted. But the safe bet is that we end up with another liberal minority government supported by the NDP. The only difference will be the $ 500 million that Canadians spent on this election and the opportunity it provided for the People’s Party of Canada to suddenly become relevant.

However, if it’s a status quo in terms of the makeup of Parliament, it shouldn’t be when it comes to who runs those caucuses. The fact that neither major party has been able to get anywhere near 40 percent of the popular vote in the last two elections speaks to the increasingly fractured and fragmented nature of Canadian politics. More importantly, it demands a major change: more women at the top.

In the nine leadership careers that the NDP, liberals and conservatives have carried out in the 21st century, not a single one has elected a woman. None of them have really come close either. Sheila Copps finished second behind Paul Martin in 2003But that was mainly because all the other candidates bowed down to her campaign giant (example: she got 6.1 percent of the vote).

In the race that selected Trudeau a decade later, she was again a woman who finished a distant second, with Joyce Murray taking 11.8 percent of the ranking. vote. And in the 2017 NDP leadership contest, Niki Ashton finished third. place. The best performance in the three main games could be that of Leslyn lewis, who received 20.5 percent of the vote on the first ballot at the 2020 convention that ended up anointing O’Toole as leader.

If we want the next federal election to be better than this one, we must hope that all three parties will improve on these results.

Chrystia Freeland’s position in the Liberal Party and with Canadians would seem to make her an obvious favorite for the Trudeau position. And while there are other potential candidates, including former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, Trudeau should move heaven and earth to make sure Freeland is his successor. Never mind the fact that he has so clearly earned it with his work on the pandemic, the trade war with Donald Trump, and many other key files. If Trudeau wants to be remembered as a feminist leader, handing over the reins to Canada’s most successful politics is a move he must make.

There are no equally obvious successors in the NDP and the Conservative Party of Canada, although the likes of Leah Gazan, Megan Leslie, Laurel Collins, Michelle Rempel-Garner, Lisa Raitt, and Christy Clark can make credible cases for their respective thrones.

But the impact of having more women in Canadian politics, and especially in leadership roles, is obvious. In July 2020 report, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London demonstrated how important it is to have more women in positions of political power and authority.

Their findings, which are based on more than 500 research papers, suggest that benefits range from reduced inequality and better access to social services to a more collaborative and inclusive leadership culture and even better outreach to constituents. . “When women can exercise political leadership in a way that is authentic to them,” write Rosie Campbell of King’s College and Shannon O’Connell of WFD, “there are gains not only for women and girls, but for all of society.” .

Canadians have been more than willing to elect women to the highest positions at the provincial level. In 2013, the prime ministers of six different provinces or territories, including Ontario and Quebec, were all women, and their success helped increase the number of women running for public office. But as University of Alberta political science professor Linda Trimble saying the late Anne Kingston in 2019, that success has not been replicated at the federal level. “The fact that no woman has been in a serious dispute to lead a party that has formed a government since (Kim) Campbell won the CP leadership in 1993 indicates the extent to which these organizations are old people’s clubs.”

Opinion: If there is to be another election in the next few years, hopefully one that is defined by some new faces and new voices, writes columnist @maxfawcett. #cdnpoli # elxn44

If we want to avoid a repeat of these elections and this campaign, those organizations have to change. That has to start with presenting an appropriately diverse pool of candidates, which is a hurdle that only one of the three major parties (the NDP) managed to overcome this time. The Conservative Party of Canada, which ran a two-thirds male candidate field, has the most work to do here.

But they all need to find ways to better uplift and support female leaders among themselves, and make sure the clubs they run are not yet dominated by those old men.

If there is to be another election in the next few years, hopefully it will be one that is defined by some new faces and new voices.


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