More women candidates than 2011, but far from parity: advocacy group
Marlene Leung, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, October 14, 2015 8:10AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 14, 2015 9:15AM EDT
There are more women running as candidates in this federal election than in 2011, but one advocacy group says the number still isn't high enough.
According to Equal Voice, a multipartisan advocacy group dedicated to electing more women, 33 per cent of the candidates for this election from the five major parties (Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, Green Party and the Bloc Quebecois) are women. That's up two points from the 2011 election, when the percentage of female candidates running was nearly 31 per cent.
The NDP is the party with the most female candidates at 43 per cent, according to Equal Voice. The Green party is next with 43 per cent female candidates, followed by the Liberals at 31 per cent, the Bloc Quebecois at 28 per cent, and the Conservatives with 20 per cent.
The non-partisan group Women In House has been co-ordinating annual trips to the House of Commons, so university students can shadow female MPs and Senators.
Law student Lana Belber, a former co-ordinator from Women In House, said the group aims to encourage women to enter politics and get elected.
"According to Equal Voice, it will take 45 years before we're at gender parity at this rate – that's 11 elections away," she told CTV Montreal. "I think most people would agree that's too long."
Belber said the annual trips to Ottawa give young women a taste of what life on the Hill is like.
"When you're there, the energy of Parliament is palpable, it's infectious. You see other women succeeding, and unfortunately the success stories you hear in the media are most often stories of men," she said.
In the Montreal riding of Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle, all of the candidates from the three main parties are women.
NDP candidate Isabelle Morin was 26 when she won the seat in the last federal election. She said she's worked hard over the last four years in Ottawa.
"Sometimes you have to build more your credibility as a young woman, you don't have a lot of experience. Your social network is not the same as a 50-year-old man," she said. "So you have to build your credibility, but I'm proud of my record in the past four years."
The Liberal candidate for the riding is lawyer Anju Dhillon. She said she's hoping to see a more diverse Parliament this election.
"It's a matter of equality. It's a matter of representing everybody equally. Women are about 50 per cent of the Canadian population at this time, and they're only about 20 per cent represented in Parliament," Dhillon said. "So it's very important to get more women in there so that we can give our perspectives on things as well."
The Conservative candidate for the riding, Daniela Chivu, did not respond to CTV's request for an interview. But the Conservative candidate in the neighbouring riding of Pierrefonds-Dollard, Valerie Assouline, said her party has given women a leading role in Ottawa.
"We have to see, not just the number of candidates, but the number of ministers that are women with the Conservative Party. We have more women ministers than in all the commonwealth countries, so this is important to note," Assouline said.
Election day is on Oct. 19.
With a report from CTV Montreal's Maya Johnson