Saturday, May 16, 2009

It’s a man’s legislature

A record number of women were elected on Tuesday. Twenty-three out of 85 is not a great record. Just over a quarter of the seats are now held by women. Except for a brief stretch from December 1999 to April 2001 this is the highest percentage of women ever.
This effort was hard fought. The NDP made a particular effort to run female candidates, running over 40 women. The BC Liberals ran two dozen women. Fourteen ridings had women for both the Liberals and NDP. That means only nine women won in the other 71 seats. Although both parties went out of their way to run female candidates in some of the safer seats, many female candidates were thrown to the wolves to drive up each party’s respective number of women. The BC Liberals ran several women in East Vancouver while the NDP did the same in the Okanagan.
That’s not to say there has not been progress. In 1986 there were only nine women elected to the then 69 seat legislature. Two more were elected in by-elections while another, Kim Campbell, resigned to seek federal office. In 1991 the NDP win saw 19 women elected across 75 ridings. Five years later 20 women were elected and two more won by-elections that term. In 2001, 19 women were elected in 79 seats. In 2005, 16 women were elected. One more was elected in a by-election. Carole Taylor resigned with less than five months left in her term.
We are also doing better than most other parts of the country. As a percentage of seats, B.C. has more women than all provinces except Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Quebec Premier Jean Charest also has the distinction of having a cabinet whose membership is 50% women.
Electing more women than ever before is a good sign. B.C. has come a long way since making Mary Ellen Smith the first woman cabinet minister in the British Empire. There is still much more progress that is needed. The NDP’s quota system for running more women has now been tried. There was a slight improvement.
As the parties work towards the next election they should seek out women candidates not just for safe ridings and no hopers but do what the NDP did in Burnaby where three women were recruited in battleground ridings. A bit of support and a lot of hard work can lead to women winning close seats, much like how men win safe seats. Equality of opportunity might be all we need.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NDP tried the concept and it obviously failed to deliver.

They should abandon this silly concept of protecting ridings for women nominees only, and locate quality women with leadership qualities.

Selection of the candidate is not iddeally based on anatomy, but rather the quality of the individual.

It should be up to the riding's membership to decide without any barriers.

Is this not supposed to be equality which is what women wanted in the first place?

If the girls are to have equality they need to compete on the same ice as the boys.

If there's recruiting it should be based on community merit, rather than gender.

5/16/2009 9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This example of reverse discrimination is in part why the Libs increased their majority.

Since I am not a supporter of the NDP I hope they continue the policy to the next election and I hope someone will sell them on the idea it was successful this time around.

5/17/2009 12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Liberals didn't increase their majority because of the NDP's gender restrictions on nominations.

People wanted the BC Liberals for stability.

But it will be interesting to see
if the NDP continues with their
affirmative action when it comes to
nomination of candidates.

5/17/2009 7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe in part it was a reason why the NDP lost so badly.

It watered down the quality of their candidates. If it wasn't the cause then maybe the NDP has a problem attracting quality candidates.

5/18/2009 12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NDP has a problem everywhere, but don't be too conceited or comfy.

After March 2010, the BC Liberals are going to have alot on their hands.

5/18/2009 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the equity mandate drove alot of money away from the BCNDP in the last election. With due respect, people the calibre of Kathy Corrigan and Dawn Black do not need equity mandates to secure nominations.

But people who have a problem with a party calling itself Democratic then slamming the doors on candidates on the basis of their gender, those people are the ones who didn't give a dime during the campaign or after.

There's a lot of internal issues the BCNDP must deal with now post election. Not necessarily names in the news or in the public eye. Those people, the ones in the dark back rooms, who called the shots on the election strategy, and the equity mandate, they need to face the music and be held accountable for the party's poor showing in the last election.

I say poor showing because overall it was a sawoff of an election. Both the Libs and the NDP held their seats, save for a change in one or 2 ridings. Even the new ridings were a sawoff. And tomorrow, when Hansen releases his version of the fudge it budget, more like Hershey's Factory Fudge It Budget, the indictment of the strategy of the BCNDP will be complete.

People wanted to talk about the economy, yet the party wanted to talk about Carbon Taxes. And not only that, but look at the post election news releases, reports withheld, financial indicators highballed, and the like. We're stuck with the Liars Club for 4 more years. And god knows how much damage they will do.

7/07/2009 6:36 PM  
Anonymous blaffergassted said...

I strongly suspect certain federal NDP policies had something to do with it, too.

7/12/2009 4:17 PM  

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