Sunday, July 15

Ontario: Women MPPs' exit raises issue

The names keep on coming: Shelley Martel, Marie Bountrogianni, Jennifer Mossop, Mary Anne Chambers, Judy Marsales.

They are all members of the Ontario Legislature who have announced in the past few weeks that they will not be seeking re-election in the fall. One (Martel) is a New Democrat, the others are all Liberals.

And, of course, they're all women.

To be sure, there are some men quitting the Legislature as well – Liberal MPPs Richard Patten and Ernie Parsons. However, the former is 65 and has grown disillusioned with the place, and the latter found his riding swallowed up in redistribution. These things happen.

But the five women are all in their 40s and 50s – the prime of their political lives. Indeed, two of them (Bountrogianni and Chambers) are in cabinet, and a third (Martel) is a former minister and a front-bench opposition critic.

Their departure raises this question: is Queen's Park a female-unfriendly environment?

With so many women now quitting the Legislature, there could be some backsliding in this fall's election, notwithstanding the pledges of all three party leaders to nominate more women than ever before.

In making the pledge last month with Premier Dalton McGuinty and Hampton, Conservative Leader John Tory suggested the Legislature is "too testosterone-injected" and needs more women.

To this end, the Liberals have nominated 30 women (with 13 ridings still to come), the NDP 25 (with 49 ridings still to come and a target of 54 women overall), and the Conservatives 21 (with about 15 ridings to come).
But many of these women are running in ridings where they have no hope of winning or where they are pitted against other women.
LINK: TorStar

1 comment:

Mark Greenan said...

This is a disturbing trend.

Thankfully, the MMP referendum in October provides a chance to to change the voting system to promote female representation at Queen's Park.