Thursday, July 26

P.E.I. women MLAs form non-partisan caucus

P.E.I.'s seven female MLAs, both Liberal and Progressive Conservative, are creating their own committee to give women a stronger voice on the floor of the legislature.

'We share the same daily battles.'— MLA Cynthia Dunsford

Stratford-Kinlock MLA Cynthia Dunsford told CBC News on Wednesday that female politicians, regardless of party, need to band together in the legislature.

"We share the same experiences, we share the same struggles, we share the same daily battles that come up that may not be specific to men," said Dunsford.

Dunsford has two goals: make provincial politics more appealing so women will run; and work with their male colleagues to affect change on the floor of the legislature. The committee will develop legislation to address issues relevant to women, if that is what is required.

Dunsford said all seven women MLAs — including Olive Crane, the one female Tory — have agreed to be members. Kirstin Lund, chair of the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women, said a women's caucus is long overdue.

"We have a legislative body that is specifically focused on looking at issues that are important to women, and we've never to my knowledge had that on P.E.I.," said Lund.

"I think that will make a huge impact. And honestly this is one of the most exciting things I've heard in the five years that I've been chair of the advisory council on the status of women."

The new caucus is expected to meet for the first time within a month to develop a budget and an overall philosophy.


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