Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Equal Voice, Equal Choice?

This article was forwarded to me yesterday by Equal Voice, and it's a good read. An excerpt:

So it shouldn't be a shocker that even though women make up more than half the population, we hold only 20 per cent of seats in the House.

Of the 20 major-party candidates in the five Ottawa ridings, only four are women, and not one is a Conservative. Three -- an NDP candidate and two Greens -- hardly stand a chance. That leaves Collenette fighting a tight race in Ottawa Centre with NDP incumbent Paul Dewar and well-known Tory businessman Brian McGarry.

Consider this: Canada has no female premiers, no female major-city mayors. We have fewer women in parliament than most countries in Europe, not to mention Mauritania, Uganda, Rwanda, Afghanistan and Iraq.

These are statistics that Equal Voice is trying to change. A non-partisan, non-profit organization made up of women and men, Equal Voice is launching a cheeky ad campaign, urging voters to support female candidates and, perhaps more important, to consider factors other than how they look.
I've been to some Equal Voice events and appreciate their good work. I understand the importance of being non-partisan, but I don't agree with the rational to vote for a woman just because she's a woman. I wouldn't vote for a woman who wouldn't represent the interests I value. I would vote for the party that has a representative that I feel could be competent and speak on behalf of the community's best social values and justice. But the fact remains that there aren't enough women representing the parties for all the reasons outlined in the Citizen's article. I recently did a little investigating the candidate I would normally vote for, representing the NDP party, which I support. This person has no educational background in politics, isn't an outspoken advocate hasn't blogged or made public comments with reaction to the campaign, current issues and events, or voter apathy. This is the first election where I'm completely disgusted with the representative; as the campaign manager replied, "s/he's good at ----" (insert any unrelated hobby). Good at -hobby-? That's all they could say about this candidate when the credentials were questioned? Unbelievable. There must be a more appropriate individual who could be the party representative. I'm stuck, now, because I'm not confident how to vote. The NDP party would receive $1.75 from me if I did vote for the incompetent. On the other hand, I don't want to waste my vote if my riding is actually a close competition between the Cs and the Ls. My liberal rep is a woman but I need to make damn sure she's pro-choice, anti war, anti-privatization, pro-arts, etc; I won't simply cast a Venus symbol ballot without understanding her platform (and I've been having a hard time finding this out). Calgary's conservative saturation seems to be quieting all candidates that aren't Tory! Why do they not have more to say!? Why are the candidates becoming as apathetic as the voters!!??

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