Friday, February 22, 2008

Women in Politics

Stephane Dion has been criticised for appointing, some women, in some ridings. He's doing this of course in an effort to meet his goal of having one third of Liberal candidates be female.

While we would all like the process of achieving this goal to involve only elections, I think at this stage it is premature to expect that to be realistic. Star candidates come to the fore and sometimes the right to appoint should be exercised, in order to achieve not only your goal of candidates, but to make real change in the make up of the Party and Parliament.

The most recent appointment is Dr. Kirsty Duncan. From Dion's announcement:

“Kirsty is an extremely accomplished person. She is an internationally-renowned health expert on pandemic influenza, global warming and the environment. She was on the team of Nobel Prize winning Canadians for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Kirsty is a professor, author of two books, and a sought-after speaker at international conferences.”

She's obviously someone that would be nice to have on the team. Could she have won a nomination race? I think so, but the demographic of the area has changed and apparently Cullen, whom she is replacing was undermined somewhat by the riding association. I read yesterday that it was replaced rather unceremoniously in 2006 I think, and Cullen was caught of guard. Damned if I can find the article though.

That said, while I admire Cullen for his service, he was becoming a relic. He is of the Manley ilk. Hawks in the Party still exist, but those who survive are able to adapt to the reality of contemporary thinking. He seemed somewhat adverse to that.

Anyway, back to the point. In appointing another woman, Dion has actually exceeded his goal. With this appointment the percentage of female Liberal candidates is at 36%. That's good news in my view. For those who are screaming about the process, 79 women are candidates and only 4 have been appointed.

What that tells me is that many Liberal women have risen to the challenge, 95% in fact and when Dion saw a star he reacted in an effort to change the complexity of parliament. I don't see that as a bad thing.

If every woman was appointed I would see that as a major problem, not just for the Lib's but for the country. That's not the case though. My desire is to have every woman fight for the candidacy, but we aren't there yet sadly and I think criticism of Dion is ill founded and not productive.

Media looking for news here are not being honest about the state of what is. The Con's have a mere 16% of their candidates who are women. In the world, we are ranked 47th I think as it relates to how many female parliamentarians comprise our Commons. I believe we are below Rwanda and Afghanistan.

Media. If there is a way to change this, why shouldn't it be done? These people if elected still need to perform to stay there, so let's watch these 4. Let's make decisions then.

My advice would be back off your faux indignation and look at really is going on in the country under Harper. Somehow you seem to miss that.


RuralSandi said...

Good grief - Dion made a promise and is doing his best to keep it - how awful. I mean, really, a leader keeping a promise.

I bet if he didn't keep his promise they'd attack him as well. He has to start the ball rolling some how.

Anonymous said...

If the demographics of the riding have changed, it will be interesting to see whether the good "Dr." can hold the riding for the Liberals. Perhaps, one day the Liberal Party will embrace ethnic diversity, not fear it in the Toronto ridings where at present only one of nineteen Liberal candidates will be a member of a visible minority. What if the rubes rebel and vote for the South Asian Tory candidate in Etobicoke North? It may take a few losses in the next election for the Party to realize that it has an "Obama" problem, not just a "Hillary" problem.

Karen said...

Of course they'd attack Sandi. They invent things to attack him over.

Taber in today's G&M said:

Appointments are always controversial, but Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion has been making many of them after promising a third of his candidates would be women.

I know she's not the brightest bulb in the package, but I at least thought she could count. 4 out of 79, many?

Karen said...

Liberals fear ethnic diversity anon? Have you looked at the Party as a whole?

Even if you extend your vision to just outside Toronto, it's certainly more diverse than any other party.

I'd love to see more diversity and I'm sure we will as time moves on, but to suggest that fear is at the root is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

"Even if you extend your vision to just outside Toronto, it's certainly more diverse than any other party."

Sorry, KNB. That is just not so. The Conservative Party caucus has more visible minorities than the Liberal caucus, and their slate of nominated visible minority candidates in the upcoming election is greater than the Liberals. How else would you acount for this "anomaly"? Fear or hypocrisy? Take your choice.

Sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is if you want people to take you seriously. And how on earth does a Party that has zero chance to hold its base in Parliament without visible minority voters in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver justify a quota only for female candidates?

Karen said...

Anon, perhaps I'm missing something.

In the Lib caucus, (parliamentarians), I see this:


Added to that not 'visible' perhaps, but certainly diverse ethnically.

The Con's:


Who am I missing?

The NDP?

Hey, if I've missed people, tell me. In the end I think we're both after the same thing.

Where we may disagree, is I think we have to get reflection of the voice of Canada right and today, 52%of our population is women. I care not what their origin is and would prefer it to be diverse, but I'm fine to use this as an example as how to have the House represent all of us.

I think the term fear is erroneous. Pehaps there is not enough effort placed on what you aspire to, but I do not see the goals as being mutually exclusive.

BTW, if you have a link to all the candidates, could you please supply it. I find it really frustrating to see that info in one place.

Omar said...

Lies are nothing for these conservative ideologues. I read anon's comment and just assumed it was factual. Shame on me. Thanks KNB.