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Premier Kathy Dunderdale Makes History at Home and in Canada

Oct 12, 2011

 

St. John’s, NL: Newfoundland and Labrador made history last evening by electing the first female premier in the province’s history. Dunderdale’s success is not only significant for the province but also for Canada as she is only the second provincial female leader in Canada to lead her party to victory, following in the footsteps of Catherine Callbeck from Prince Edward Island eighteen years ago.

 

Ms. Dunderdale will now join three other female premiers – Eva Aariak of Nunavut, Christy Clark of British Columbia, and newly minted Ms. Redford of Alberta.

 

“Equal Voice is simply delighted that Newfoundland and Labrador remains on the cutting edge of what is possible for women in Canada,” said Charmaine Davidge, current chair.  “The next premiers’ meeting in Canada will no doubt be a very different experience for everybody on account of these female leaders,” she added.

 

Lorraine Michael, the first female leader of the provincial New Democratic Party, also made history by winning five seats – the highest ever held by the party. Gerry Rogers, notable filmmaker and women’s activist, took one of them.

 

Former Liberal Leader Yvonne Jones was also re-elected with significant support from constituents in her riding.

 

These positive developments, however, are tempered by the fact that women’s representation in the House of Assembly has now dropped to just under 17 percent- down from nearly 23 percent in the last sitting.

 

“It is clear that all parties need to re-focus their efforts on getting more women on the ballot next time around.  This election has put to bed any doubts about women’s leadership capacities. Now it’s time to translate this confidence into more women candidates, and more female MHAs period,” added Nancy Peckford, a Newfoundlander who serves as Equal Voice’s Executive Director in Ottawa. 

 

During this election, Equal Voice piloted a campaign shadowing program that paired several young women with candidates from all of the main parties during the election.  Premier Dunderdale, leader Lorraine Michael and former Liberal leader Yvonne Jones all participated in the program.

 

“The young women who shadowed these women had an incredibly eye opening experience.  They witnessed- up close and personal- the realities of being on the campaign trail and the extraordinary effort and energy which is part of the election process,” noted Brittany Tibbo, Equal Voice’s youth outreach program in the province.

 

“It is precisely young women like these who need to get excited about politics and its possibilities if we are to see a permanent shift in women’s representation in the House of Assembly,” Tibbo added. “We look forward to doing more work with young women between now and the next election.” 

 

For more information:

 

Charmaine Davidge, Chair, Equal Voice Newfoundland and Labrador - 709-754-1082

Brittany Tibbo, Youth Outreach Coordinator, Equal Voice Experiences’ Program: 709-765-9257

Nancy Peckford, Equal Voice Executive Director – 613-292-7941

                                                   

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