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Parties Accept Equal Voice's Second Ontario Challenge

Feb 24, 2011

 

February 24, 2011

 

Toronto: Equal Voice is pleased to announce that all three elected provincial parties at Queen’s Park have signed on to the second Ontario Challenge.
 

As part of the challenge, parties pledged yesterday at Queen's Park to run more female candidates in this year’s Ontario election than they did in the 2007 provincial election.

 

“Equal Voice was founded 10 years ago with the express desire to see more women elected to political office across Canada,” said Rebecca Scott, Equal

Voice’s National Vice-Chair.

 

“Frankly, when we started, our goal was to see ourselves out of business but the progress has not been fast enough and today, women only make up only 26% of the members in the Ontario Legislature.”
 

To demonstrate their commitment, female MPPs from each of the elected parties spoke to the importance of having more women standing as candidates.

 

“The Ontario Liberal Party is happy to accept Equal Voice's challenge to nominate more female candidates than last election,” said Deb Matthews, Liberal MPP for London North Centre, Minister of Health and co-chair of her party’s Candidate Search Committee.

 

“Having more women in the Ontario Legislature means better decision-making and better government.”

 

The other two parties echoed this strong support.

 

“I am honoured to partner with Equal Voice in working to empower women,” said Elizabeth Witmer, the PC MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo and Official Opposition Women's Issues Critic.

 

“It’s important for women to realize that they can play a central role in shaping the future of Ontario. Our province needs more female MPPs.”

 

Beyond pledging to run more candidates, the parties also agreed that the lack of female representation weakens our democracy, particularly in serving women’s needs.

 

“The New Democratic Party has a long history of running strong female candidates, like Agnes McPhail and the first woman of colour, Rosemary Brown,” said Cheri DiNovo, NDP MPP for Parkdale-High Park and critic of Women’s Issues.

 

“We are excited to continue this legacy and hope that more of our female candidates get elected so we can deliver daycare, equity and incentives for all women.”

 

This year’s election represents an ample opportunity for parties to run enough women to allow the public to elect a legislature that is at least 33 per cent female, reaching critical mass.

 

To get to critical mass, Ontario only needs to elect an extra eight women. At this level of representation, women’s concerns are heard and heeded.
 

Party nominations have already begun and will continue until the fall. Equal Voice will be tracking these decisions to monitor each party’s progress and is hoping that all parties will fulfill their promise.

 

“After 10 years of asking for a fairer deal, Equal Voice is saying ‘enough’ of words, we want action,” said Scott.
 
For more information, please contact:
Rebecca Scott, Vice-Chair of Equal Voice
416-617-4993 or at rsscott@extendicare.com

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Thanks also to the Government of Canada (Status of Women & Canadian Heritage) for their financial support.