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“Who’s Afraid of Elizabeth May This Time?” Canada needs a woman’s voice in election debate

Mar 31, 2011

 

 For immediate release


“Who’s Afraid of Elizabeth May This Time?”

Canada needs a woman’s voice in election debate

 
TORONTO/OTTAWA, March 30, 2011 – Green Party leader Elizabeth May belongs in the televised leaders’ debate say YWCA Canada, the country’s oldest and largest women’s multi-service organization, and Equal Voice, the national organization promoting the election of women at all levels in Canada. 
 
“We are shocked that we have to go around this debate again,” says Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada. “It was clear in 2008 that Canadians want Elizabeth May in the leaders’ debate and it’s clear in 2011. What would it say to young women aspiring to leadership to have four men debating the future of Canada, while the one woman who leads a national party sits on the sidelines? How can Canadian television executives think this is a reasonable proposal?” 
 
The media consortium attempt to bar Ms. May from the debate, announced by CBC, stands in contrast to the public broadcaster’s highly touted Vote Compass, which includes Elizabeth May and the Green Party along with the four parties invited to the debate.
 
“Canada is by no means a world leader in terms of women’s participation in Parliament,” said Nancy Peckford, Executive Director of Equal Voice. “After nearly a century of women voting, Canada ranks 52nd in the world - with only 22% women serving as Members of Parliament. For these numbers to improve, it is essential that young women and girls see themselves represented in the political sphere, particularly in leadership positions.” 
 
Elizabeth May is the fourth woman to lead a federal party in Canada, following NDP  leaders Audrey McLaughlin and Alexa McDonough, and Progressive Conservative Kim Campbell, the only woman to have served as Prime Minister. Eight women have served as first ministers in Canada (prime minister, premier or territorial leader), beginning in 1991. The latest is BC Premier Christy Clark.   
 
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Contacts:
For further information on YWCA Canada or to set up an interview with:
 
Paulette Senior, CEO, YWCA Canada, contact Laura Tilley, Communications & Marketing Manager at 416.962.8881 x 233.
Nancy Peckford, Equal Voice at npeckford@equalvoice.ca or 613-292-7941
 
About Equal Voice:
Equal Voice is a national, multi-partisan non-profit organization that advocates for the election of more women at all levels of government. www.equalvoice.ca on Twitter @EqualVoiceCA.
 
About YWCA Canada:
YWCA Canada is the country’s oldest and largest women's multi-service organization, with 33 Member Associations operating in more than 400 districts and communities across the country. YWCA is the largest national provider of shelter to women, children and teen girls fleeing domestic violence and of literacy, life skills, employment and counselling programs for women and the second largest provider of childcare services. YWCA Canada is a member association of the World YWCA which unites 25 million women and girls worldwide and spans 125 countries. For more information visit www.ywcacanada.ca or find us on Twitter @YWCA_Canada or Facebook at www.facebook.com/ywcacanada.
 

 

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