Wednesday, March 19, 2014

From Canada's Five Female Premiers To Three

At the start of this year Canada had five female Premiers, but now because of a few old white men the country only has three.

Alberta's Alison Redford joins Newfoundland's Kathy Dunderdale on the list of female Premiers forced out not because voters rejected them, but because their respective caucuses did. Caucuses who coincidentally happen to be mostly made up of old white men.

Last year when Ontario's Kathleen Wynn became Canada's fifth sitting female first minister, many observers marveled at the gender equality among our province's top offices. With Dunderdale, Redford and BC's Christy Clark winning strong popular mandates from voters, Canadians made it clear they want strong leaders, regardless of sex.

But despite this, despite the fact voters want a gender balance in our government, Canada has nonetheless gone from five female Premiers to just three. Why? Because most of the elected officials these women depended on for support in government were old men with even older attitudes.

In Alberta Premier Alison Redford was forced to resign by a caucus of 58 MLAs, 40 of whom were men. In Newfoundland Premier Kathy Dunderdale was forced to resign by 34 MHAs, 29 of whom were men.

Surely some may speculate gender had nothing to do with the forced resignations of these female Premiers, but if one considers what would happen if these leaders were men, that argument falls apart. Alison Redford was publicly attacked by one of her own MLAs who said she was "mean" and a "bully". Such a criticism of an equally successful male leader would only strengthen his leadership credentials, for an example look at our Prime Minister.

In an ideal world Redford and Dunderdale should have taken the power away from the old men in the backrooms and called an election to let the voters decide. But like any good leader they saw that in reality the voting public would have punished their governments as Canadians don't particularly enjoy, at least perceptively, arbitrarily casting ballots.

Hope for gender equality in government is not lost, however, even if in the short-term strong female leaders are ousted by a few old white men.

Voters have the power to make their provinces more balanced and more fair, they clearly demonstrated that by electing Alison Redford and Kathy Dunderdale in the first place. To ensure future leaders aren't forced to resign because of their gender, voters need to ensure that gender equality is a principle not just applied to the Premier's office but to all legislatures.

1 comment:

Anyong said...

Gender balance is not acceptable anywhere nor any establishment in Canada due to male brown grass attitudes. Even within male gays in this country.