Male-in ballot for St. John’s council, as women shut out

For the first time in more than four decades, there will be no women serving on St. John’s city council.

Capital city elects only men to city hall for 1st time since 1969

There will be no women serving on St. John's city council for the first time since 1969, after Tuesday's election results. (CBC)

For the first time in more than four decades, there will be no women serving on St. John’s city council.

Voters in the Newfoundland and Labrador capital elected 11 men in Tuesday’s balloting.

There were three women serving on council prior to the municipal election.

Two of them – Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff, who served on council for more than 30 years in total, and Ward 4 Coun. Debbie Hanlon – opted not to run again. 

The third, Coun. Sheilagh O’Leary, was defeated in her bid to become mayor. She lost by more than 5,000 votes to Dennis O’Keefe.

It’s terrible, because in this day and age, to have no women represented on council is a travesty, really.- Sheilagh O'Leary

O’Leary expressed her disappointment with the lack of female representation on the incoming council.

“I personally think it’s disgraceful, obviously,” O’Leary told reporters late Tuesday night.

“It’s terrible, because in this day and age, to have no women represented on council is a travesty, really.”

Ward 3 candidate Sarah Colborne Penney was the closest to winning. She fell 201 votes short of incumbent Bruce Tilley, or less than three percentage points.

The last all-male council was in 1969, before the trailblazing Dorothy Wyatt became the first woman elected to city hall.

Wyatt served two terms as mayor, from 1973 to 1981.

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