Regional candidates asked about reproductive rights, femicide, Islamaphobia in survey

A new coalition called Feminist Shift has launched in Waterloo region and it kicked off by releasing an all-candidates survey that focuses on issues important to woman and gender-diverse people.

Feminist Shift launched Monday with release of all-candidates survey

An all-candidates survey from a new coalition called The Feminist Shift asked those running in the federal election in Waterloo region for their thoughts on issues impacting women and gender-diverse people. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

A new coalition called The Feminist Shift has launched in Waterloo by shining a light on issues important to women and gender-diverse people in this month's federal election.

The coalition is led by the YW Kitchener-Waterloo and YWCA Cambridge.

Elizabeth Clarke is the CEO of YW Kitchener-Waterloo and says they wanted to raise issues they felt weren't being discussed. The YWCA Canada has been calling for a debate on these kinds of issues.

"We decided locally to create our own survey to look at some of those issues that are really important, but somehow aren't getting discussed in the media as far as we're aware at this point," she said.

They worked with other groups, including the Coalition of Muslim Women, the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region, SHORE Centre, Women's Crisis Services of Waterloo Region and the AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area (ACCKWA).

"We wanted to have a diversity of voices there," Clarke said.

Each of the groups was invited to submit one question for the survey, she added. The questions cover a range of issues including housing, the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, sexual violence and harassment, femicide, Islamophobia, health and reproductive rights, and how they'd work to improve the lives of women and trans people in the region.

"We're hoping to have people who are concerned about these issues be better informed about where the candidates stand," Clarke said. "But we're also hoping to maybe raise awareness in people that haven't really thought of these issues before and make sure that they have them in their mind going forward."

Some responses yet to come

There are some candidates who have not submitted answers for the survey yet, including all of the Conservative candidates for the five ridings in Waterloo region.

A spokesperson for Kitchener-Conestoga Conservative candidate and incumbent Harold Albrecht said the survey "fell through the cracks" and they plan to submit answers in the near future.

The other Conservative candidates did not immediately respond when asked why they hadn't filled out the survey.

There were no answers posted for Liberal incumbent Bryan May in Cambridge Monday morning, although May's communications co-ordinator Dakota Burgin says they have filled it out and have sent it in again. She apologized for May's omission.

Waterloo Liberal candidate Bardish Chagger's answers also did not immediately appear on the website but her staff said there was an error, Chagger had responded and her answers are now on the site.

Patrick Bernier of the People's Party of Canada in Kitchener Centre said he did not receive the survey.

Clarke says if candidates send in responses for the survey between now and the federal election on Oct. 21, their responses will be added to the website.

You can read the responses on The Feminist Shift website.


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