Liberals give Gallant authority to appoint 3 female candidates
Liberals can only appoint candidates in unheld ridings, the move aims to create gender parity
The provincial Liberals have given Brian Gallant the authority to appoint up to three female candidates to achieve parity in women running in unheld ridings in the next provincial election.
The motion was passed unanimously by the New Brunswick Liberal Association's board of directors.
Cathy Rogers, the province's first woman to take the role of minister of finance, said a lack of gender parity in politics is detrimental to government.
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"Until we can get women and men equitably represented in politics, like in other leadership positions in business and in society in general, we're not going to get the best decision making," said Rogers.
In addition to the new authority given to the Liberal leader, Rogers said the party is also actively recruiting more women candidates among other initiatives to achieve parity.
"There's a number of things that people can do to try to get better representation of women in politics and I see this as one of them," said Rogers.
What the new authority does not fix, however, is the number of women currently sitting in the legislature.
There are only four women in the Liberal caucus, resulting in 15 per cent. But Rogers said giving the leader the ability to appoint three candidates is still a step in the right direction.
"We'd like to see a lot more but if we can appoint three [candidates] that helps," said Rogers.
If the number in the legislature remain the same until the next election, and all sitting Liberal MLAs reoffer, Liberals would have to nominate 11 or 12 women to reach near-parity [parity wouldn't be possible as the number of unheld ridings would be odd.]
There are no plans, however, if there isn't parity even with the leader's three appointments.
"We're going to do everything we can to meet that goal," said Rogers.
Rogers said this isn't the end of initiatives the party has in mind to reach parity.
"I would say stay tuned, we'll probably talk about some other initiatives down the road," said Rogers.