New Brunswick

'Right direction': Women make up 40% of provincial candidates so far

A group working to get more women elected in September says that about halfway through the nomination process, 40 per cent of all provincial party nominees are female.

Group hopes to see women to form half the slate of candidates in Sept. 24 election

Norma Dubé, former assistant deputy minister of the province's women's equality branch, is director and one of the 12 founding members of the Women for 50%. (CBC)

A group working to get more women elected  to the New Brunswick legislature in September says that so far, 40 per cent of all candidates are women — and the nomination process is only about halfway over.

"The trend is going in the right direction," said Norma Dubé, director and one of the 12 founding members of Women for 50%.

"Our one focus between now and the provincial election, of getting 50 per cent women candidates, will be fulfilled."

The group has been tracking nominations in four parties: Liberal, Progressive Conservative, NDP and Green.

In the last provincial election, when all the nominations were complete, only 71 of 220 candidates were women. That's about 32 per cent.

Gail Bremner is hoping she'll tip the 2018 results in the right direction by winning a contested Progressive Conservative nomination in Saint John Harbour on May 3.

Gail Bremner will be seeking the Progressive Conservative nomination in Saint John Harbour on May 3. (Facebook)

She said she wants to succeed on merit and will be offering her skills and life experience for consideration.

And she said she hopes her perspective as a woman is perceived as a bonus.

"We have different life experiences and considerations. And I just think it's important to have all those perspectives at the largest decision-making table in the province."

Bremner said the choice to offer was not influenced by Women for 50%.

"But I certainly did reach out once the decision was made," she said.

'Surge of interest'

Paul D'Astous, campaign manager for the PC party, said he's never seen anything like the number of women this year who have been asking if they should run and are choosing to run.

"We've seen a surge of interest," D'Astous said. "And I've been around a long time."

A former PC youth who recalls that his first political convention saw Richard Hatfield chosen party leader, D'Astous said  he welcomes the change.

"It's so exciting. It's unbelievable."

4 parties want women to run 

Dubé said Women for 50% is still providing support to potential candidates, by providing information, mentoring and networking opportunities.

According to their online tracker, the Liberals have nominated 12 women, the Green Party has nominated eight, the PCs have seven, and the NDP four.

"All four parties are committed to seeing more women," said Dubé, when asked if she felt any party was doing better at promoting female candidates.

"Some have had more nomination conventions than others. For example, the Liberal Party has had 28 nomination conventions. That's 28 out of 49, whereas the NDP have only had six. So you can't really compare at this point."

"But as we get closer and the speed of nominations increases, others will be able to make those comments."

"As Women for 50% we want to remain as non-partisan as possible." 


Rachel Cave is a CBC reporter based in Saint John, New Brunswick.