New Brunswick·Podcast

MLAs discuss forming women's caucus in 'new era' of provincial politics

New Brunswick made history on Sept. 24 by electing the most women ever to the provincial legislative assembly, and some MLAs think the time is right to establish an all-party women’s caucus.

11 women were elected to the New Brunswick Legislature in September

The New Brunswick Legislative Building in Fredericton. (CBC)

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New Brunswick made history Sept. 24 by electing more women than ever to the provincial legislative assembly, and some MLAs think the time is right to establish an all-party women's caucus.

"This is a new era at the legislative assembly," said Liberal MLA Monique LeBlanc, one of 11 women elected to the 49-seat legislature. 

LeBlanc contacted all of the other women to discuss the notion of creating a women's caucus.

And while the idea is still being considered, the CBC New Brunswick Political Panel podcast examined the possibility of a women's caucus and what having more women in the House means for governance.

"I do think women can bring a different approach, even if it is based on different lived experiences, a different understanding of how the world works," said Green MLA Megan Mitton.

"I think that there really is value in having the people whose lives are affected by these experiences speak to that."

A women's caucus could help bring forward issues that aren't usually brought up, she said, such as pay equity, child care and reproductive justice.

'I'm so much more'

Attorney General and Justice Minister Andrea Anderson-Mason was less in favour of a caucus than the other panellist. The Tory MLA argued her political identity is not defined by her gender, saying her priorities go beyond advocating for women's issue.

The CBC New Brunswick Political Panel podcast discussed the possibility of a women's caucus. (CBC)

"The shock has been how many people want to focus on the fact that I am a woman, and I want to say, 'Don't put me in that box,'" she said.

"I'm so much more."

Anderson-Mason explained how she reached out to Liberal MLA Robert McKee to open a cross-party dialogue about improving the justice system.

"To me, those are conversations we should be engaging in across the floor on all issues," she said.

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