New Brunswick

New Brunswick Women's Council denounces political cartoon as misogynistic

The New Brunswick Women's Council is denouncing as misogynistic a cartoon that insinuates two female provincial politicians are controlled by their male colleagues and is calling on the leaders of all political parties to denounce it.

Flyers depicting Cathy Rogers and Courtney Pringle-Carver as puppets are harmful to democracy, group says

Courtney Pringle-Carver, the Liberal candidate for Moncton Northwest, found a flyer depicting her as a robot under the control of Premier Brian Gallant. (Gabriel Garon/Radio Canada)

The New Brunswick Women's Council is denouncing a cartoon that insinuated two female provincial politicians are controlled by their male colleagues as misogynistic and is calling on all political parties to do the same.

The flyers are harmful to the democracy of the province, the council said in a statement Tuesday.

Circulated in Moncton last weekend, the flyers depicted Finance Minister Cathy Rogers as a puppet controlled by Treasury Board President Roger Melanson and newly nominated Liberal candidate Courtney Pringle-Carver as a robot controlled by Premier Gallant.

"If parties are truly committed to strengthening our democracy by increasing the number of women in politics, they must condemn acts like these and make it clear that they will not be tolerated," said Jody Dallaire, co-chair of the council, which advises government on issues important to women.

Some of the flyers, titled "Liberal Party Feminism," also feature a cartoon depicting Pringle-Carver's son, according to the council.

Hundreds of copies were posted throughout Moncton, including near the homes of Rogers and Pringle-Carver as well as near the school Pringle-Carver's son attends.

"Too often, women and the issues that affect them are treated as tokens and too often feminism is exploited politically," said council co-chair Jewell Mitchell.

"Such cynical acts and strategies must be called out — however, when a call out demeans women and targets individual women and a child in order to make its point, it is clear that the criticism is not actually motivated by genuine concern for women and is instead grossly misogynistic."

Hundreds of flyers were distributed in Moncton depicting Finance Minister Cathy Rogers and Liberal Party candidate Courtney Pringle-Carver under the control of male politicians. (Submitted: Courtney Pringle-Carver)
The council, an independent public advisory body on women's equality issues, has previously refrained from commenting on party politics, said executive director Beth Lyons.

But the council's legislated mandate compelled it to speak out about the flyers, despite the partisan content, she said.

"We have informed the leaders of all parties that that the council will not hesitate to address sexist and misogynist behaviour that occurs during this election cycle, as well as any incidents that occur on the floor of the Legislative Assembly or in the media, in [a] rigorously non-partisan manner," said Lyons.

Both Rogers and Pringle-Carver have said the flyers do not accurately reflect how their party approaches women in politics.

"We are doing everything in our power to ensure women's voices are heard at the table," Rogers has said.  

Representation of women in politics has already been highlighted as a key issue in the upcoming 2018 provincial election through initiatives such as Women for 50% in 2018, which challenges parties to ensure that half their slate of candidates comprises women.