Ottawa

Ottawa ridings among few with all-female ballots

Two Ottawa ridings are among only a handful in the country where women have been nominated by all four major national political parties in the upcoming federal election. 

All 4 major national parties nominate women in Ottawa Centre, Kanata–Carleton

At a recent debate in Ottawa Centre, all five candidates at the table were women. (Menaka Raman-Wilms/CBC)

Two Ottawa ridings are among only a handful in the country where women have been nominated by all four major national political parties in the upcoming federal election. 

In Kanata–Carleton, candidates for the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Green Party are all women.  

In Ottawa Centre, candidates for those four parties, as well as for the People's Party of Canada (PPC), are female.

All the political parties have indicated that they see the importance of having women at the table.- Nasha Brownridge, Equal Voice

"There are many ridings across Canada where there are no women running for any of the major political parties," said Nasha Brownridge, a spokesperson for Equal Voice, a not-for-profit organization that works to get more women elected. "To have two in one region [with all women], it's a great thing."  

The other three ridings where all four major national party candidates are women are London West, Haldimand–Norfolk and Etobicoke North, where the PPC candidate is also a woman, Renata Ford, widow of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

'An all-time record''

According to Equal Voice, which provides training and tools to help women run for office, and also does data tracking and analysis during elections, all four major national parties, as well as the Bloc Québécois, have increased their numbers of female candidates this election. 

"In 2019, we've hit an all-time record for Canada," Brownridge said. 

Equal Voice did not include the PPC in its analysis because the nascent party wasn't involved in the last federal election.

The Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, Greens and Bloc have a combined total of 595 women out of 1,430 nominated candidates, or 42 per cent, up from 33 per cent last election.

Conservative candidate Justina McCaffrey is running for election in Kanata-Carleton. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

That's a significant increase, according to Brownridge. 

"All the political parties have indicated that they see the importance of having women at the table," she said.

Still, there are nearly 30 ridings across Canada where there are no women running for a major political party, according to Equal Voice. 

Among the major national parties, the NDP has the most female candidates nominated, with 165, while the Greens have 156, the Liberals 132 and the Conservatives 107.

There are 55 women running under the PPC banner, and 35 for the Bloc.

Election signs line a railing along Bank Street in Ottawa Centre. (Menaka Raman-Wilms/CBC)

30% within reach

In the last federal election, 88 women were elected, occupying about 26 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons.

That's short of the 30 per cent that's generally considered the critical mass of women required to affect policy decisions, according to Brownridge. 

In order to reach that threshold, Canadians would have to elect 102 women this fall. 

"We have a huge opportunity this election to hit that number," Brownridge said. "Given the increase in the number of women that have actually been nominated for the 2019 election, this is absolutely doable." 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.