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Results: 1 - 15 of 105
View Kennedy Stewart Profile
NDP (BC)
Thanks very much, everybody, for coming today. This is actually my last day in Parliament, but this is an issue I'm very concerned about. I've written about it as an academic for years, and I have put forward private members' bills to change this situation. Bill C-237 was a private member's bill to provide incentives to get more women into Parliament.
Again, it has been a great pleasure to be here on the committee.
I have a couple of things. First, I see this as an issue of fundamental justice in Parliament. If it's not 50% women, then it's an injustice that has to be corrected. I don't see it as.... Often this is framed as supply and demand; that's how it's looked at. I've heard both sides of the very good stories and very good evidence here. I tend to look at it as a demand-side problem of women being kept out rather than failing to access elected office, so I look for demand-side solutions.
Also, what helps sometimes is looking at the raw numbers. If we look at Prince Edward Island, it has 27 seats in the legislature. This means that you need only 13 women from the entire province in order to have 50%. There are already six women in the legislature—five? Okay, so we need seven more women from the entire province of P.E.I. in order to get parity.
To me it doesn't seem to be a supply-side problem. I think that if you went across the province, you would find seven women who could easily.... You'd find many more than that, so why is it that we can't ever get parity in any of our legislatures? For me, it's always a problem of demand. It's the same in New Brunswick, with 49 seats, right?
View Kennedy Stewart Profile
NDP (BC)
Why is it supply? If in Prince Edward Island we need seven more women, why is there a supply problem? What we're saying here is that we can't find seven. What is your explanation for why we can't find seven women? Is it that women are in adequate supply, but there's something keeping them from accessing these seats?
I would say it's political parties, myself, but I'm wondering what your opinions are. I'd be happy to hear from anybody on that.
View Kennedy Stewart Profile
NDP (BC)
Can I stop you there?
View Kennedy Stewart Profile
NDP (BC)
You're saying that you have to find 100 women to come forward, but really you're only 17 women short of having parity. Why is it 100? Why isn't it 20?
View Kennedy Stewart Profile
NDP (BC)
Would anybody else care to jump in there?
View Kennedy Stewart Profile
NDP (BC)
What would you suggest we do?
View Kennedy Stewart Profile
NDP (BC)
I see your reluctance here to say the word “quota”. Quotas are used in over 100 countries. They seem to be some kind of a taboo word in Canada, for some reason. In British Columbia, the NDP uses a quota system. Why are we so scared to say the word “quota”, if we know it's demand and we know it's systemic?
View Kennedy Stewart Profile
NDP (BC)
We do have a quota here, in cabinet. The Prime Minister has said famously that 50% of his cabinet will be women, and that's a quota. If the highest political official in the land can believe in quotas, I don't understand why we can't move more there. I value your testimony here today, but I would urge you to take another look at that. If it's not changing, we have to do something differently.
View Kennedy Stewart Profile
NDP (BC)
Thanks very much. If you can indulge me for a second, the great political philosopher John Rawls uses the metaphor of a veil of ignorance and talks about how we should design our rules so that we actually don't know our own characteristics.
Unfortunately, the way we design our rules is that we do know our characteristics, and people design rules to favour themselves and people who are like themselves. We're in this situation with the Canada Elections Act. We're talking a lot about how if we have only 25% women in the House of Commons and we have only 25% women in local governments, it means there's something wrong with the rules, because there seems to be an equal aptitude to get into these races, and I think we have to embrace that.
I know this committee has been working on these problems for some time, and I do think it's not that women aren't willing to come forward but that the rules, especially within the political parties, are keeping them from achieving 50% or parity in candidacies, and eventually seats.
To Mr. Fraser's point, we don't really know what goes on in party nominations. They do in other countries. In the U.S., you have primaries and you have all the data you need there, but we don't know here. My own academic work has been to get data from parties, which they're very reluctant to give up, but then you find, for example, as we found in British Columbia, that men are six times more likely than women to win a nomination race.
That's what we need to do here. If we can't agree on quotas and we can't agree on other measures, at least we can agree on getting better data. Subsection 476.1(1) of the Canada Elections Act is about the notice of nomination contest. Each party has to report under paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d). Paragraph 476.1(1)(c) says you have to have the name and address of each nomination contestant, so you could simply have it ask for name, gender, and other aspects. I think it's entirely appropriate that we talk about intersectionality as well.
I think gender is a long-outstanding issue. Of course in Canada we brag about our multiculturalism, yet our offices are often devoid of any kind of multiculturalism, and it's mostly guys like me, right? That also should be data that's collected so we can deeply understand and explain to people what's going on within nomination contests.
That was a bit of a rant, but if all of you had some comments, that would be fantastic.
Thank you.
View Kennedy Stewart Profile
NDP (BC)
Thanks.
Are there any other comments?
View Kennedy Stewart Profile
NDP (BC)
The tricky thing about collecting data is that we collect lots on winners but we don't collect anything on losers, people who go into the contest and don't win, so then you can't compare the two groups, and that's just basic stats. You need it on both sides, and the more data you could have....
For example, in the studies I've seen, we've looked at 45 different variables. We've looked at networks and we've looked at how many people you sign up and all that kind of stuff, and we find that actually it just comes down to gender. There's a lot of bias within the selection groups, and it's everywhere.
I always think of Elections Canada as one of the best organizations in the world in the elections context. Countries everywhere come to Elections Canada to look at what we do and how we do it, and I think it would provide a great international gesture to say we're pushing others to do this.
Are there any other things you can think of that would help your job and help us to understand how nominations work in Canada?
View Kennedy Stewart Profile
NDP (BC)
I'll be very quick.
I know Elections British Columbia now collects information on municipal elections. Maybe you could ask other provincial bodies that collect information on local government elections to actually also collect this kind of information. Then we'd all be able to see what happens everywhere else in Canada.
I know I'm reversing roles here and I'm sorry about that, but I do think the more data the better. It'll help us make informed decisions.
Thank you very much for your testimony.
View Kennedy Stewart Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Chair.
Thanks to the witnesses coming forward.
I grew up on the east coast, and I know fisheries are a big part of our culture there, and then of course coming to the west coast, it's the same. The difference between the two fisheries is confusing to me, so I really thank you for your stories here today.
I know you have your main points that you've been trying to make all the way through, but if there are peripheral or minor points that you feel you want to add, please consider mentioning them because they can sometimes be just as important when we're writing legislation.
The first question I have is for both of you. We've talked quite a lot about this, but I'll just allow you some time to elaborate. How would you like to see the principle of owner-operator and fleet separation applied on the Pacific coast? We have talked a little bit about that as we go through, but could you elaborate a bit more?
Maybe we could start with Mr. Cameron.
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