Move over, boys...
One of the greatest differences that observers have noticed about this race over that of previous elections is the abundance of strong, articulate and capable female council candidates.
All three parties, NPA, Cope and Vision, have recruited women who aren’t just place-holders or there because party quotas dictate a certain number of female candidates, but who are running because they are genuine leaders in their respective communities.
Equal Voice BC, an organization dedicated to ensuring women are elected into office, said it best on Wednesday. “There are an impressive number of women running in the upcoming Vancouver election and they are strong candidates. We’re very excited about that.”
Mayoral candidate, Sam Sullivan, told me yesterday that the NPA’s success in fielding more female than male candidates, a first for a Vancouver civic party, was in large measure due to “the party’s work over the last three years to reach out to a diverse group of people from across the city. Vancouver is a diverse city and our council should reflect that.”
NPA council candidates include Suzanne Anton, a popular Parks Board commissioner, Elizabeth Ball, a long-time leader in the Vancouver art and theatre worlds, Kim Capri, the Executive Director for the community-based BC Crime Prevention Association, Colleen Hardwick Nystedt, a 20 year veteran of the BC film industry and celebrated business leader, Valerie Jenkinson, a prominent entrepreneur and, finally, safe street advocate, Kathi Thompson. Their bios can be read at www.npavancouver.ca
COPE’s female council team has two familiar faces: anti-Walmart activist Anne Roberts and Ellen Woodsworth, a proud descendent of J.S. Woodsworth, a founder of the precursor to the NDP, the CCF. All five of Cope's candidates are incumbents, so there is no change to the three to two split, men to women. Again, further details at www.cope.bc.ca
Vision Vancouver has just two female candidates for council. Heather Deal, a Parks Board commissioner and newcomer Heather Harrison, a philosophy instructor at Kwantlen College. www.votevision.ca has bios on these two.
Female candidates are also very well represented in the School Board campaigns.
The NPA is running Rucku Bhandal, the only Indo-Canadian candidate in this race, as well as Carol Gibson, Eleanor Gregory, Michelle Mollineaux and Shirley Wong. Five of the nine NPA candidates are women – again, blowing right through historic averages.
Vision Vancouver decided against putting up slates for either Parks Board or School Board, but Cope’s team fits more with previous slates and is running just three female candidates in their eight contested positions. They include Jane Bouey, Sharon Gregson and incumbent, Angela Kenyon.
Is there anything missing from this record field of women candidates? A female mayoral candidate, of course. Of the twenty candidates for mayor, not one is a woman.
Perhaps the political and personal drubbing of the last female mayoral candidate, Jennifer Clarke in 2002, did nothing to encourage women to look past a council spot to the mayor’s chair.
Election Day is November 19th. If you can’t vote that day, access one of the advance polls. Information is on the City of Vancouver website.
As seen today in 24 Hours Daily.