Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Women Politicians Come under Attack by Their Own Parties

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Women Politicians Come under Attack by Their Own Parties

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Women politicians come under attack by their own parties


An editorial from the Charlottetown Guardian, published March 25:

The odds are well past the point of reasonable probability that the sudden demise of women political leaders in Canada is solely because of blunders and missteps. Last fall, six women held power as premier, heralding an age of political enlightenment, reflecting the proportion of females in the population and finally bringing women into a spotlight so long denied. Men, who seem just as inept, aloof or error-prone as their female counterparts, are safely enthroned in office. For a woman, accusations of being a bully is a terminal affliction but is considered acceptable among men.

These six women won elections or gained party leaderships because they deserved it, either by out-manoeuvring male opponents or because they were the best choice available. And given those accomplishments, they deserve to remain as leader until voters say otherwise. Instead, their ousters from power are coming at the hands of former friends and fellow members in the increasingly fickle blood sport of Canadian party politics.

The latest casualty was Alberta premier Alison Redford last week. It started with Nunavut premier Eva Aariak in November, and then Newfoundland premier Kathy Dunderdale stepped down in January, just two years after winning a massive majority. Redford led her PC Party to an upset win over the even more conservative Wild Rose Party just two short years ago.

Redford's mortal sin was spending $45,000 of public funds to fly to Nelson Mandela's funeral in South Africa. Dunderdale misjudged the public mood when she said massive power outages this winter did not constitute a crisis. Both were errors in judgment, but should they have cost them their jobs? No. It was nothing to do with public policy.

Other reasons were lightweight -- poor team players, poor communicators and not being a nice person. …

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