Friday, November 23, 2007

So oooo, the new cabinet has been sworn in and there are "three" women in it. The Sask. Party had eleven women candidates, and I need to check again and see how many were elected. I think it was five. I haven't heard too many comments from the Sask. Party members; it would seem like the message comes from the new Premier, and one or two others. Interesting times ahead, I am sure. I am also sure there will be many challenges ahead for all, on both sides of the legislature. I have mostly enjoyed posting on this blog; and it has been interesting to read the "posts". I have been seriously challenged, and have not succeeded in making comments on other student's blogs. My apologies!! No cartoons have been posted on my blog either, which is too bad, as I especially enjoy the political cartoons others have posted. Perhaps another time I will do better at this, but I hope I have interested some in the issue of "Women in Politics".

Friday, November 16, 2007

Now the excitment of the election is over, some of us will be waiting to see who makes it into the Saskatchewan Party's/ Brad Wall's cabinet. I am hoping to see some women in the cabinet, but that doesn't guarantee that all the issues of concern to women will be addressed. The women who have been elected to represent the Sask. Party, come from different backgrounds, and from reading about their experience, each has a lot to offer. It is hard to imagine how one would feel becoming an elected representative for the first time. It is a privilege and an opportunity. One would hope their will be more consensus, more civil deabating of the issues, and more accomplished with this next sitting of the Sasatchewan Legislature. I think Christine Tell will be in cabinet, and Sandra Heppner. Many women have served in the cabinet of the NDP; it is the women of the Saskatchewan party who, I hope, will have that same opportunity. November 21st we will know.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Election 2007

The Sask. Election results were interesting to watch, and it was good to see a number of women candidates elected. There were women candidates in 38 of the 58 ridings. Women were elected in13 of those ridings. My Math. which is not always, but often enough, accurate, works that out to 22.4% of the seats in the Saskatchewan Legislature. In all there were 54 women candidates running in this election. Twenty ridings had only men as candidates. The challenging task of determining whether some names were those of men or women, I didn't try to figure out, but there were only 3 I wondered about, and I chose not to count them. The breakdown shows the Sask. Party running 12 Women candidates, elected 8. The NDP Party ran 11 women candidates and 5 were elected. The Liberals ran 13 women candidates, and the Green Party ran 16 women candidates. There were 2 women for the other Parties. These are my "tallies" so as always I can be corrected on my figures. The candidate I campaigned for, Corinne Pauliuk , NDP. garnered 2254 votes. The winning Sask. Party candidate, Don McMorris garnered 5354 votes, Liberal Michael Hiebert, 528 votes, and Green Party candidate Dagan Harding, 202 votes. It was an interesting experience. Of course the reality of being an elected M.L.A. who is also a woman, does not mean they will be successful in putting women's issues on the agenda, or even be interested in doing so. Two of the candidates from the Women's forum have been elected: Laura Ross, S.P. and Sandra Morin, NDP. Both articulated their experience, and committment to issues that concern women, as did the Liberal candidate, Marie-France Magnin(who captured a respectable 2191 votes in the same riding that Sandra Morin won), and Larissa Shasko, Green Party (who increased the number of votes cast for the Greens by 100 in her riding). It will be up to us as women in this province to hold all our elected candidates accountable to the many issues women face. I will especially be watching, and hoping that "Gail" the women needing an ovarian cancer drug that is not on the Formulary, will, this time around, get the drug she needs to prolong her life. For many women, the impact of these kinds of issues is often uppermost in their minds, and there are so many similar issues, all of which seem to disappear into a sink hole, once government gets into office. Enough said!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Women's Forum Election 2007

Thursday, November 1st found a receptive audience at City Hall Forum listening to four Women candidates, as they talked about themselves, their Parties' platforms, and answered questions from the Moderator and from the floor. I thought it would be great if all four candidates won seats in the next Legislature of Saskatchewan. No one backed down from a question, and the atmosphere was quite positive (in my opinion). The women were articulate about their reason's for entering politics. Each had an impressive background of personal experience, volunteering and committment to what they were doing. The challenges were admited to, but not defeating to them in any way. The obvious interest they took in answering the questions from the floor, and the honesty they showed when confronted with information they were not familiar with, was refreshing. It flies in the face of comments you often hear about women being so involved with their work and family that they are not interested in anything else, nor do they have the time. It is refreshing to hear why they are making the time, and it often is related to their personal experiences, and a realization that the solutions to many problems would progress when given a women's insight and perspective. Thanks to the YWCA for arranging the Forum. It was time well spent.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"On the Campaign Trail"

This morning was my second time "door-knocking". This is a very time consuming exercise, but worthwhile in that it brings you face to face with the voting public, and it is on "their turf". When campaign dollars have to be measured out, this can be an economical exercise as well. For women candidates, it is an opportunity to meet the public, and personally respond to questions they have about issues relating to their Party, and listen to problems, and address them when possible, and get back to them with answers when you can't. Many of the issues to-day related to Health care. Others to what is seen as an inequitable property tax system in Rural Saskatchewan. Walking up and down streets on this very "crisp" Saturday morning, you become aware of the nature of the neighborhood, where the schools are, and the parks. One area was where a shooting had occurred, the windows and doors boarded up. The closeness of this building to the school was surprising, and one can readily understand the concerns voiced at the time, yet no one I talked to in this area mentioned this. At the Women's shelter, the exchange between another volunteer and a resident there was conducted through an open window. All were reminders of the difficult problems faced by people in communities all over the province. All were reminders that life is not often defined by the issues that most political parties are talking about on the radio, T.V. or in the newspapers. In this very humbling experience of encouraging people to share their problems with government or party policies with you, the reality of the lives of ordinary citizens is very much uppermost in one's mind when the canvassing is finished for the day.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Saskatchewan Election

There is not much evidence in rural Saskatchewan that an election is taking place. There are no Liberal signs up along the highway, or anywhere else that I have travelled in the last week. There are a few Sask. Party signs, very big ones; and more N.D.P. signs, very small ones. The local paper is out and only the Sask.Party has an ad in it. I received my second mail drop from the Sask.Party, but none from any other parties. Either money is very tight, or rural Saskatchewan doesn't matter very much in this election. I am campaigning for Corinne Pauliuk, N.D.P. candidate for Indian Head-Milestone. Corinne has a lot of experience in Agriculture, Health, Justice and Education, which is very valuable in door to door campaigning, explaining issues and policies, and answering questions. Corinne's campaign is being run in a "positive" way, not in "taking the other person down" according to her Campaign Manager, Jane Whyte. Corinne wants to be a "Voice for Rural Saskatchewan". This will be a challenge, as the recent school closures in the southern part of the riding, have created bitter feelings and a lot of anger. Corinne's message is better received in other areas of this very large rural riding. One evening on the job and I can see the challenges. It is interesting to be on the "inside, looking out".

Monday, October 22, 2007

Profile of a Woman Candidate in Sask. Election

October 22nd and the Leader Post has a featured article on Women candidates in the Nov. 7th election. Entitled: "More women on ballot, but barriers remain", by Veronica Rhodes, the article gives a positive spin to the idea of women being encouraged to become candidates by their respective parties. The numbers given in the article are higher than those given to me by the Sask. Party and the N.D.P., when I inquired earlier. The Sask. Party has 13 female candidates, the N.D.P. has 13, and the Liberals have 15. No numbers are given for The Green Party, which is unfortunate, as their numbers are important to the voting public as well. With the suggestion that technology is partly to blame for the low numbers of women candidates, another deterrant is addressed by Doug Still, Provincial Secretary for the N.D.P. who gave this statement in the article "It is this modern day and age- with instant research on people on the Internet, blogging when someone can be very, very unkind- I think everybody is having a longer second look at getting involved and I think women do that maybe more so than men, weighing whether they want to take that plunge. It is very adversarial, it is very difficult." This points out the bias that women would be targeted in a way that would be intolerable to them, which adds to the biases that are already out there in the way women candidates are often targeted. It would seem that after todays' attack on Brad Wall on a (I think) Blog/Web site, and the resulting resignation of the N.D.P. candidate that posted the remarks, would tell us that this is not going to go unnoticed, that it will be unacceptable to the parties and the public. Nevertheless we did get a profile on an energetic woman candidate for the Liberals, Zeba Ahmad, who acknowledged the challenge of running, but had positive views on being a woman candidate. There has been excellent coverage of election topics on the radio, which helps me a lot (being a commuter), and it was hear that I learned that the N.D.P. are going to look into Electoral Reform. Anyone interested in one of two informational pamphlets that were sent out to the voting Ontario public ontheir MMP referendum, I will have some copies in class. I start working in the campaign trail this week. I don't expect it to be easy, but I am sure it will be interesting.