Why So Few Female Political Candidates in Cornwall Ontario For the 2014 Election? by Jamie Gilcig

jg2CORNWALL Ontario – A disturbing trend is occurring so far in the upcoming 2014 Municipal elections in Cornwall Ontario, and that is a total lack of female candidates.

As I type these words only 1 out of 13 candidates for office is a woman.    That’s scary.  In nearby South Stormont for example their council of five has two women, and their CAO and clerk are female.

Current Cornwall council has 2 out of 10 of the fairer gender.    Some of those talking about running are clearly not strong material either (won’t name names today) so the question is why?

Are women not in strong roles in Cornwall?  Most of the leadership positions are held by men.  I have never seen for example a female president of the Chamber of Commerce.  (South Stormont’s Chamber has as female President and VP) Team Cornwall, a man.  No major management in our Police or Fire Departments belong to women.

As someone that totally believes in equality I’m trying to get a handle on the lack of female leaders in this city?  I know here at CFN we have always striven to enpower people and especially women.  We had for an example a show on Seaway Radio focused exactly on that hosted by Marina Restinetti who started the Naked Face group here in Cornwall.   Ultimately her show was not supported by local women’s groups.

Surely women in Cornwall can up the ante as they sure as heck complain as much as we men do about what’s wrong.   And most women wear cosmetics because of their own vanity or other women.   How many guys really are more attracted because a women’s eye make up matches her nail colour?

There were recent rumblings about the fall of the Alberta Premier being “Gender Politics”.   Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was quoted recently.

Would it be a shock to me if there were some part of the decision that had to do with her being a woman? It wouldn’t be a shock to me.

Yes women have certain challenges that men don’t, but isn’t that simply an excuse?  Is it a question of the “old boys” not allowing women to have equal access?   From what I’ve anecdotaly seen and heard I would not support that thesis here in Cornwall.

Frankly it’s up to women to assert themselves and compete just like the boys have to; without excuses.     And women tend to be the most critical of other women.   Will the women of Cornwall support female candidates?

While there’s still plenty of time for nominations it’d be nice to see more gender equality in our community.  Is it a deal breaker?   Not in the big picture because ideally we vote for the ten best people for council regardless of their gender;  that ultimately is what equality is all about;  but at the same time it’s healthier for our culture if we can find those ten people from a broader representation of our community and not just have a bunch of sycophants who owe their livings to political masters.

What do you think Cornwallites?   Why do we have so few female community leaders and political candidates?  You can post your comments below.



  1. I was actually wondering the same thing myself. Here in Clearwater I had positioned myself to run for City Council in 2012; my mentor was herself an outgoing Councilwoman. Unfortunately a small personal crises (divorce) thwarted those plans nicely – so I had to bow out. Here in Clearwater, Council is only a part time position and the salary is nominal at best, so working full time would still be a necessity – which is impossible for a full time working, single mom with all of the added responsibilities that you are expected to take on (boards, committees etc.) when on Council. I don’t know how it works in Cornwall, but if it’s a full time paid position, that absolutely makes all the difference in the world and I’d encourage anyone who is looking to make a life in Public Service to start with their local council. Believe it or not, your local city council has much more of an effect on your day to day lives than you realize – so the change you could be instrumental in implementing would be substantial. Don’t worry about your age, or even political experience. I had zero experience – save a degree in Political Science (sorry – but who cares…lol) – so I went and met with our Mayor and asked him where to start, he gave me a list of things he thought were essential, and I did them. In my last phone call with him, when I told him what was happening, his comment to me was “Mary – but you’d win.” I knew I would – but my kids came first. Clearwater has a population of roughly 110,000 citizens. I hope I’ve inspired at least one woman to take up the gauntlet and at least try. ANYONE against Tammy Hart would be an improvement.

  2. I think Mary hit it on the head. In Cornwall city council is a part-time gig. Women who are mothers have enough on their plate that they don’t want to add more responsibilities. I don’t know if Bernadette Clément and Elaine MacDonald are married. They represent 20% of council. With only 1 candidate in the current 13 that represents 7%. If both Bernadette Clément and Elaine MacDonald seek re-election that would bump the rate up to 20%. Hopefully we can get more women candidates by election time. With the rumored candidacy of Alyssa Blais that may help bump up the numbers. I`m going to withold my comments on her running. But those of you who know me here know what I think of Alyssa Blais,, a Elaine MacDonald protege. But how many will get elected??

  3. Who cares if they are female or male, so long as they get the work done and citizens benefit.

  4. I agree with Jason. If you are only considering gender you may not be getting the best candidate.

  5. A few weeks ago in Ottawa, a newly elected female MP was heckled and mocked during Question Period because her voice wasn’t deep enough. Three guesses as to which party was doing the heckling and mocking.

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