Women to Watch 2021 Federal Election
The Cumberland Strategies Women in Politics Programme is focused on examining the systemic barriers, biases and obstacles faced by women in politics while also celebrating those women – of all ages and backgrounds – who have forged a path in a sector long dominated by men. Despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s progressive stance on feminism and achieving gender parity in his Cabinet, there were still only 98 women elected to the House of Commons in the 43rd general election. Women currently comprise less than 30% of elected officials in Canada. Each week for the duration of the election campaign we will be featuring the women to watch in the upcoming election. These features will cross party lines and highlight the candidates’ unique experiences and what they might bring to parliament. Not only do these candidates have the potential to increase the representation of women in the House of Commons, but they also have a wealth of knowledge and experience that could greatly benefit the policy-making process.
Here are Cumberland Strategies Women to Watch:
Ruth Ellen Brosseau is an NDP veteran. She gained national attention in the 2011 federal when she was elected in a surprise victory as part of the so-called ‘orange wave.’ Despite her inauspicious beginning in 2011, Ruth Ellen became a devoted MP who spent time getting to know her constituents and improving her French. In 2012, she was named deputy agriculture critic in the NDP’s shadow cabinet and in 2014, she was elected as vice-chair of the NDP National Caucus. Ruth Ellen was re-elected in 2015. Her rising star status was solidified when she was appointed NDP House Leader by Jagmeet Singh in 2018. Ruth Ellen lost her seat in 2019 when the NDP were wiped out in Quebec; however, she is hoping for a comeback this election. Ruth Ellen went from being a “paper candidate” who was on the receiving end of a lot of negative media attention to being one of the most highly regarded, hard-working MPs in the NDP Caucus. If re-elected, we can expect more great things from her on Parliament Hill.
Hannah Hodson, Conservative Candidate for Victoria
Although Hannah Hodson is not new to politics, she is considered by many to be a trailblazer as the Conservative Party’s first openly transgender candidate. Hannah has worked in BC politics since 2014, first with the provincial government and more recently as a Legislative Assistant to BC MP Dan Albas. In deciding to run Hannah has said, “all Canadians, especially the most vulnerable, deserve to have a secure future in our country and in our communities. That is why I am running – to give voice to the voiceless.” While she may be in for a tough fight in Victoria, her passion and decision to run will be a big inspiration to those who follow in her footsteps.
Chrystia Freeland, Liberal Candidate for University – Rosedale
Chrystia Freeland was first elected as a Member of Parliament in a 2013 by-election. Chrystia was born in Peace River, Alberta and was educated at Harvard University and was a University of Oxford Rhodes Scholar. Prior to entering politics, Chrystia was a journalist who worked for the Financial Times, The Washington Post and the Economist; she eventually became deputy editor of the Globe and Mail. Since the Liberal government election in 2015, Chrystia has held several Cabinet portfolios, including Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of International Trade, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and her current role as the first ever female Minister of Finance. Chrystia is a star within the Liberal party, who we expect to be re-elected. We can’t wait to see what she does next; it will be interesting, regardless of the election outcome.
Melissa Lantsman, the Conservative Candidate for Thornhill
Melissa is a strong leader within the Conservative Party of Canada. While she has never held elected office, she has advised numerous Cabinet Ministers and elected officials. Melissa is public affairs professional and serves her community on several boards, including; Michael Garron Hospital, Hot Docs Film Festival, The Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee, and Jewish Addiction Community services. In addition, Melissa has extensive campaign experience, which provides an excellent foundation for her team. Overall, Melissa has the tools she needs to win and skills to represent her community of Thornhill.
Melissa Chung-Mowat, the NDP candidate for Winnipeg North
Shelby Kramp-Neuman, the Conservative Party Candidate for Hastings-Lennox & Addington.