There should be more women in federal politics: Advocates
Women make up just one-third of the candidates for office in the federal election, and advocates say that is not enough.
The non-partisan advocacy group Women in House encourages women to get involved in politics.
Started by McGill students 15 years ago, the group organizes annual trips to the House of Commons in Ottawa so students can shadow female MPs and Senators.
Lana Belber, a former co-ordinator of the group, said the experience can be life-changing.
"When you're there, the energy of parliament is palpable, it's infectious. You see other women succeeding and the stories we most often hear are men. So it's important to view yourself succeeding in a certain setting by being there in the flesh," said Belber.
In 2015 one-third of candidates from the leading parties are female.
43 percent of NDP candidates are women, compared to 39 percent of Green candidates, 31 percent of Liberals, 28 percent of Bloc Quebecois candidates and 20 percent of Conservatives.
Valerie Assouline, the Conservative candidate in the riding of Pierrefonds-Dollard, defended the party, saying it has given women a leading role in Ottawa.
“We have to see not the number of candidates, but the number of ministers that are women with the Conservative party,” she said “We have more women ministers than in all the commonwealth countries, so this is important to note.”
In the Montreal riding of Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle, the three leading candidates are female: Isabelle Morin for the NDP, Daniela Chivu for the Conservative Party and Anju Dhillon for the Liberal party.
Morin is considered the incumbent in the newly-formed riding, having been elected in 2011 in the riding of Notre Dame de Grace-Lachine.
Coming to Ottawa at age 26 among a flood of newcomers with the NDP, Morin said she had to build her credibility.
"As a young woman, you don't have a lot of experience. Your social network is not the same as a 50-year-old man, you know, so you have to build your credibility," she said.
"But I'm proud with my record and the past four years I've been on the job, I did what was needed to make sure people can have confidence in a woman in power."
Anju Dhillon, the Liberal candidate for the riding, said she’d like to see more diversity in Parliament.
“It’s a matter of equality,” she said. It’s a matter of representing everyone equally. Women are about 50 per cent of the Canadian population at this time and we’re only about 20 per cent represented in Parliament.”