Alberta Politics

alberta election 2012: counting women candidates.

Women make up the majority of Alberta’s population, but they rarely come even close to being the majority in electoral politics.

Alberta’s 2012 election could be notable for many reasons, two of those reasons being that it will be the first where both the incumbent Premier, Alison Redford, and the leader of the party polling in second place, Danielle Smith, are women.

The two other main political parties have had women lead them in past elections (Pam Barrett led the NDP during the 1997 election and Nancy MacBeth led the Liberals in 2001). Former Edmonton school trustee Sue Huff led the Alberta Party as acting-leader until May 2011.

Aside from the 100% increase of women party leaders since the last election, there also appears to be an increase in the number of women Alberta’s political parties are nominating as candidates.

The NDP has so far nominated the most woman candidates of the political parties contesting the 2012 election. By my count, the NDP has chosen 39 women out of 87 candidates (45%). This is a boost for the NDP from the 2008 election, when that party nominated 32 women out of 83 candidates (38%).

Also on the increase is the Progressive Conservatives, which has chosen 23 women out of the 86 candidates nominated to run in the next election (27%). All the contestants in the one remaining nomination contest in Calgary-West are men. This is a seven percent increase for the PCs from the last election when only 17 out of the 83 candidates were women (20%). The PCs have a long way to go before they even approach a gender balance of candidates, but a seven percent increase does move them closer.

Despite their strong female leader, Wildrose candidates are predominantly men. By my count, only 11 of the 84 nominated Wildrose candidates are women (13%). This is a tiny increase from 2008, when only 6 of the 61 candidates standing for the Wildrose Alliance were women (10%).

The Liberal Party, with 42 candidates currently nominated, has chosen 7 women candidates (17%). I expect this number to increase as the Liberals add to their slate of candidates before the election. In 2008, the 22 women under the Liberal Party banner out of 82 candidates (25%).

The Alberta Party has nominated four women out of fourteen candidates (28%).

Number of women candidates by party
2011 Election

NDP: 39 out of 87 – 45%
PC: 23 out of 86 – 27%
Wildrose: 11 out of 85 – 13%
Liberal: 7 out of 42 – 17%
Alberta Party: 4 out of 14 – 28%

2008 Election
NDP: 32 out of 83 – 38%
Liberal: 22 out of 83 – 26%
PC: 17 out of 83 – 20%
Wildrose: 6 out of 61 – 10%

7 replies on “alberta election 2012: counting women candidates.”

No special mention for Communist Party (Alberta) leader Naomi Rankin?

In Soviet Alberta Communist leader get 48 votes in different electoral district every time you!

Male, female, employment equity driven, francophone first, whatever. None of this matters. What we need is strong representation from all constituencies – not people being elected because of brand/anointment/or willing to sell their soul for a chance to get a cabinet position.

@Gordon: I disagree. Women make up 50% of the population, but less than 25% of our elected politicians. It is therefore justified to judge political parties on their progress towards redressing that imbalance. One party in particular has policies in place to try and achieve gender balance in its slate of candidates. You can see it’s working: from a 38% proportion in 2008 to a 45% mark today.

Women as a whole (yes, there are exceptions, just at there are exceptions to the style most male politicians adopt) bring a different approach and a different sensitivity to politics. We need their perspectives on the issues of the day if our political system is going to truly do what we the voters want.

I never know what to make of statistics. Does the change from 2008 to 2011 signify an increasing acceptance of female candidates by all the parties except the Liberals? Likely not. How come the most female-friendly party (NDP) can’t get elected?

In the end it all boils down to this: will you support a party blindly or are will you work a little to learn about the issues and where your candidates stand. In either case gender, race and age are irrelevant.

Female + Male =
NDP (Brian Mason) 40+37=87
Wildrose (DANIELLE SMITH) 11+76=87
Liberal (Raj Sherman) 14+45=59
Alberta Party (Glenn Taylor) 6+21=27
Evergreen (Larry Ashmore) 4+12=16
Communist (NAOMI RANKIN) 1+0=1
Independent (James Ford) 0+1=1
Social Credit (Len Skowronski) 0+1=1
Separation (Bruce Hutton) 0+1=1

Independent 0+2=2
PC 0+3=3
Wildrose 0+3=3

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