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Respectfully, Can We All Agree to Disagree ?

Sep 28, 2017

 

Developments over the past couple days have been tough for many women on Parliament Hill, and tough for us.
 
Equal Voice has been asked to weigh in on a difficult matter involving the government and opposition parties who are having a contentious debate about who should chair the federal House of Commons Status of Women Commimttee. 
 
EV is a multi-partisan organization dedicated to electing more women. Our recent initiative, Daughters of the Vote, was not just a historic and ambitious project, but a massive labour of love aimed at encouraging talented young women with incredibly different viewpoints to take their place in politics. 
 
This being said, EV does everything it can to stay away from highly partisan debates that are issue- based and ideologically driven.
 
EV's power is in convening very different women - with often completely divergent points of view - at the same table by virtue of the fact that they are unified by the singular goal of getting more women in elected office from all political stripes.  
 
Equal Voice is frequently asked to weigh in on matters of policy that go beyond representation and we reliably abstain from doing so.
 
Where we become vocal is when female MPs are mistreated, maligned or denigrated for serving in elected office.
 
We recently defended federal Minister Catherine McKenna after she was maligned on Twitter, as we did -  3 years ago -  the Hon. Michelle Rempel whose negative social media experience was part of the catalyst for EV's #RespectHer campaign. 
 
Some have asked why we have not defended CPC MP Rachel Harder who we deeply admire as a younger woman in politics, and who we asked to appear in EV's Daughters of the Vote video.  
 
The rejection of Ms. Harder for Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women is based on strict ideological grounds.  
 
Some questioned whether or not EV should enthusiastically support the effort to block Ms. Harder's nomination as Chair. Others have now asked that we adamantly defend Ms. Harder's nomination as Chair.  Clearly, this is not a debate for Equal Voice. 
 
From what we can see, while this is unquestionably a difficult situation for Ms. Harder, the objections to her nomination as Chair are not rooted in sexism or misogyny.  
 
We are pleased that Ms. Harder's leadership potential has been recognized by her leader.  However, it is not Equal Voice's place to intervene in a highly partisan debate about her suitability based on ideological considerations. 
 
Taking a step back from each situation that emerges is, no doubt, difficult .  Amid very intense partisanship, EV works incredibly hard to be even handed and give each side their due.  
 
We stand with every woman who seeks to serve in elected office regardless of ideology and party.  It's what distinguishes Equal Voice from most other organizations.  We appreciate and respect that women have very different views and life experiences, and we welcome their full engagement in politics.
 
Politics has long been a blood sport. Each year, EV seeks to elevate the debate among Parliamentarians so that Canadians can be proud of their Parliament and those who work on behalf of their country.  
 
Equal Voice dearly hopes this current situation does not deteriorate into name calling by either side or harassment of any person, elected or otherwise, who has been, or will be, involved in this discussion.  We trust that all those who care deeply about women in politics can respectfully exchange their views.  
 
We are watching closely.  
 
 
 
 

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