For politicians, shaking hands, kissing babies, cutting ribbons and being on the receiving end of angry diatribes from unhappy members of the public, all come with the territory. But women parliamentarians have been speaking up and speaking out about a particularly gendered form of social media bullying, harassment and threats that appear to have become more prevalent. In this roundtable three current or former women parliamentarians discuss the abuse they’ve encountered, how they’ve responded to it, and what they believe needs to be done to combat it.
Editor’s note: This roundtable contains unparliamentary language and, in particular, a derogatory slur. Prior to publication, the editorial board had a fulsome discussion and debate about whether to run this slur uncensored. Proponents of running the term uncensored noted that Hansard policy is to run slurs in an unedited form. Moreover, as women parliamentarians have had to hear or read these terms while serving the public, there was a sense that it would be hypocritical to censor the words for other readers in an article of this type. Alternatively, some members of the board felt running the slur unedited would revictimize women by perpetuating it and that it was beneath the dignity of the magazine to do it. And, in a very practical matter, it was noted that publishing these terms unedited could influence Web search engines to lower the Canadian Parliamentary Review’s ranking on these pages. By way of compromise, we have opted to run the terms with an asterix in place of a vowel to clearly indicate the slur or language being used, but to blunt its impact and eliminate search engine concerns. However, we include this note to explain that our decision to censor was not done without careful consideration and it is a decision we do not take lightly. We invite anyone who disagrees with the decision to send a letter to the editor, and have given all participants in this roundtable the opportunity to write a response which we will print alongside this article if they disagree with our decision.
Continue reading “Roundtable: Social Media Harassment of Women Politicians”
On March 8, 2017, coinciding with International Women’s Day, 338 young women between 18 and 23 filled every seat in the House of Commons. Marking the 100th anniversary of some women receiving the right to vote in federal elections, Equal Voice’s highly successful Daughters of the Vote (DOTV) program drew positive attention from media around Canada and the world. As DOTV delegates reveal in this illuminating roundtable discussion, the inspiration they drew from each other and the women parliamentarians they met on the journey to Ottawa and during their week in the capital will have far-reaching effects as they share what they’ve learned with their communities and apply it in their own future endeavours.
CPR: What have you taken away from this experience as young women who may have had an interest in politics but perhaps had little or no experience with parliamentary politics or partisan politics?
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New British Columbia Speaker
On June 22, Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson was acclaimed as the new Speaker of British Columbia’s Legislative Assembly, replacing Linda Reid.
A former executive director of the BC Agriculture Council, he also spent time as general manager of the BC Fruit Growers’ Association and the BC Milk Producers Association, and was director of the Kelowna Museum, the Okanagan Innovation Fund and the BC Bioenergy Network.
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A selection of recent publications relating to parliamentary studies prepared with the assistance of the Library of Parliament (May 2017-July 2017)
Bowden, James W.J. “Reforming prorogation.” The Dorchester Review, 7 (1): 64-8, Spring/Summer 2017.
Continue reading “New and Notable Titles”
Newfoundland and Labrador was the last province to enter Confederation, but it boasts an important Canadian first – Bettie Duff, who served as Clerk of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador from 1977-1991 was the first woman to hold this position in the country. In this special edition of the Canadian Parliamentary Review celebrating 100 years of Canadian women parliamentarians, it is fitting that we are also able to honour one of the trailblazing women working within parliamentary institutions that support parliamentarians’ ability to fulfill democratic responsibilities.
Continue reading “Sketches of Parliament and Parliamentarians Past: Trailblazer: Canada’s First Female Clerk”