Patty Edwards, left, and Theresa Kingston are launching a campaign to draw more women into local government. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Why don’t more women run for local government?

A Port Alberni duo is trying to break stereotypes and encourage more women to run

In the 2015 municipal election in Port Alberni, women made up 14 percent of the elected council. In British Columbia that number was 36 percent of councillors and 28 percent of mayors. Two women who have worked with local governments want to see those numbers increase, so they are holding an information session next week to give women in Port Alberni an idea of what it takes to run for office.

Patty Edwards—who sat on the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board for 15 years—and Theresa Kingston, who worked for the City of Port Alberni in various positions for 25 years have put together a Women in Local Government campaign.

“The No. 1 reason women don’t run for office is nobody asked them,” Edwards said, quoting from one of the Women in Local Government’s social media campaigns. “We’ve got to get an even playing field where it’s a balance.”

The United Nations defines 30 percent as the minimum number required for government to reflect women’s concerns. According to Edwards and Kingston, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has a campaign to get to 30 percent by 2026. They hope their info session will make strides when the Alberni Valley goes to the local polls in October.

The Tuesday, June 12 event, sponsored by the Port Alberni Women’s Business Network, will begin at Char’s Landing on Argyle Street with a sign-in and social at 6 p.m. followed by an opening at 6:30 p.m. Davina Hartwell from the City of Port Alberni and Wendy Thomson from the ACRD will present The Nuts and Bolts of Running for Local Office. Both have been involved with running municipal elections.

At 7:15 p.m. a panel of women leaders featuring women such as Gillian Trumper (former mayor and MLA) and Donna Brett (former city councillor and chair of the ACRD) will speak. Tofino mayor Josie Osborne will give a keynote address at 7:45 p.m.

For women who cannot make the info session but are interested in running for office, Kingston suggests checking out online campaign schools, or webinars like those from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) or Wave Edmonton (womensinitiativeedmonton.ca).

For more information, please e-mail Kingston at t.kingston@shaw.ca.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

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