Prince Rupert’s 1973 city council included two women - Iona V. Campagnolo (second from the left) and Audrey M. Anderson (second from the right). Prince Rupert has had a female representative on each council since until 2018. (Photo courtesy of the Prince Rupert & Regional Archives, Dr. R. Geddes Large fonds, LP984-29-1759-289)

All male council breaks 46-year Prince Rupert streak

Prince Rupert will not have a woman on council for the first time since 1973

The City of Prince Rupert will break a decades-old streak when it swears in its councillors on Nov. 5.

Nick Adey, Barry Cunningham, Blair Mirau, Wade Niesh, Gurvinder Randhawa and Reid Skelton-Morven will join acclaimed Mayor Lee Brain to form the city’s new council.

READ MORE: Council and trustee results in Prince Rupert

However, it will be the the first time since 1972, that there will be no female representative on council, a period that spans 46 years.

“It’s definitely unfortunate that we have lost female respresentation on Council,” said Prince Rupert mayor Lee Brain in an emailed statement. “I believe that it’s important to have diverse voices on council, however that is not always how the electorate votes.”

The all-male 1972 council consisted of: Art Murray; David Gibbard; Peter Schlosser-Moller; R. Bruce Bennett; Stan E. Kary; and H. William (Bill) Smith.

The following year, Iona V. Campagnolo and Audrey M. Anderson successfully campaigned and were appointed in 1973 — at this time a new council was appointed each year — beginning the run of there being at least one woman on council.

Campagnolo, who had previously served as a school board trustee, served for two years on council before being elected in 1974 as the Skeena member of Parliament where she served as the Minister of State for Fitness and Amateur Sport. She would eventually go on to become the first female Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

READ MORE: Knut Bjorndal is the new mayor of Port Edward

“Prince Rupert is certainly a community that supports diversity and in the past has elected strong female representation, including the council before me which saw five women elected to office,” said Brain.

That predominantly female council was elected in 2008 and consisted of: Anna Ashley; Kathy Bedard; Gina Garon; Sheila Gordon Payne; and Joy Thorkelson, who formed council alongside Nelson Kinney and Mayor Jack Mussallem.

Brain said he did not see this election as a trend, but simply the isolated circumstances of this particular election.

“Council will continue to engage with many diverse voices of the community over the next four years to ensure we make choices that have the best possible outcome for all residents,” he said.



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