North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice highlighted the need for gender diversity in local governments with a tweet about a gender gap within Prince Rupert’s current municipal council.
In an Oct. 3 tweet, Rice, a former Prince Rupert city councillor herself, suggested the current “all-male council might be interested in expanding the diversity on city council” in a retweet of a Canadian Women in Local Leadership’s (CanWILL) Oct. 5 webinar for women interested in applying for their Inclusive Community Initiatives funding.
CanWILL is a three-year project from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities aiming to increase the participation and retention of women in municipal leadership and governance.
Coun. Barry Cunningham agrees with Rice’s sentiment, but is surprised she said that considering her past experience on Prince Rupert’s city council.
In contrast to today’s council, in 2011, Rice was elected into a city council composed of five women and one man. In 2013, Rice quit her position as councillor to run as the North Coast MLA.
The last woman to sit on city council was Joy Thorkelson, from 2014 to 2018, where she was the sole female member. During the last municipal election in 2018 two women ran for council, Sarah Dantzer and Charmayne Carlson, but did not get elected.
“At the local level, in Prince Rupert, there’s been some phenomenal women on council. If you look back in the history, they’ve gone on to make big footprints, Cunningham said. “Council should represent the residents of Prince Rupert. The residents of Prince Rupert decide who they elect and there’s been a lack of people wanting to run.”
Responding to Rice’s statement, Coun. Wade Niesh also pointed towards the lack of participation from people when it comes to local politics.
“There is not just a lack of women representation, there is a lack of people in general that want to participate when it comes to an election,” Coun. Wade Niesh told Then Northern View.
Rice who is Victoria as the B.C. Legislative Assembly resumes its first fall session on Oct.4, was unavailable for a further comment at the time of publishing this article.
The Northern View has reached out to the Mayor and other council members for a comment.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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