A plan designed to increase the number of women running in New Brunswick elections has gained the support of PC MLA Dorothy Shephard, who is also the opposition critic for women’s equality.
Under a Liberal bill introduced last week, women running for provincial office would net 1.5 times more public funding for political parties than votes cast for male candidates.
After every election, a pool of money of about $700,000 would be distributed to registered political parties based on their share of the vote.
The government argues that by providing incentives for votes for women, political parties will be more likely to run female candidates in ridings they believe they can win.
‘Women don’t normally run because they either don’t have the confidence to do it… or they’re not asked and this would make an incentive to make the ask.’
– MLA Dorothy Shephard
When the announcement was first made Shephard, the Progressive Conservative member for Saint John Lancaster, called the proposal a “fly-by policy” that didn’t provide incentives directly to women.
However, in an interview on Information Morning Fredericton on Monday, Shephard called the policy “innovative” and said it was a good incentive that was originally suggested by the New Brunswick Women’s Council.
“Women don’t normally run because they either don’t have the confidence to do it — which was in my case, or they’re not asked and this would make an incentive to make the ask,” Shephard said.
She said as a woman without post-secondary education, she “never saw politics as a potential career.”
“If it hadn’t been for a now colleague, coming to me back in 2008 and saying, ‘I want to talk to you about a political career.’ And I said, ‘What political career?’ and he said, ‘The one you’re going to have ‘ — I don’t know if I ever would have made the jump.”
Shephard said she has come to realize her experience as a business owner and volunteer is valuable in the world of politics.