Liberals defeat gender equity bill

OTTAWA – On Wednesday, the vast majority of Liberal MPs voted down a bill tabled by NDP MP Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby South) that sought to get more women in federal politics.

“It’s shameful for the Liberals to shut down this initiative, when only 26% of MPs in the House of Commons are women,” said Stewart. “They have to do more than just call themselves feminists.”

Bill C-237, the Candidate Gender Equity Act, would have forced political parties to run a larger proportion of female candidates or face reductions in their election refunds which are subsidized by the taxpayer.

“Canada ranks 64th in the world on gender equity in politics, placing us behind countries like Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Stewart. “I’m shocked so many Liberals opposed my bill.”

In all 126 Liberal MPs, including the entire cabinet, joined with the Conservatives in defeating Stewart's bill. The vote came a day after the anniversary of Persons Day, when the legal definition of person was expanded to include women in 1929.