Election 2015: Why Elizabeth May matters

liz may photo

Yesterday, I watched CTV’s Don Martin give Elizabeth May a chance to put forth her platform on foreign affairs. I give Martin credit for giving May airtime when no one else will.

Unlike her counterparts who have been given lots of exposure during debates — including Gilles Duceppe who doesn’t really even have a political party or even a seat anymore — Liz has been conspicuously absent during the debates.

I don’t blame Harper, Mulcair, or Trudeau for this. I blame the people who are putting on the debates. And I blame the women at the Munk School, people like Janice Stein, who haven’t pushed to include her. I also blame the media for not making this an issue.

As women, we sometimes are our worst enemies. We stay silent and let the men run things without questioning their motives or their values. She is a legitimate leader of a political party, who has taken her seat in the House of Commons.

And yet, she is ignored by the powers that be. I don’t understand it.

Looking around the federal scene, I wonder. Where is the next Kim Campbell, Barbara McDougall, Flora MacDonald, Sheila Copps, Monique Begin, or Judy Erola? When did women stop being significant on the national scene?

These days, the only time you see a woman is when she’s allowed to perform like a trained seal on a media election panel. Or when she’s ridiculed for being a bad candidate because she said something stupid on social media.

As women, we literally have no voice in this campaign. The only women’s issue seems to be whether women should be able to wear niqabs, and only the men are talking about it.

As a woman, I want the leaders to address why a significant number of women are living below the poverty line as they age. I want them to discuss employment strategies for women like me who raised their children as single mothers only to be left unemployable, pensionless, and irrelevant. I want to hear about what is being done to prevent violence against women in communities like Wilno, where a criminal, out on a ticket, was able to get a  gun and kill three women in cold blood. And I want to know whatever happened to this country’s so-called social safety net.

To me, Elizabeth May is a more than a female leader. She is a symbol that reminds us that women still don’t matter in 2015 — if they ever did.

It’s a double standard, and women should be asking why it’s there.


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