Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Once again, looking at the Female First Ministers in Canada

We have seen a major shift in Canadian politics with respect to the senior level of power of women in government, specifically with the number of women premiers.   Currently five of the 14 First Ministers in Canada are women.   Less than two years ago it was one, Eva Aariak in Nunavut.

Canada has only had ten women in the top job in our history and five of them are in power at the moment and three of them leading three of the four largest provinces.  With the swearing in of Pauline Marois as Quebec premier on the 19th of September, 47.5% of Canadians are living in a province or territory with a female premier.  If the Ontario Liberals choose either Kathleen Wynne or Sandra Pupatello as leader, this would mean we would have a sixth female premier.

Here is how they all stack up by time in office - bold means currently in office
  1. Eva Aariak         Nunavut 1510 days
  2. Nellie Cournoyea   NWT     1469 days
  3. Catherine Callbeck PEI     1353 days
  4. Pat Duncan         Yukon    884 days
  5. Kathy Dunderdale   NF       762 days
  6. Christy Clark      BC       660 days
  7. Alison Redford     Alberta  453 days
  8. Rita Johnson       BC       217 days
  9. Kim Campbell       Federal  132 days
  10. Pauline Marois     Quebec   105 days
I think the measurement of time in office does not really do justice to the differing levels of political importance to the positions.  Leading a large province is very different than a small province of a territory.  I think it is a better measure of how they stack by multiplying their days in office by the population they are governing.

Doing that gives us this list:
Bold means currently in office, underlined means won an election
  1. Kim Campbell       Fed 3,786,000,000  132 days PC
  2. Christy Clark      BC  2,904,000,000  660 days Lib
  3. Alison Redford     Ab  1,652,000,000  432 days PC
  4. Pauline Marois     Que   830,000,000  105 days PQ
  5. Rita Johnson       BC    715,500,000  217 days Socred
  6. Kathy Dunderdale   Nf    393,000,000  762 days PC
  7. Catherine Callbeck PEI   149,000,000 1353 days Lib
  8. Nellie Cournoyea   NWT    92,000,000 1469 days na
  9. Eva Aariak         Nu     48,100,000 1510 days na
  10. Pat Duncan         Yk     24,800,000  884 days Lib
This is a total of 10,594,000,000 person days of governance.   On June 14th 2011 this was only 5,310,000,000 person days of governance.   Half of the time people in Canada have been governed by a woman has been in the last 18 months.  Also of interest is that the leader remains Kim Campbell and she is still more than 1/3 of the total governance time.  Alison Redford will pass Kim Campbell in August 2014.   Because Quebec has more than twice the population of Alberta, Pauline Marois will top the leader board  on January 12th 2014 if there is no early election.  This is assuming the Ontario Liberals do not choose a woman as leader and she does not managed to govern till the end of 2013.

Before October 11th 2011 only two women had won an election leading a political party.  As of that point, five of  the nine women that had been first ministers had come only to power because of a change in party leadership.  Since October 11th 2011 Kathy Dunderdale, Alison Redford and Pauline Marois have won elections meaning seven of the ten female first ministers either won an election or were selected by their legislature.

It is not only among premiers that the number women has increased, but also with parties represented in legislatures.

In Alberta, Yukon, and Prince Edward Island the leaders of the official opposition are women, though Olive Crane in PEI is stepping down on January 30th as PC leader.  In Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador significant third parties are lead by women.   This means of the 36 parties with representation in a parliament, 11 are women (soon to be 10), 19 are men and 6 are looking for a new leader .  Of the six vacancies, two of the races have no women in them, one has no strong woman candidates, and two have no declared candidates.  It is only in Ontario where a woman has a realistic chance of winning.

I looking over the past in Canada, there was a period in the 1990s when women came to lead many parties.   We had a period from 1993 to 1995 when we had consistently had two or three female first ministers in Canada.

This is a list of all the women that have lead a party into an election and won at least one seat in a parliament (no interim leaders that were then defeated themselves in their first election are included)
  1. Hilda Watson - Yukon PC leader 1978 - the PCs won the 1978 election but she did not win her seat so she never become premier.   I include her on the list because she was so much before her time.
  2. Alexa McDonough - Nova Scotia NDP leader 1980-1994 and MLA from 1981-1994
  3. Sharon Carstairs - Manitoba Liberal leader 1984-1993, leader of the official opposition 1988-1990
  4. Elizabeth Weir - New Brunswick NDP leader 1988-2005, sole NDP MLA from 1991 to 2005
  5. Audrey McLaughlin - Federal NDP leader 1989-1995
  6. Lynda Haverstock - Saskatchewan Liberal leader 1989-1996, leader of the official opposition 1995
  7. Pat Mella - PEI PC leader 1990-1996, leader of the official opposition 1993 to 1996
  8. Catherine Callbeck - PEI Liberal leader 1993-1996, premier 1993-1996
  9. Lynn Verge - Newfoundland PC leader and leader of the official opposition 1995-1996
  10. Alexa McDonough - Federal NDP leader 1995-2003
  11. Lyn McLeod- Ontario Liberal leader 1992-1996 and leader of the official opposition
  12. Nancy MacBeth - Alberta Liberal leader 1998-2001 and leader of the official opposition
  13. Pat Duncan - Yukon Liberal leader 1998-2002, premier 2000-2002
  14. Carole James - BC NDP leader 2003 - 2011, leader of the official opposition from 2005 to 2011
  15. Elizabeth May - Federal Green leader 2006 to current, in the House of Commons since 2011
  16. Lorraine Michael - Newfoundland NDP leader 2006 to current
  17. Olive Crane - PEI PC leader 2007 to 2013 and leader of the opposition
  18. Yvonne Jones - Newfoundland Liberal leader 2007 to 2011 and leader of the official opposition
  19. Andrea Horwath - Ontario NDP leader 2009 to current
  20. Danielle Smith - Alberta Wildrose leader 2009 to current, leader of the official opposition 2012 to current
  21. Elizabeth Hanson - Yukon NDP leader 2009 to current, leader of the official opposition 2011 to current
  22. Kathy Dunderdale - Newfoundland PC leader 2010 to current and premier
  23. Alison Redford - Alberta PC leader 2011 to current and premier
  24. Pauline Marois - Quebec PQ leader 2007 to current, premier 2012 to current
Of the 23 names on this list (Alexa Mc Donough is on there twice), ten of them are currently leading their party.
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