Its a good thing that I’m busy right now or this post would be way longer. I have lots and lots to say about municipal politics and right now is fortunately a fantastic time for ranting because the municipal election in lovely Ottawa is coming up on October 26.
For now, however, I’ll stick to the topic at hand which is women in politics. Of course, my first move was to consult the City of Ottawa website, where I expected to find a large amount of easily accessible information about all candidates.
At first I was happy to see that the site had undergone a redesign and initially looked more easy to navigate. But then I tried to find a link to the election page, which (without more searching) can only be accessed via a rotating banner on the top coming up about every 45 seconds. Then, once I finally got to the page, it was a challenge to find a candidates list–there’s still info up about how to get nominated. So I got to the list, which is divided into the mayor race, councillors by ward and school board trustees by zone.
The wards and zones are not indicated on this list, as in the area they cover, you have to seek them out elsewhere. This especially concerns me in an election that is purportedly focussed on getting youth involved who historically just…aren’t. I’m not sure a new student to Ottawa–or even one who has lived here for a couple years who hasn’t seen a municipal election yet–would know their ward. In any case, once we get to the lists, we are confronted with the candidate name, phone number, fax, and email address.
I think the big thing that bothers me here is that a lot of the less well known candidates won’t even get a courtesy reading of their bio and platform. At least not yet. I hope that there is an update on the website, but my inner pessimist isn’t so sure. People are interested in politics, even if they are not loud about it. And having even as little as an link to a facebook page or a website would get a 30 second read through from the individual with morbid curiosity. Also, I know that the local papers usually cover all of the candidates but let’s face it, who reads local papers? The actively interested. I’m talking about the “oh yeah, there’s a municipal election, that’s productive” while doing some class reading people.
Well, this turned into a getting-youth-involved post. But hey, I think in our age bracket (or at least that of most university students) that encouraging women in politics is an effort on the part of everyone, not just the women candidates. Knowing the issues and candidates is a huge step, because then comes the passion.
Next up: I’m doing the leg work for you and making a list of the women who are running in the election this Fall. I don’t have to tell you that they are few and far between. Stay tuned!