Tabling at MCC 2016!

The annual Manning Centre Conference was once dubbed “Woodstock for conservatives” by CTV News.
Based in Calgary, the Manning Centre was founded in 2005 to support conservative and libertarian activists and ideas in Canada. Named after its founder, Preston Manning, the Manning Centre is an independent organization that believes in a limited role for government. They operate on three pillars: research, training, and networking.

Every year, the Manning Centre holds the largest annual gathering of conservative and classical liberal politicians, activists, think tanks, advocacy groups, and academics in Canada.

This year’s conference, which took place from February 25-27 at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa, centered around the them of Recharging the Right. The idea behind this theme is to recharge and focus conservative leadership across all levels of government, including a reflection on policy ideas and strategies.

Equal Voice uOttawa had the pleasure of representing the National Chapter of Equal Voice at the 2016 Manning Centre Conference. Co-Presidents  Danika Leminski and Jessica Saviotti had the opportunity to meet various leaders of the Conservative Party to discuss the role and importance of women in politics.


Full house!


Left to right: Daryna Kutsyna (EV University of Toronto); Jessica Saviotti (EV uOttawa); Patrick Brown, MPP (current leader of PC Party of Ontario and federal Conservative member of the Canadian House of Commons from 2006-2015, representing the riding of Barrie); Lisa MacLeod, MPP (for Nepean-Carleton); Danika Leminski (EV uOttawa)
A selfie with the Selfie King himself, Tony Clement, MP
EVuO Co-Presidents with Lisa Raitt, MP


— Danika Leminski, President & VP Communications of Equal Voice uOttawa


In Celebration of International Women’s Day

Equal Voice uOttawa is honoured to have been invited to attend the NDP International Women’s Day Breakfast with Sheila Malcomson (Critic for the Status of Women) and Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Whip & Housing Critic). We had the opportunity to listen to the inspirational words of some of Canada’s leading women, including guest speakers Cindy Blackstock (Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, Associate Professor, University of Alberta and Director of FNCARES) and Melissa Mollen Dupuis (Board President of the Wapikoni and the co-founder of Idle No More Quebec). The event was hosted at the Sir John A MacDonald building in downtown Ottawa this morning.

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Full house as Sheila Malcomson and Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet welcomed us to the NDP International Women’s Day Breakfast.

Sheila Malcolmson and Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet reminded us that today is about celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women – this success extends to their families, their communities, and to all of Canada.

However, we were cautioned that in addition to celebrating, we need to remain aware that in Canada, progress has slowed. Women continue to face high levels of violence and indigenous women are still exponentially more likely to be murdered than non-indigenous women. Poverty rates among single mothers and senior women are on the rise and women still only make $0.77 to every dollar earned by men.

Our hosts urged us to take real steps towards clear goals, supported by funding, to end violence against women, to make shelters available for victims of domestic abuse, and to ensure that women can access safe reproductive healthcare.

A country does not have equality or fairness if they refuse to provide the basic human right of education for children, just because of who they are. About 10 years ago, Cindy Blackstock noticed that the amount of money being spent on reserve child welfare was 22 and 34 per cent  lower than off reserve funding. In January a Human Rights Tribunal confirmed that Canada does discriminate against children living on reserve by failing to provide equal child welfare funding.

Cindy Blackstock is an inspirational woman who is positively impacting the lives of many Canadians. Her pursuit of fairness and equality for all children in Canada reminds us that women have the power to make a difference. We not only open (or even kick down!) doors, but we also open them for future generations of female leaders.

Melissa Mollen Dupuis encouraged us all to take further action towards equality. Her work on the front lines of one of the most significant social movements of our time (Idle No More) is a strong example of women’s power as change-makers.

Le 21 décembre 2012, des centaines de manifestants, Québécois et Autochtones, marchent dans les rues de Montréal en scandant le nom du mouvement Idle No More. Aux premières lignes des manifestations se trouvent Widia Larivière et Melissa Mollen Dupuis, instigatrices du mouvement au Québec. Idle No More signifie « fini l’inertie », « fini l’inaction ». Mme Dupuis représentent une nouvelle génération de jeunes Autochtones et femmes qui souhaitent que les Premières Nations aient enfin voix au chapitre.

Her work is paving the way for new generations of Indigenous and women leaders, as well as a more equal Canada.

This event encapsulated the Canadian International Women’s Day theme of women and girls’ empowerment. It demonstrated real-life examples of female leadership, courage, and perseverance. Equal Voice uOttawa will be taking the ideas, anecdotes, and stories we have heard as inspiration on our journey as the new generation of female leaders.

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Equal Voice uOttawa executive team with Cindy Blackstock.

–Danika Leminski, Co-President and VP Communications of Equal Voice uOttawa.





Welcoming the Women of the 42nd Parliament


On Febraury 17th, 2016 Equal Voice held a Welcome Reception at the Rideau Club for the women of the 42nd Parliament. The reception was a resounding success, featuring speeches from women of all parties and political spheres. It allowed Ottawans to welcome new women members of the House of Commons and discuss the future of women in politics.

The evening began with networking and socializing opportunities, as Equal Voice welcomed Members of Parliament, Members of Provincial Parliament, Councillors, local organizations and community members to gather and talk over canapés, hors d ‘oeuvres and refreshments.


There was then a surprise special guest appearance made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a self-proclaimed feminist and advocate of equal rights. He politely shook hands with many attendees and made his presence known in an effort to show his support for Equal Voice.


First Nation Algonquin, Barbara Dumont-Hill, began the opening speeches. She commenced by acknowledging that we were on Algonquin territory and welcomed us all, drumming and singing songs that honour her aboriginal ancestors.


Following this, Denise Siele, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Operations for Equal Voice National, took to the stage to introduce The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women. Minister Hadju spoke about her experiences at the grassroots level and her transition into politics, emphasizing the challenges that women continue to face in leadership positions. She stated that women need more financial support if they are to get involved in politics. It was at this moment where she congratulated Equal Voice for providing child care services free-of-charge at the reception.


Minister Hadju proceeded to announce the call for proposals for projects intended to increase women’s political participation. This is a plan that will be put into motion via two streams. The first stream will involve “Empowering Indigenous Women for Stronger Communities”; the second stream will be composed of two themes, “Empowering Women for Political Action” and “Empowering Women for Community Action”. More information on these projects can be found on the Government of Canada website.


It was also an honour to hear Lisa MacLeod, Member of Provincial Parliament for Nepean-Carleton, speak. She made mention of the fact that we were standing in a room where men were the only ones accepted at the Rideau Club at one point, further acknowledging how far women have come in public life. This sentiment resonated in the talks that followed by Sheila Malcolmson, NDP Member of Parliament for Nanaimo –Ladysmith, as well as by Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada.

Nancy Peckford, National Spokesperson, and Lynne Hamilton, National Chair of Equal Voice, ended the reception with the closing speeches. They thanked everyone in attendance, in particular the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), for their continued pursuit of its goals to advance the well-being of aboriginal women and girls; and Johnson & Johnson, the longest sponsor of Equal Voice to date. But most importantly, Ms. Hamilton thanked the men in the room who joined us and supported us in our efforts to achieve equal representation.

It was an absolute honour to be among so many inspirational and empowering women. We look forward to the triumphs that lie ahead, and the continued role we play in being a voice to the youth as a chapter of the national organization.


—-Jessica Saviotti, Co-President & VP Finance of Equal Voice uOttawa Chapter

Meet Trudeau’s New Cabinet

Ethnically diverse and with a 50/50 male to female ratio, Trudeau’s cabinet is truly the first of its kind.

Missisauga-Malton, Ontario

Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Mr.Bains is a former accountant for Ford Motors and a former professor as Ryerson’s Management school. He represented a Mississauga riding from 2004-2011 and was elected again in 2015.

St. Paul’s, Ontario

Indigenous and Northern Affairs

Ms.Bennett has been an MP since 1997. She is a former physician as a minister of Public Health under PM Paul Martin.

Compton-Stanstead, Quebec

International development and La Francophonie

Ms.Bibeau was an officer for the Canadian International Development Agency stationed in Morocco and then Benin.She later became the executive director of the Sherbrooke Museum of Nature and Science.

Kings-Hants, Nova Scotia

Treasury Board president

Mr. Brison has been an MP in Novia Scotia since 1997. He originally represented the Progressive Conservartives in King-Hants and ran for party leadership before the merger with the Canadian alliance. He later joined the Liberal party. He was also PM Paul Martin’s Minister of Public Works.

Winnipeg-South Centre, Manitoba

Natural resources

Mr. Carr is a Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra trustee, journalist and member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly. He served as the deputy leader and critic of several portfolios for the Liberal party. He founded the Business Council of Manitoba in 1997 and served as CEO until 2014. He’s worked with business leaders on issues including energy, northern development and aboriginal affairs.

Waterloo, Ontario

Small Business and Tourism

Ms. Chagger is the daughter of Indian immigrants who settled in the Waterloo region in the 1970s. She served as executive assistant to former MP Andrew Telegdi from 2004 to 2008 and has helped at the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre, which helps Canadian immigrants settle into their new communities.

Saint-Laurent, Quebec

Foreign affairs

Mr. Dion is a former political science professor and author who entered federal politics in 1996. He served as Jean Chrétien’s intergovernmental affairs minister and Paul Martin’s environment minister. He was the leader of the Liberal party from 2006 to 2008.

Quebec, Quebec

Families, Children and Social Development

Mr. Duclos was head of the department of economics at Laval University and has written extensively on the impact of public policies on the poor. He co-authored a study warning that the Conservatives’ amendments to the Old Age Security Pension would force more elderly people to live in poverty.


Etobicoke, Ontario

Minister of Science

Ms. Duncan has been a Liberal MP since 2008. She is a medical geographer and former professor at the University of Windsor and University of Toronto. She served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which won a Nobel-peace prize.

Bonavista-Burin-Trinity, Newfoundland

Public services and procurement

Mrs. Foote is a former TV journalist who was elected in Newfoundland’s legislature in 1996 and held multiple cabinet roles under premier Brian Tobin. She was elected to the House of Commons in 2008. Over the years she has served as the Liberals’ deputy house leader and party whip.

University-Rosedale, Ontario

International trade

Ms. Freeland is a Ukrainian-Canadian who was born in Peace River, Alta. She was one of the dozen Canadian paliamenterians who were barred from entering Russia because of their stance on the Ukraine crisis. After earning degrees at Harvard and Oxford, she became a journalist, reporting from Moscow and Eastern Europe for the Financial Times. She is a former deputy editor of The Globe and Mail.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Westmount, Quebec


Mr. Garneau is a former astronaut and the first Canadian to go to outer space. He was president of the Canadian Space Agency from 2001 to 2006. He unsuccessfully ran for the Liberals in 2006, but then won in Ville-Marie in 2008.

Regina-Wascana, Saskatchewan

Public safety and emergency preparedness

Mr. Goodale has been representing the Liberals in Saskatchewan, both federally and provincially in intervals since the 1970s. He held cabinet positions under Jean Chrétien which included agriculture, public work, and natural resources. He was also the finance minister under Paul Martin.

Thunder Bay-Superior North, Ontario

Status of Women

Ms. Hajdu ran a homeless shelter in Thunder Bay and was active in shaping public policy on harm reduction, public health and affordable housing. She also served as executive director of Shelter House. In addition, she was a member of the implementation panel for Thunder Bay’s drug strategy and former chair of the city’s drug awareness committee.

Calgary Centre, Alberta

Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

At 19, Mr. Hehr was paralyzed when a bullet struck him in the neck during a drive-by shooting. He claims that the incident caused him to turn to public service. He became a lawyer, community activist and member of the Alberta Legislature who championed many causes like affordable housing for the poor.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Quebec

Canadian Heritage

Ms. Joly is a former managing partner at the public-relations firm Cohn & Wolfe, where she worked for Andrew Molson.

Beauséjour, New Brunswick

Government House Leader

Mr. LeBlanc is a former lawyer who has served in the House of Commons since 2000. He’s also held parliamentary secretary roles under Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.

Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec


Ms. Lebouthillier was the warden of the Regional County Municipality of Rocher-Percé in the Gaspé Peninsula. Because of her extensive work as a social worker she worked with people with addictions and mental illness. She also runs an outfitting lodge.

Cardigan, P.E.I.

Agriculture and agri-food

He’s been a Liberal MP for 25 years. He has served as veterans affairs minister and solicitor-general under Jean Chrétien.

Markham-Thornhill, Ontario

Immigration, refugees and citizenship

Mr. Mccalum is a former economics professor and dean of arts at McGill University. He was elected to the House in 2000 and has held roles in the cabinet including defence and veterans affairs.

Ottawa Centre, Ontario

Environment and Climate Change

Ms. McKenna is an international trade and competition lawyer who has served as a legal adviser and negotiator for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in East Timor on treaty negotiations. She taught at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and was a leader at the high-profile Banff Forum and the charitable group Level at the University of Ottawa. The department she leads now includes climate change.

Kildonan-St. Paul, Manitoba

Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Ms. Mihychuk is a former school trustee, geoscientist and founder of organizations promoting women in the minerals exploration and mining sector. She has a lot of experience as an NDP member of the Manitoba Legislature for nine years and minister in the former Gary Doer government. She was responsible for intergovernmental affairs and industry, trade and mines. In 2014, she switched to the Liberal Party.

Peterborough-Kawartha, Ontario

Democratic Institutions

She is the first Afghan-Canadian to be elected in Canadian Parliament and came to Canada at 11 as a refugee from the Taliban. She is a community organizer and co-founder of the Red Pashmina Campaign, which raises money for the education of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Toronto Centre, Ontario


He is the chief executive officer at Morneau Shepell, a firm founded by his father. It is the country’s largest manager of private-sector pensions. He was also chairman of the C.D. Howe Institute.

Markham-Stouffville, Ontario


Ms. Philpott is a physician and was the chief of family medicine at Markham Stouffville Hospital. She also served as a general doctor in Niger from 1989 to 1998 after the death of her eldest daughter. She returned in 2005 to work for Doctors without Borders.

Delta, B.C.

Sport and Persons with Disabilities

Ms. Qualtrough is a three time Paralympics Games medalist in swimming who competed in 1988 and 1992. She also holds four world championship medals. She served as chair of the British Columbia Minister’s Council on Employment and Accessibility and president of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. She is a lawyer with a focus on human rights. She is vice-chair of the B.C. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal. She was also born with a visual impairment.

Vancouver South, B.C.

National Defence

Mr. Sajjan is a retired lieutenant-colonel with three tours in Afghanistan and one in Bosnia. He was the first Sikh to command a Canadian army regiment. He is also a former Vancouver police officer.

Edmonton Mill-Woods, Alberta

Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Sohi is a former city bus driver and a twice elected Edmonton councillor. He is also an Indian immigrant who arrived in Canada as a teenager.

Nunavut, Nunavut

Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Mr. Tootoo served as an MLA in the territory’s legislative assembly for 14 years before leaving in 2013. Before his political career, he helped found the Iqaluit branch of Arctic Insurance Brokers Ltd. He also unsuccessfully ran for the NDP in 1997.

Vancouver Granville, B.C.

Justice and attorney-general

She was the regional chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations for six years. She is also a former prosecutor from Vancouver’s Main Street courthouse.

The Party Platforms: Who are you voting for?

After a tense 11 week campaign, the federal election is tomorrow, on Monday, October 19th. The four main contenders: the Conservatives, the Liberals, The NDP, and the Green party have revealed their platforms on different Canadian policies. While their platforms are common knowledge, many young people are still uneducated about the parties that could be governing our country. Here’s the rundown if you’re still undecided on which party to vote for:

A simple outline of each parties respective platforms on the Canadian economy.
A simple outline of each parties respective platforms on the Canadian economy.
An outline of each parties platforms on the environment.
An outline on each parties platforms on the environment.
An outline on each parties platform on job growth.
An outline on each parties platform on job growth.
An outline of each parties platform on national security.
An outline of each parties platform on national security.
An outline of each parties platform on social services.
An outline of each parties platform on social services.
An outline of each parties platforms on social justice and morality.
An outline of each parties platforms on social justice and morality.

Young people are notorious for not caring about politics because they feel like the system is broken and because they feel like the issues don’t matter. Political change isn’t a one-way street; take the initiative and go to the polls on October 19th.

*You can check if you’re registered to vote here.

If you’re not registered, go to the nearest polling station at 9:30am to cast your ballot. Bring a piece of federal issued ID like a driver’s license or a passport (A health card is NOT federally issued ID).