Episode One – From both sides of the microphone Listen in as two former journalists turned politicians talk about the issues that defined them as female candidates. A frank conversation with the former leader of the Opposition, Danielle Smith and current president of the Progressive Conservative Alberta party, Katherine O’Neill.
Episode Two – Clinging to McClung – Time to let a Canadian icon go? Historian and author Charlotte Gray joined the Broadcast to talk more about her book, The Promise of Canada: 150 Years — People and Ideas That Have Shaped Our Country. In this interview Gray defends her portrayal of Nellie McClung as a note-worthy suffragette, despite some attitudes that would not be considered strongly feminist today.
Episode Three – “No one was listening”: Sandra Jansen on politics, the PC party, and life under two female premiers NDP MLA Sandra Jansen talks about her disaffection with the PC party and her decision to talk openly in the Legislature about being called a “bitch” in politics and being told to “stay in the kitchen.” She tells her story about who approached who before she officially left the PC party for the NDP. Jansen also reflects on her work under two female premiers, the first being Premier Alison Redford. Ironically enough, Jansen was an associate minister charged with tackling online bullying while in the PC caucus under Redford.
Episode Four – Labels we wear: Indigenous Women in Politics City council candidate Miranda Jimmy and NDP MLA Heather Sweet discuss identity in politics as it relates to Indigenous female politicians. Is it important for these women to present their Indigenous identity in their political lives — either for themselves, or for others? How do cultural and gender identity intersect on the political stage for these women? How much does the media’s desire for labels affect their work? Jimmy and Sweet talk honestly about the tricky topics of identity, race, gender, and politics.
Episode Five – “Play the game a little:” How women can break into municipal politics In this episode, we talk about what it will take for more women to run in Alberta municipal elections this fall. Women hold about 26 per cent of elected municipal positions in the province right now — the situation is even more bleak in Edmonton and Calgary, which have one and two female councillors respectively. We talk about “the ask” — the fact that women need to be asked to multiple times before they might put their name on a ballot. We talk about the challenges women face to find the right people to run their campaigns. And we talk about money. At the end of the day, the average amount put into a winning city council campaign in Edmonton is $80,000. How do women access that kind of money? We talk to some super smart women about the logistics, politics, and dynamics of women running for municipal politics and we visited “campaign school” at Edmonton City Hall.
Episode Six – The Game is On: The Future of the PC Party in Alberta On March 18, the PC Party will elect a new leader. With pundits and party insiders predicting a Jason Kenney victory, we ask: what will a united conservative party mean for women in Alberta? Both in terms of their role in a potentially new party and in terms of the policies this new party might adopt. We talked to former PC cabinet minister and life-long PC member, Heather Klimchuk about her life with the party that she loves, the women who have helped shape the party so far, and “the ugly side of politics” that has emerged in the past months. As a self-described progressive within the PC party, Klimchuk says the party has often managed to find a comfortable centre even when confronted with divisive issues that expose the party’s “jagged edges.” Still, Klimchuk is honest about her uncertainty over where progressive women may find themselves in a potential new party headed by Jason Kenney.
Episode Seven – “You’ve got to see yourself at that table:” Four stories of women in politics In this episode, we head to the Metro Cinema where Trish hosted a panel discussion with four female politicians as part of the Edmonton International Women’s Film Festival. There were some familiar faces — NDP MLA Sandra Jansen and former Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman. And some new faces — including Ward 5 city council candidate Miranda Jimmy and Nav Kaur, who ran for Ward 12 in 2016. They talk about the “Ah-Ha!” moment, when they first decided to run for political office. They talk about from where they’ve drawn their inspiration. And they talk about how running for office is often easier when you have a wife behind you.
Episode Eight – “Revenge Porn: Wildrose women weigh in on proposed legislation (and a whole lot more) The Wildrose has introduced Bill 202, legislation that would essentially make it easier for women — and men — to sue for damages if their intimate images are shared online without their permission. The Broadcast sat down with the party’s two female MLAs — Leela Aheer and Angela Pitt — to discuss this bill on “revenge porn” also known as the Protecting Victims of Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images Act.
Along the way, we talked about whether revenge porn is a women’s issue, whether the Wildrose can lead on social issues (which some of their caucus colleagues have called ‘stale’) and whether Alberta needs a Ministry for the Status of Women (Aheer is the shadow minister for that portfolio).
Also, in this episode, we discuss proposed legislation in New Brunswick that would give political parties more money for fielding female candidates. The goal seems like a good one, but we question whether the financial mechanism proposed to make this happen is the right one.
Episode Nine — “Two long years”: Why Katherine O’Neill resigned as PC Party President In this week’s episode, we ask former PC President, Katherine O’Neill, about what really happened inside the PC party after it was nearly wiped off Alberta’s political map in 2015, and why she decided to step down from the party executive, just three weeks after the election of party leader Jason Kenney.
For two years, O’Neill was the “referee” (her words, not ours) of a party seeking to redefine itself. In debt, and decimated by the 2015 provincial election, O’Neill says she did her best to bring the party back together. But it wasn’t always easy.
“It’s been a very long two years,” she told us, admitting that at times she felt her personal safety was at risk — the result of a heated leadership race that brought aggressive commentators to the forefront.
“I’ve been a war reporter in Afghanistan, I’ve had bullets whizz by my head, so I’m not this shrinking violet who gets scared easily. I was very worried about my personal safety, but that’s not why I took a break,” she said.
To hear why she took a break, listen to the full episode.
We also wade into the debate over Charging Bull vs. Fearless Girl, the two statues facing off near Wall Street in New York City. The statues have sparked discussions about art, political movements, women and leadership The sculptor behind the bull, built thirty years ago, is taking offence to the fearless girl, another statue erected shortly after the election of President Donald Trump and commissioned by State Street Global Advisors, a financial firm. We talk about what the fearless girl represents and how politics and art can be a powerful combination.
Plus this interesting analysis by Greg Fallis, writer and photographer, titled “Seriously the guy has a point.”
And finally, here’s a video of ‘Fearless Girl’ coming to life, how she was made.
In this episode, we talk to Carlynn McAneeley, an advisor to Stephanie McLean, Minister for the Status of Women, about the Alberta government’s push to train civil servants in the approach.“We have a small army of public servants thinking about gender inequality — which is kind of unreal to think about from even five to 10 years ago.”
We’re not just talking about “women’s issues,” like child care or mid-wifery…we’re talking about minimum wage, taxes, and laws that regulate helmet use on ATVs. Listen in to hear how a gendered-approach could potentially affect policy in all of those areas.
Lisa Holmes is a political veteran at an age when most men haven’t even started their political careers. The outgoing mayor of Morinville was first elected to the town’s council in 2010, at the age of 30 — in the seven years since, she has become a prominent supporter of women in politics across the political spectrum in Alberta. In this interview, Holmes talks about why she’s leaving political life for now — despite her personal drive to get more women elected to public office…why she supports a variety of women in politics, across party lines ..and why she wrote a Facebook post about Donald Trump on the night he was elected. Holmes has been courted by every political party in the province, and she hasn’t ruled out an eventual return to politics. She’s a political mover and shaker, and one to watch — and listen to, especially if you’re interested in women in municipal politics. Our interview starts at the 7:30 mark of this podcast. #yegcc #ableg
We also discuss grassroots efforts to support more women in leadership positions in Africa. There is already parity legislation in a handful of African countries and about 24 per cent of federal political seats across sub-Saharan Africa are held by women. But the goal is to see those numbers grow. We also point you to an interview with Rona Ambrose, about her new life outside of politics, which sounds comparatively, very chilled.
There’s a prevailing notion that “good” candidates shouldn’t need a quota to get elected.In this episode, University of Calgary political scientist Melanee Thomas talks about why she disagrees with that idea. She breaks down what academic research says about the effect on politics in countries where gender quotas have been implemented. And she talks about where Canada’s political parties stand on the issue.
Further reading on quotas:
It’s been 28 years since Jan Reimer was elected Edmonton’s mayor. In this feature interview Reimer reflects on her tenure as a three term city councillor and two term mayor beginning with the story of how sleeping city councillors inspired her to run.
During her time on Edmonton City Council Reimer pitched a number of battles against tradition and the stereotype of what a mayor should be. For example, she refused to wear the ceremonial chain of office and fought to have the title of alderman changed to a title more befitting of a female city councillor.
In this interview Reimer talks about the “critical mass” that Edmonton City Council achieved by electing 7 women and 6 men into office and how she believes that lead to progressive change within the city.
There were challenges though — managing a fractious city council that included one alderman dumping a pitcher of water on another, and governing during a time when female mayors were not taken as seriously as their male counterparts.
In this episode we also talk about a new report, the McKinsey report, that shows how gender inequality is hurting the economy and how corporations and businesses are failing miserably when it comes to promoting and keeping women in leadership roles.
Big thanks to Edmonton Heritage Council for funding to make this episode of The Broadcast possible. And thanks, always, to Switches for the use of their music. If you want to skip to the heart of this episode, beginning with the interview with Jan Reimer, start listening at the 7 minute mark.