Season 2, Episode 9 – Making Space: How to make politics more accessible for the LGTBQ community
In this week’s episode, we step outside the binary, thanks to the help of our intern Danielle. She talks to two members of Edmonton’s trans community, about how to make space for people like them in politics.
Francis Nievera is an open trans Grade 11 student at Blessed Oscar Romero High School. He was previously student council president. But after facing off with school administration over Pride Month decorations, he was left feeling unsafe and unheard. Francis talks about how fellow students rallied around him for support, and having his voice heard as a young queer activist.
Stephanie Shostak works with the Trans Equality Society of Alberta, an advocacy group for trans Albertans. Stephanie talks about how the concerns of trans folks are often similar to those of other potential politicians: What will this mean for my family? How can I make a difference? But the barriers this community faces are often unlike those of others.
Also, we talk about the Twitter backlash against comedian Michelle Wolf after her roast at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Some say her comments toward press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders went too far. Other applauded her for her honesty. What do you think? We’ll post a link to the video so you can decide for yourselves. We’d love to hear your responses on this as well! You can send those to us on Facebook, or on our Twitter, @broadcast_yeg.
Season 2, Episode 8 – Barriers We Face: “I can’t park my identities at the door.” A Broadcast Live Show
This week’s episode comes to you live from the Broadbent Institute’s Progress Summit here in Edmonton, where leaders from across the country gathered to discuss the future of Alberta politics. The Broadcast hosted a panel with four amazing female politicians about the barriers they’ve faced in their careers. Listen to hear their stories, their insights, and their advice to women wanting to enter politics.
Estefania Cortes-Varga is an NPD MLA for Strathcona-Sherwood Park. She’s the youngest government whip in Alberta, and the first openly female LGTBQ+ MLA elected in Alberta. She talks about her connection to her Spanish roots, and her experiences being gender-queer in the Alberta Legislature.
Liz John-West is a social justice activist and community organizer. She’s run conferences on domestic violence, and is a strong advocate for ending homelessness in Edmonton. She ran in the most recent municipal election for Ward 7. Listen to her talk about her experiences while door-knocking, and how she sees every opportunity as one for collaboration.
Janis Irwin works in the Premier’s office in Alberta as the Director of Stakeholder Relations. She is a vocal advocate for LGTBQ+ issues in the province, as well as having more women involved in politics. In 2015 she ran federally for the NDP. She talks about how women are perceived in politics, and how necessary it is to break down that barrier to access.
Katherine Swampy serves as a band councillor with the Samson Cree Nation. In 2015 she ran federally for the NDP, and prior to that, she ran provincially. She talks about her experiences as an Indigenous woman in politics, and how she turns to her faith in hard times.
We hope their stories inspire you as much as they did us.
*Disclaimer* We’d like to apologize for some of the rough sounding audio in this episode! Recording these panels can be difficult work, and we’d like to thank our intern Danielle for editing this as well as she did.
Season 2, Episode 7 – Legislating choice for Women…still (abortion safe zones & surrogacy laws)
Bill 9 caused a stir in the Alberta Legislature last week after members of the UCP walked out of the debate on whether to create abortion clinic safe zones. The bill would enforce a 50 metre buffer zone where pro-life protesters would not be allowed in. UCP members said the heckling was so bad, they had to leave. In this episode, we discuss how abortion debates are being framed in this province and the political actors involved.
This week, we also welcome our intern Danielle McCreadie to The Broadcast. She tells us about surrogacy laws in Canada, and how one Liberal MP wants to change them in a bill being introduced this spring. See our story links below.
Also in this episode, Alex talks about MP Celina Caesar-Chevannes, who is making waves online by calling out racist attitudes. See the iPolitics profile on her below, as well as a thoughtful Maclean’s article on the different struggles black politicians face in Canada.
Season 2, Episode 6 – From Mumbai to Cold Lake: Hansa Thaleshvar’s journey to become mayor of a small Alberta town
Hansa Thaleshvar is an immigrant from India who became mayor of the old town of Cold Lake in 1992. It was a small community back then, dominated by the oil-and-gas industry and the military base. When Hansa first ran for school board trustee in the 1980s, her husband said it would be hard to get votes since many people couldn’t even pronounce her name. Hansa herself said she initially agreed to run, as long as she wouldn’t have to do any public speaking.
That all proved wrong. Hansa was a successful school trustee, she went on to become town councillor, and eventually a long-serving mayor of Cold Lake. And she became comfortable with public speaking, to boot.
Hansa talked to the Broadcast about how her political success was built on a commitment to community. Her political journey may have been considered unlikely — especially starting off in small-town Alberta in the 1980s — but her successes and teachings can’t be ignored.
Also in this episode, we talk about the Alberta’s budget, released last week. We look at the budget for the Ministry for the Status of Women, and what those funds might be used for. If you want to catch up on what the Ministry is all about, read about it here.
AND, Cynthia Nixon — better known as Miranda Hobbes from her role in Sex and the City — is running for governor of New York. Will voters be able to separate her character from her political persona?
Season 2, Episode 5 – Federal Budget 2018: Feminist flop or bona fide budget?
The federal Liberal government presented an “Equality and Growth” budget last week.
What does that mean, exactly? Does it do anything to promote equal economic opportunities – or outcomes – for women in this country? How might we view this budget in the context of the Liberal government and its past actions to advance the status of women? And is this a budget document…or a marketing document?
The Broadcast welcomes freelance journalist Jen Gerson to the show to break down the feminist bona fides of the latest federal budget.
Also, on this show, we celebrate the new $10 bill — featuring Viola Desmond, a black Nova Scotian who refused to leave her seat in the whites-only section of a movie theatre in 1946. She was thrown in jail and fined. The Nova Scotia government didn’t issue an apology until after her death.
Also, Italy has just finished a messy election. We talk about the experiences of politician Laura Boldrini, which tells us so much about the state of political discussions in Italy today.
Season 2, Episode 4 – Symposium Snapshot: Edmonton women in politics
Hundreds of women packed a downtown hotel in Edmonton earlier this month for the 2018 Edmonton Women’s Symposium.
The top-notch list of sessions included a panel of prominent Edmonton women who discussed their experiences in politics. How do they deal with social media — and the inevitable trolling it invites? What advice do they offer to women in all levels of government? And, most telling, what wisdom would these female leaders share with their twenty-year-old selves?
The discussion highlighted the diverse considerations, concerns, and accomplishments of women in politics in this city. Guests on the panel include The Broadcast co-host Trisha Estabrooks, Ward 2 Councillor Bev Esslinger, Ward 5 Councillor Sarah Hamilton; and Ward 11 candidate Keren Tang.
Thank you to Edmonton’s Women’s Initiative for allowing us to record the session.
This week, we also discuss the young, female leaders who are making their voices heard in the #neveragain movement in the United States. A link to a speech by 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez is below. And a piece in MacLean’s about the “elevator warning,” as a centre of reckoning when it comes to #metoo in Canadian politics.
Season 2, Episode 3 – Making sense of #metoo in politics with Martha Hall Findlay
It has been an explosive few weeks in Canadian politics; stories of sexual harassment and misconduct have blown open conversations about systemic problems in the halls of power in Ottawa and beyond. In this episode, we welcomed Martha Hall Findlay, former MP and leadership contender for the federal Liberals, to discuss the stories and the problems they expose.
“There are a lot of people out there who are probably nervous right now,” she said.
Hall Findlay speaks of the need to find a sense of due process in an era where a Tweet can take down a cabinet minister, while also acknowledging how persistent and widespread these problems are.
The answers are not easy. But it might all start with filling a major gap that currently exists — where is a woman in the political system supposed to go with a complaint of sexual harassment?
There has been a lot of excellent coverage of this story in media from across the country. We’ve posted some important stories and interviews below.
Propositions, groped, assaulted in the lobby: Staffers reveal culture of harassment in politics
Inside the explosive Conservative party fight over Rick Dykstra
The Ontario PC party needs a woman to take charge
Season 2, Episode 2 – “A Fetish for Firsts” A critical analysis of how the media covers female politicians
We’ve all observed instances of how media portrayals of female politicians are different than that of their male counterparts. Linda Trimble goes beyond the anecdotes and conducts rigorous, in-depth research on the press coverage of these women.
Trimble is a political science professor at the U of A and she talks to us about her new book, Ms. Prime Minister: Gender, Media, and Leadership…and her analysis of 2,500 newspaper articles in the Globe & Mail.
In her book, Trimble looks at four female prime ministers, in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. The award for the country with the most sexist coverage of a female politician goes to…Australia. Trimble examines how the country’s first female prime minister was accused of starting a “gender war” for a history-making speech about a political opponent’s history of misogyny. See below for a clip of Julia Gillard’s scathing speech in Australia’s parliament.
Trimble also breaks down the media coverage of female federal leadership candidates in Canada, going back to 1975 when Rosemary Brown ran for the top job with the NDP. Trimble found that women were more likely to be “personalized” in media coverage than men — but only on three indicators: their marital status; their level of sexual attractiveness; and their looks.
She talks about how women pursuing positions of leadership need to figure out ways to “position their quest as heroic,” in order to own the narrative surrounding their leadership runs.
We also talk about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who recently announced her pregnancy. An article from the Guardian on the announcement was refreshing. It is posted below.
Season 2, Episode 1 – Who’s got the biggest tent in 2018? All-party round table on the next year in Alberta politics
It’s only the first month of the year but Alberta is already in election mode for 2019.
To help us predict the pulse of Alberta politics over the coming months, the Broadcast was pleased to host a round-table of women from the province’s biggest political parties.
It didn’t take long for the discussion to turn to pipelines, personalities, and — believe it or not — talk of a sales tax. We also talked about what issues these women want to see their parties focus on in 2018.
The Broadcast was pleased to welcome: Sonia Kont, a director and chair of communications for the UCP board, Shamanthi Cooray, president of the provincial NDP’s Mill Creek riding association, Kerrie Johnston, Edmonton regional chair for the Alberta Liberals, and Kara Levis, leadership candidate for the Alberta Party.
Also listen for a note about an upcoming learning day put on by the Alberta Women Entrepreneurs. It’s a full day event on Feb. 20 to talk about human resources, operations, financing, and marketing. Listen to the show for a promotional code that will get you 10 per cent off the conference fee!