Record number of female candidates in Quebec elections on October 3rd

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Even in 2022, recruiting women into politics remains a challenge, but Québec solidaire leads the way at 70.

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QUEBEC CITY — Quebecers can expect a more diverse National Assembly than ever after the Oct. 3 election.

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More women than 2018, maybe a few First Nations MNAs, more immigrant elected officials, even a few representatives from sexual minorities — all of these could be features of the next national assembly, according to a compilation by Press Canadienne based on data provided by the five big parties. Taken together, these parties have nominated a record proportion of female candidates – around 46 percent in total.

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Still, we’ll have to wait until October 3 to see how many of these female hopefuls win. All too often, parties may be tempted to lead women into rides they have little chance of winning, just to salvage their image.

Even in 2022, recruiting women for politics will remain a challenge. However, François Legault’s Avenir Québec coalition managed to persuade 69 women, or 55 percent of the party’s entire cadre, to run. TThe considerable popularity of the CAQ and its leader certainly eased recruitment efforts.

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That’s a far cry from the 2014 election, when Legault’s team finished bottom of the four major parties with just 21 percent women.

Only Québec solidaire did better than the CAQ this year with 70 candidates. However, their performance is less impressive as the Left Party is legally obliged to nominate as many women as men.

It is followed by the Parti Québécois with 42 percent female candidates, followed by the Quebec Liberal Party with 41 percent. Despite being led by a woman, Dominique Anglade, the QLP is actually moving backwards in terms of female presence, with 44 percent of its nominees in 2018 being female.

Éric Duhaime’s Conservative Party of Quebec came last out of the five major parties, with 37 percent of its candidates being women. Duhaime, who doesn’t share the goal of parity, hasn’t committed to a minimum number.

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As a conservative institution that clings to the traditions and rituals of the past, the legislature is not known for its large number of elected officials willing to publicly display their homosexuality or other identity. But times are changing.

In the footsteps of André Boisclair, Agnès Maltais and Manon Massé, new MNAs may soon follow who will bring sexual diversity to the legislature with their heads held high.

Québec solidaire features no fewer than 22 candidates willing to identify as members of various sexual minorities – gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, queer, non-binary or other.

Five Liberal candidates fall into this category, including incumbent Jennifer Maccarone, compared to one for the PQ. Neither the CAQ nor the Conservative Party have collected data on sexual orientation.

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In the past, only one Aboriginal person was elected MNA from 2007-2008, Alexis Wawanoloath for short, for the PQ in Abitibi-Est.

This time, Québec solidaire is fielding six First Nations candidates – with a strong focus on Maïtée Labrecque-Saganash in Ungava, who hopes to become the first Aboriginal woman ever elected to the National Assembly.

The CAQ has an Aboriginal candidate, as do the Liberals and the PQ. The Conservatives have none.

When it comes to native English speakers, immigrants and candidates from minority cultures, the Liberal Party leads the way with 15 English speakers and 39 candidates from minority cultures.

The PQ and Québec solidaire have no English-speaking candidates, although QS has 32 candidates who are either immigrants or members of different communities, compared to 10 for the PQ.

The Conservative Party has nine English-speaking candidates and 27 in the immigrants or cultural communities category, while the CAQ has 11 candidates identifying with cultural minorities.

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