While the next municipal election in Cornwall is still two years away, Alyssa Blais is getting started early.
Blais has already public announced her candidacy for the election and is making more than just one political statement in the process.
She believes it is time for more women to run for office, regardless of the position, and has started a website to that end.
Politigal.ca was born out of Blais’ difficulty in knowing just how a person, regardless of gender, begins the process of running for office.
“There’s not a lot of women represented in politics at all,” she said in an interview. “Is it because we don’t know how to run?”
Blais, who is also the executive director of the Agape Centre in Cornwall, said politigal.ca is a resource for women who are interested in politics.
“I started thinking…I can do this as a side project,” she said. “It’s really about getting more women to run.
“It’s kind of an interesting situation. Why are we not taking on more leadership roles?”
In the last federal election Canada sent 76 women to parliament – nearly a quarter of all MPs, according to Equal Voice, a multi-partisan group that advocates on behalf of women seeking office.
While 76 female MPs represents an all-time high, Canada still ranks well behind other countries, specifically in Europe, where more women hold key positions of power.
“I think that perhaps this starts very young,” said Blais when questioned why more women don’t seek office. “A decline of self-confidence starts when you’re nine, 10, 11 years old. They don’t believe they can become the prime minister or the president.
“It’s not easy.”
Blais said while roles are changing at home, domestic responsibilities are still chiefly the domain of women – and there are only so many hours in the day.
“I have a 17-year-old daughter,” she said. “If I had two or three babies and a full-time job job, would I still be considering this?”
Blais has enlisted the help of city councillors Bernadettte Clement and Elaine MacDonald to help answer questions from potential female candidates heading into the next municipal election.
Politigal.ca will be holding a series of classes starting Oct. 17 at the Cornwall Public Library to help foster debate and answer questions for many women considering a role in politics – or other leadership responsibilities.
There will be five workshops in the series, and the cost is $25. For more information head to politigal.ca.