CORNWALL, Ontario – With barely a month to go before the deadline to sign up to run in the looming municipal election there are just two women on the ballot in Cornwall.
Agape Centre executive director Alyssa Blais announced recently she is running for council, and joins Carilyne Hebert – the first person to sign up way back in January – as the only females candidates to make it official.
Candidates have until Sept. 12 to file their nomination papers.
Coun. Elaine MacDonald, who has yet to file her papers at city hall, confirmed to Seaway News she will run again – which would bring the number to three.
"It is a surprise," said Blais in an interview. "I do think there are other women who will be running.
"But right now it's very shocking."
Blais organized a series of workshops earlier this year under the banner "Politigal" to create interest and discussion among women in running for office - any office.
But the end result hasn't been a flood of female candidates, at least so far in Cornwall.
"We had over 30 women, but some were from the counties," said Blais. "And I've talked to three who said they were going to run, but have now decided not to."
The reason? You name it.
"When you look at the media, is politics appealing to females?" said Blais. "And perhaps females need more mentors...to push them."
MacDonald and Blais agreed domestic responsibilities and child-raising is still the chief responsibility of women - which can leave little time for a political career.
"Councils have to have more equal representation," said MacDonald. "Women are half the population.
"And often it's not just the time, it's the flex time of being a councillor."
The number of female candidates could be boosted to four if Coun. Bernadette Clement decides to seek re-election. She has not confirmed a decision yet, and rumours are swirling about which way she will go.
She could not be reached for comment.