EDITORIAL: Politics drive gender sessions

Premier uses women-only sessions to prop up Liberals' fortunes

One could just imagine the complaints and claims of discrimination if a male premier decided to meet only with men and closed the doors to members of the other gender.

But it’s apparently OK for Premier Christy Clark to get together only with women, as she did in Vernon Friday, and leave men sitting on the sidelines.

The explanation from Clark’s office is “she works in a man’s world,” and these women-only sessions provide her with a different point of view.

Now there is no question that the political and business worlds continue to be dominated by men, and women may focus on some different issues of importance than their male counterparts. But there are also likely a number of similar concerns, including the economy, job creation, education and health care. Those topics go beyond gender.

Clark has suggested that half of the population isn’t well represented when it comes to access to the premier, but how many male residents in the North Okanagan feel their needs have been represented by this government?

And if Clark truly wants to address issues of concern and open dialogue with constituents, shouldn’t her local representative be involved? But because of his gender, MLA Eric Foster had to leave the room.

Despite the image Clark is trying to portray, these gender-based, invitation-only meetings are more indicative of a government in trouble. The Liberals only have the support of 21 per cent of women in B.C., according to a recent poll, while the NDP has 52 per cent.

Clark is trying to prop up her popularity before voters head to the polls in the spring.

Ultimately, it will be interesting to see if the premier’s actions resonate with women or if women just see this as another case of politicians pandering to them.


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