October 15, 2017
Candidates from 18 Alberta communities ask for better treatment of women in politics
EDMONTON, AB – Candidates from 18 of 26 prioritized communities across the Province of Alberta have signed an election commitment to support safety for women in public life.
As voters go to the polls Province-wide, the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters is winding down the 2017 #LiftHerUp campaign.
The campaign asked candidates in 26 communities to sign a commitment to uphold the highest standards of behaviour both during and after the election. In total 219 municipal candidates and 83 school-board candidates supported the commitment. This includes the incumbent Mayors in both Edmonton and Calgary as well as some Mayoral challengers in both cities.
Supporters of the campaign came from large municipalities as well as throughout smaller towns and rural Alberta.
Edmonton saw 48 municipal candidates committed, Calgary saw 38 candidates sign. Strathcona County saw 4 out of 5 mayoral candidates sign with a total of 18 out of 30 candidates overall. Grande Prairie had the highest number of candidates sign, 17 out of 23 (74%). Banff came next with 13 out of 18 (72%) including both mayoral candidates. Lethbridge also ranked well with 20 out of 33 (60%) committed.
"The campaign sends a strong message that violence against women will not be tolerated in our political processes,” said Monique Auffrey, Executive Director of Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society, “elected officials and candidates who have signed on are committed to women’s safety. This initiative supports everyone in the community.”
Fort McMurray and Medicine Hat saw significant uptake as did rural communities in Cold Lake, High River, Lac La Biche, Peace River, St. Paul, Strathmore, and Taber. Even in areas where there was no electoral advantage to signing candidates expressed their support. The acclaimed mayors of Brooks (Barry Morishita) and Fairview (Gordon MacLeod) both signed the commitment.
Jan Reimer, Executive Director of the ACWS stated,
“By signing this commitment candidates demonstrate that they are leaders on the question of building a more inclusive and fairer society,”
“There were numerous prominent incidents of violent behaviour and aggressive language by both women and men during this campaign. But it was female and male citizens who took the lead in calling out sexism and asking for higher standards from their public representatives.”
Reimer observed that,
“Violent language directed at women in the public eye also perpetuates abuse behind closed doors - we must bring both to an end.”
This was echoed by Gurmit Johal of the Kerby Assembly who stated,
“Shelter clients feel safe and supported when they learn about the campaign against bullying, sexist and violent language.”
The #LiftHerUp campaign was created by the directors of ACWS member shelters who created it in December 2016, responding to violent and hateful chants outside the Alberta Legislature. The campaign is a call to action to end sexist and violent language and behaviours towards women in public life – during and beyond the election period.
ACWS prioritised ACWS member communities and in some areas worked closely with members to secure the support of candidates. Candidates were contacted by e-mail in all ACWS member communities and by phone in major municipalities and selected towns/rural Alberta. Candidates from all communities and for all electoral races were welcome to sign
the committment. ACWS does not endorse any individual candidate but supports policies which create a safer world for women.
Full details of candidates signing in select communities are available at https://www.acws.ca/liftherup
For further enquiries please contact:
Incorporated in 1983 Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) supports 41 members operating 51 shelters across the province, working together for a world free from violence and abuse.
ACWS Charitable Registration: #118780634RR0001