As Susan Delacourt notes, today marks the 15th anniversary of Kim Campbell taking power. And as Elizabeth May lamented shortly after today’s shuffle, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper missed the opportunity to promote some of the very few strong women in his caucus.”
A few weeks ago, after announcing her impending retirement from politics, Alexa McDonough rose in Question Period and opened with this. “Mr. Speaker, I came to Parliament 11 years ago with some urgent priorities, the inferior status of women and fixing unemployment insurance among them. Perhaps it is because of the pathetic under-representation of women in the Conservative caucus, an unbelievable 11%, that the government refuses to fix employment insurance for women.”
The government members, notably those of the female persuasion, were noticeably less than pleased.
Thing is, that 11% figure actually flatters the female presence in this government.
McDonough made her comments on June 3. Including all of the QPs this month—14 over three weeks, with one skipped on account of the residential schools apology—a total of 540 questions were asked. A mere 27 of those were handled by female members of this government. That’s good for just 5% involvement.
Josee Verner accounted for 16 of those answers. Diane Finley, five. Sylvie Boucher, two. Lynne Yelich, two. Bev Oda and Diane Ablonczy, one each.
If the House search engine is correct, Rona Ambrose last took a question on Nov. 27, 2007.