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JONESIE: Why nobody around here cares about 'gender parity' pronouncements

November 24, 2015 - 1:23 PM

“Because It’s 2015”

How many times have you seen or heard those words since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau uttered them earlier this month?

It’s now the favoured over-used one-liner of rabid lefties to throw in the face of anyone they believe is behind the times. Trudeau, of course, gave that answer to a reporter who asked him why gender parity was so important to him when he chose his cabinet. He does have some good one-liners.

But B.C. Interior regional governments had him beat by a year on that gender-parity thing.

Well, kinda.

When you look at the regional district boards from Kamloops to Penticton, women are poorly represented. Of the 68 elected representatives from the regional districts of Okanagan-Similkameen, Central Okanagan, North Okanagan and Thompson-Nicola, only 23 are women.

That’s roughly one-third.

Looks obviously out-of-whack, although that’s not really fair. Most of those seats are from small rural areas where there often isn't much choice on who runs for office, let alone who gets elected. And that's as it should be until more women run for office.

The story changes with the major municipalities in those regional districts. This is the one place in local government where appointments are made. Mayors and councillors ‘elect’ representatives to the regional board — that's about as close as we can get when trying to compare to Trudeau's cabinet appointments.

And every municipality that can send more than one regional board member sent an equal number of men and women representatives, except for one.

Penticton has two women and five men on council but achieved gender parity among its four directors to the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. Summerland elected more women than men to council but sent one each to the same board.

Vernon elected three women and four men to council but sent two and two to the North Okanagan Regional District.

Kamloops elected six men and only three women to council but sends three women and three men to the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

Kelowna sends three women and three men to Central Okanagan Regional District even though its council is five men and four women.

That leaves West Kelowna as the only municipality without true parity. It sends two men to the regional table despite having two women on its seven-member council.

What does any of this mean? Absolutely nothing. Voters decided which candidates to elect and the elected councillors and mayors chose among the best of those representatives for greater duties.

No one should be surprised it equated to gender parity. There’s no requirement to do it, no one held press conferences or sought attention for it or made any grand media statements about it — they just did it.

Because it was 2014, I guess.

— Marshall Jones is the editor of

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