Diversity & Inclusion
Leaders condemn sexism faced by women candidates in N.L. election
Behaviour constitutes sexual harassment: Tory leader
By Sarah Smellie
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A historic number of women are running in the Newfoundland and Labrador election, and party leaders are speaking out about the sexism and abuse some of them are facing on the campaign trail.
During a campaign stop Monday in Labrador, Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey said sexist and abusive behaviour toward candidates is “totally unacceptable.”
“I think we need to do better,” Furey told reporters. “The government needs to do better, society needs to do better.”
Last week, Sarah Stoodley, Liberal incumbent for the Mount Scio district in St. John’s, said she regularly receives disturbing emails from voters. She said she has lost about half a day so far during the campaign co-ordinating with police about the hateful correspondence.
NDP Leader Alison Coffin has said repeatedly that she’s subject to sexist comments online and within the provincial legislature. “It is grossly inappropriate, and I will not stand by it,” she told reporters last week.
Progressive Conservative candidate Kristina Ennis has said she received condescending questions about her age while campaigning — questions she said she doesn’t feel male candidates her age would face.
Tory Leader Ches Crosbie said Monday in an email that the behaviour faced by some female candidates constitutes sexist harassment and bullying.
“It should not be tolerated by right-thinking people,” Crosbie said. “I call on decent people to call out sexist harassment and bullying, wherever they see it. I denounce this behaviour in totality.”
The deadline for candidate nominations closed Saturday.
Of the 127 candidates who registered, 39 are women, two are non-binary and one identifies as a transgender woman. Equal Voice NL, a non-profit supporting women and gender-diverse candidates in provincial politics, says the number of women candidates this election is a record for Newfoundland and Labrador.
The provincial election is Feb. 13.