The new council has been sworn in, and yes, every seat is occupied by a man.
We haven’t seen this kind of male-dominated leadership — on council at least — since 1972.
But does that mean we’ve stepped back in time? Many people have asked my opinion on the lack of diversity. First of all, I think we’ve neglected to acknowledge that one of our new council members is one of the youngest Indigenous councillors in B.C. Reid Skelton-Morven’s presence at least reflects one of the largest demographics in our community.
Also, Prince Rupert has one of the youngest councils in B.C., along with Saanich and Prince George. Let’s see what our millennial energy brings to the chambers.
As for feminine energy, Prince Rupert has had a strong history of female representation on council. Shortly after the Second World War, 1947-49, the city had its first female mayor, Nora Arnold, who also served on council from 1943 -1946.
There have even been women-dominated councils as early as 2008.
History has demonstrated that the current all-male council is an anomaly — but don’t let it become our norm. Although Sarah Dantzer and Charmayne Carlson didn’t garner enough votes this time around, they did provide a positive example for other women who may have considered running for office. We need role models to stand before us and show us how it could be done.
This was also the first time either of those women ran for office. Wade Niesh and Gurvinder Randhawa didn’t win their first time running for office. Even the new mayor of Port Edward, Knut Bjorndal, didn’t get elected as councillor in the previous election, yet this time around he collected enough votes to be mayor.
What I’m trying to say is we must not throw our hands in the air, or blame others, for not having at least one woman on council. It simply happened. Move on.
Looking forward, we — all of us, women, LGBT, Indigenous — who are unrepresented on council, we have four years to watch, listen and learn for our chance to represent and take our seat on council.