As luck would have it, Philippe Couillard presents Sunday a third woman candidate for the upcoming four-elections in Quebec, and, a few hours after the Council of the Status of Women (CSW) had requested the imposition of quotas for female candidates. But the Prime Minister does not mean the same opinion as the FSB, any more than he is completely against.
“To put [a 40% quota of women candidates] as a goal, it appears very commendable, and I think we should target this goal,” he first said on the sidelines of the announcement of candidacy Monique Sauvé in the riding of Fabre in Laval.
“I have a little more difficulty with the punitive aspect, and I think many women too,” he went on to qualify. He was referring to the request of the CSF, which wants to create a “parity zone” that would force political parties to recruit a minimum of 40% and a maximum of 60% of candidates for the elections, otherwise the annual allocations paid by the Chief Electoral Officer would be amputated. “They [women candidates] are there, not because he had to fulfill many objectives, but because they are the best people to represent their constituency,” he insisted.
The Prime Minister, however, has not completely closed the door on the idea of quotas. “I think it is a social issue that is important to discuss,” he said, before admitting “frustrated” by the decline in the female presence in politics in recent years.
At the provincial level, only the Québec solidaire party recruit an equal number of men and women for elections. In other parties, the proportion of women candidates varies from one election to another. The Liberal Party, it increased from 38% in the 2012 elections to 28% in 2014. In the Parti Québécois, 28% of women came in 2012, compared to 37% in 2014. In the future Quebec Coalition, women accounted 22% of candidates in 2012 and 23% in 2014.
With the approach of the four by-elections – the date of which has not yet been revealed by the Prime Minister – the Liberal Party put on Monique Sauvé in Fabre, Karine Otis in René Lévesque (North Shore), Dominique Anglade Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne (Montreal) and Paul Busque in Beauce-Sud.