“Samara Canada believes a House of Commons that better reflects the diversity of Canadians and their experiences will generate a more resilient and responsive Parliament, and can improve Canadians' willingness to participate in all aspects of public life. Yet many groups – women among them – remain underrepresented today among Canada’s 338 Members of Parliament. MP Kennedy Stewart’s private member’s bill proposes creative new incentives for political parties to increase the number of female candidates selected in riding nominations. Samara Canada welcomes this important public discussion about creating the conditions for a diversity of Canadians, especially women, to enter politics.”
“The Leadnow community takes action every day to strengthen democracy from the bottom up. A more diverse and inclusive Parliament – one that better reflects Canadians and their aspirations – is a crucial part of this challenge. Kennedy Stewart’s Bill C-237 will make sure it doesn’t take until 2075 for Canada to achieve gender equality in our House of Commons.”
“YWCA Toronto supports Bill C-237, the Candidate Gender Equity Act, because women hold only 26% of the seats in the House of Commons. There are also low numbers of visible minority, Aboriginal, queer and disabled women elected federally. This legislation will help correct this imbalance and ensure that more women are shaping change in Canada’s Parliament.”
“Canada falls far behind other countries in terms of female representation. With 26% women in Canada's Parliament, we rank 49th in the world, behind a third of the world's parliaments. To reflect in the legislatures the diversity of society we must change the voting system and related laws to remove barriers to the nomination and election of candidates from groups now underrepresented including women, cultural minorities and Aboriginals. This bill addresses the need for fairness in parties' nomination procedures. Fair nominations are an important component of our electoral system. Developing effective measures to address the under-representation of women would complement the Government's promise to Make Every Vote Count when they change the electoral system.”
"ACTRA's leadership is committed to equality and ensuring that Canada’s Parliament reflects Canada’s diversity. As a country, we have made significant progress but we know there is much more to do. ACTRA supports this legislation because instead of simply talking about the problem, it proposes a solution: if a political party doesn't take gender equality seriously, then that party shouldn't expect a public subsidy. That's putting our money where our mouth is. That's something our union is proud to support."
"The Canadian Council of Muslim Women believes in equal participation of women in political parties. Only with more gender equity in the House of Commons will legislation address and reflect the needs of Canadian women.”
“West Coast LEAF envisions a society in which women are full and equal participants in all social, economic, and political activities. Bill C-237 is a concrete and positive step towards ensuring that Canadian laws are influenced and shaped by the voices and experiences of women.”
“UFCW Canada fully supports Bill C-237 as a straightforward step towards a more gender-balanced national legislature, which should lead to more gender-balanced policy decisions.”
"The Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women will be marking a Canadian Milestone this year, the Centennial Year of Women's Suffrage. It is a reminder of the progress Canadian women have made but also an opportunity to focus on the work that remains before us. According to our rankings in the recent World Economic Forum Reports, this work must include the participation of women in politics. Bill C-237, through its incentive formula and reduction of public subsidy, calls for gender balanced candidate lists. This allows Canada to align itself with peer countries like Portugal and France to promote equality in our democratic processes. As an 86 year old non-partisan organization, we are proud to support the Candidate Gender Equity Act."
“Achieving equality is neither a linear nor a progressive process, as the decrease in recent years in the percentage of women legislators and Cabinet ministers has shown. This situation is no longer acceptable. Reaching gender parity at every level of government is now the goal. This task cannot fall solely to women; it is an institutional responsibility. Clear rules should be established for parity. Bill C-237 launches this process and could inspire other legislatures.”
“At the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion we believe that gender parity isn’t the right thing to do; it’s the only thing to do. There is a mountain of research and evidence that shows that having a balance of women and men (both cis- and trans-identified) has a multitude of benefits that can directly impact our economy and our society. Yet here we are with only 26% of our legislators identifying as female, ranking 61st in the world. It’s embarrassing and requires swift action. Bill C-237 is that action. It’s our pleasure to support this important legislation.”
“It’s well passed time for Canada to have equal representation of women in our Houses of Parliament. Canada is full of female leaders: visionaries at the top of their fields, women excelling in their professions and contributing to the growth of their communities. Bill C-237 promises to strengthen our democracy by encouraging parties to engage more women in the political process. If we are to “walk the walk” of equality in our political system, it is practical steps like Bill C-237 we must take. CFUW is proud to support Bill C-237 which will encourage parties to harness the talent, savvy and experience of Canadian women.”
"Canada is shockingly behind many countries in the number of women representatives in our parliament. This is due to long-standing biases against women in leadership and ultimately impoverishes our nation – economically and culturally. How can we truly advance as a society when the talent of so much of our population is not engaged in a meaningful way in the political process? This can change with strong leadership and clear policies to ensure gender equity in all areas of public service and public funding. Bill C-237 represents such strong leadership and vision for the future of our country."
"As an organization, Women in Toronto Politics believes in and advocates for equity in all areas of political life. Diverse voices need to be heard in all our halls of power, and this bill would help accomplish that. We encourage members of Parliament to continue to fight for this diversity not just in terms of gender but in terms of representation for other marginalized groups as well."
“Having spent much of my professional career working with women around the world, I have studied best practices in how to increase women's representation in parliaments. Legislative solutions, such as those outlined in Bill C-237, including financial incentives or penalties to encourage political parties to nominate more women, are considered by UN Women, UNDP, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and other major international organizations to be commonly recognized methods to achieve greater gender parity.”
"Bill C-237 would give parties incentives to nominate more women. It would not take away freedom. It would not tell anybody how to do it or even whether to do it. However, if they do choose to nominate an equal slate, then they would have a financial incentive to do that."
Joint-seconded Bill C-237 in the House of Commons
"Parliament is and has been primarily the home of white men. Policy has been determined through their eyes . This needs to change. All parties need to up their game when it comes to equality and diversity. That’s why I am supporting Bill C-237 – the Candidate Gender Equity Act."
“I’ve been honoured to advance UNSC resolution 1325 aimed at increasing the participation of women in governance and peace-building abroad. However, Canada is lagging behind in our own Parliament, and now ranks 60th in the world for gender parity. I ask you to join me in supporting Bill C-237 to help close this gap.”
"Gender equality in parliament is long overdue. Legislative changes, such as those proposed in Bill C-237, are what made the difference in other countries to see increased representation by women in government. It’s time. That’s why I’m supporting this Bill."
“Bill C-237 is an important initiative to spur political parties to act on behalf of greater gender parity in the House of Commons. Canada has a poor record on gender representation, something that only has improved in other countries when measures to ensure equality were put into practice.”
"Bill C-237 promises to re-energize the debate over how parliament can more closely resemble Canada's population. Providing parties with direct incentives to run more women candidates offers one route toward improving democratic representation in the House of Commons."
“The Prime Minister had appointed women to half of his cabinet positions. Now we need to achieve gender equality and greater diversity in the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada. This bill will help us move forward toward this goal.”
"I think that Canadians would generally agree that the significant gender imbalance in parliament today is in stark contrast with our achievements towards gender equity in other fields. What is not working in the Canadian political sphere has less to do with gender differences in talent and career aspirations, and everything to do with the electoral rules and institutions that apply in the political system. Bill C-237 – the Candidate Gender Equity Act – is a creative measure that introduces minimal intrusion upon parties’ prerogative to choose their best candidates, while ensuring that the nomination and election process is more open and fair to women. Compared to many other countries that have introduced strict gender quotas, this is an incremental approach that encourages – with modest financial penalties – parties to monitor and assure gender equality in their internal candidate selection processes."
"Canada is overdue in recognizing that the parliament must start looking like the nation. The Gender Equity Bill of MP Stewart Kennedy will promote gender parity in political parties’ nominations providing a fair playing field for women. This will benefit all of us as women empowered as political leaders tend to make a difference in the quality of life issues they prioritize and in championing more gender-sensitive spending on programs related to education, health and community infrastructure."
“The biggest barrier to women’s representation in legislatures is party recruitment and nomination practices. Research shows, time and time again, that when women run, they win. As such, legislation that encourages parties to recruit more candidates from diverse backgrounds is highly desirable and likely to lead to increased diversity in the House of Commons.”
"Innumerable studies highlight not only the excruciatingly slow pace of change when it comes to women's numerical representation across all levels of elected office in Canada, but also how, in many cases, progress has 'stalled.' Research from around the world also indicates that substantial change can only come through the implementation of "positive action" measures. Bill C-237 offers a new and exciting response as it encourages Canadian parties to reform themselves and work to create a more equitable, diverse and democratic House of Commons. This creative initiative is laudable and deserves wide ranging support, in and outside Parliament."
“The academic research shows that the underrepresentation of women in politics is not caused by a lack of willingness to run for elected office, but rather barriers in the process by which parties select candidates. It is not a question of supply, as more than enough women come forward to fill half the candidacies; the real problem lies with unfair biases in the party nomination process. Canada lags far behind other countries in terms of equity measures to promote gender-balanced representation in our democracy. The Candidate Gender Equity Act will fill this critical gap.”
“If we want to live in a country that values equity and diversity we need to demonstrate that commitment in our national institutions. The Candidate Gender Equity Act will help us to achieve a house of representatives that truly reflects the people it serves.”
“Our research shows that women running as federal candidates are systematically found in ridings they cannot win. By contrast, men are far more likely to be candidates in ridings where their party stands a good shot of winning. Worse, this pattern is exacerbated when parties nominate far fewer women than they do men. This is simply unjustifiable in Canadian democracy. There are so many good reasons to run women as candidates — they win; they bring diverse, policy-relevant experiences to the House; they show half the population that they, too, deserve a place in politics. Because of this and because research shows parties continue to discriminate against women as candidates, then the best remedy is to take it to their pocketbooks. With Bill C-237, if parties won’t do the right thing because it is, in fact, the right thing, then they can do it because it costs them to persist in doing the wrong thing.”
"Ensuring that more women hold seats in Canada’s House of Commons is an important step towards a richer, fuller democracy. It is long past time to ensure that all political parties take this lesson to heart.”
“Gender equality in the membership of the House of Commons has long been a goal for those wanting to see equity for women and men in Canadian society. An essential step towards realizing that goal is for parties to nominate enough women to stand for election to the House. The Candidate Gender Equity Act will provide an important incentive to parties to nominate women in sufficient numbers that equality will be more attainable.”
“We will not substantially improve women’s representation in Parliament without proactive measures. Grounded in the principle that public funding should be tied to the improvement of our democracy, the Candidate Gender Equity Act is a practical way to foster diversity and to amplify women’s voices in our national institutions. Members of Parliament can demonstrate their commitment to equality by supporting this important bill.”
"Our Parliament should represent the diverse faces of our country in order to make better decisions for all. But sadly Canada still falls well behind, with only 26% women in our House of Commons. MP Kennedy Stewart's Private Member's Bill is a simple, practical way to encourage political parties to seek out and nominate more women, while remaining inclusive of transgender and non-binary candidates. I'm pleased to support the Candidate Gender Equity Act as a straightforward step towards a more diverse, representative and democratic Parliament."
"J’appuie le projet de loi sur l’équité hommes-femmes, qui devrait favoriser l’intérêt que les partis politiques portent aux femmes. La présence de plus de députées à la Chambre des communes permettrait une meilleure représentativité de l’électorat et y ferait fort probablement diminuer le sexisme. Enfin, la présence de plus de modèles féminins parmi les législateurs constituerait un signal clair en faveur de l’égalité pour les futures générations."
“Sometimes the only way forward is through measures that incentivize positive change. This legislation is a stride in the right direction.”