PRESS RELEASE : MONTREAL, May 26, 2019 – The Mouvement Démocratie Nouvelle (MDN), the Groupe Femmes, Politique et Démocratie (GFPD) and their partners in civil society are calling on the Legault government to include parity in its electoral reform bill.
At the initiative of the GFPD and MDN, a strong coalition of organizations came together around a common position stating that the achievement of parity between women and men in the Quebec National Assembly must now be a goal of the Quebec electoral system and, consequently, the electoral reform bill that will be tabled on October 1st. As Thérèse Mailloux, President of the GFPD, said: “This is a unique opportunity for François Legault to ensure real equality between women and men, a fundamental value of Quebec, and thus, to mark history “.
Women’s groups (FFQ, Réseau des tables régionales de groupes de femmes du Québec), the Comité des femmes de l’Amicale des anciens parlementaires, most labor organizations (FTQ, CSN, CSQ, CSD, SFPQ, FIQ, APTS and FAE), student groups (Solution étudiante nationale pour un scrutin équitable – SENSÉ) and the Observatoire québécois de la démocratie (UQAM), point out that all political parties in Quebec now agree to achieve “a better women representation in Parliament ” and ” that parity in all sectors of society is henceforth the goal to be achieved “, according to the motions unanimously adopted by the National Assembly on April 26, 2017 and April 3, 2019.
In this regard, it seems important to protect the significant advances of the last general election, advances which are not, for the moment, guaranteed for the future. Also, to this end, the promised bill on the new compensatory mixed-member proportional electoral system must include concrete and verifiable measures to achieve parity. As Françoise David, vice-president of MDN points out, “the mixed-member proportional electoral system offers several possibilities for measures such as, for example, the alternation of women and men in candidate party lists presented by the parties. This is used in many countries.”
The partners reunited today are calling for a meeting with the Prime Minister in order to obtain the guarantee that, as he said in his inaugural discourse, parity finally becomes and for good “a normal thing”. According to Sonia Ethier, president of the Centrale des syndicats du Québec, “equality between women and men is a fundamental value of Quebec society and has been promoted by the labor movement for decades. In this context, parity between women and men in politics is a primordial question. There is no doubt for us that they must guide the government in developing a new electoral system.”
Finally, since all parties also agree that the new electoral system should contribute to a better representation of youth and cultural diversity, all the groups present believe that the future bill must also include measures that promote the diversity of candidates to reflect Quebec’s social fabric.