Historic number of women elected in New Brunswick's 2020 provincial election
HALIFAX -- The province of New Brunswick made history on Monday as voters headed to the polls in the middle of a pandemic for their provincial election.
However, COVID-19 wasn’t the only unique aspect of the election.
A record number of women were elected across the province and from four of the province's main political parties.
"I believe we elected nine women as MLAs and that is the highest in the PC history in this province. So, that's great news," said New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs in a news conference Monday night.
In total, 14 women were voted in on Monday.
Along with the nine Progressive Conservative women, there were also three with the Liberal Party, one with the Green Party, and one with the People's Alliance.
Progressive Conservative Dorothy Shephard is heading back to the legislature for the fourth time. The Saint John-Lancaster MLA-elect says the historic news is a step in the right direction.
"It's a very exciting time for us. This is unprecedented," said Shephard. "You know, statistics say that when 22 per cent of your parliament or legislature is represented by women, policies begin to change and shift."
Within the riding of Sussex-Fundy-St. Martins, the PC candidate has also made history. MLA-elect Tammy Scott-Wallace will be the first woman ever to represent the area.
"I've been a journalist in this community for years. A journalist for 25 years, about 17 of those in this community," said Scott-Wallace. "So people know who I am and they know what I stand for."
In the western part of the province, Kathy Bockus has been named the MLA-elect for the riding of St. Croix.
"I'm feeling wonderful and I'm feeling very humbled too," said Bockus. "I feel the weight of responsibility now on my shoulders and I really feel the faith and the trust the riding has put into me."
Some of the other women who will be heading to Fredericton include Green Party candidate Megan Mitton who has retaken the riding of Memramcook-Tantramar, Michelle Conroy of the People's Alliance, who defeated Kevin Vickers in Miramichi, N.B., and Lisa Harris for the Liberals in Miramichi Bay-Neguac.
While these numbers do show progress, many say there is still work to be done.
"While that's a historic high, that still doesn’t even put us at 30 per cent of the legislature assembly," said New Brunswick Women's Council executive director, Beth Lyons. "Twenty-eight-point-six per cent will be women, and 71.4 per cent will be men."