Electoral Reform

In 2000, the Canadian Women’s March Committee’s published a document called “It’s Time for Change”. This document set out a list of demands for the Federal Government aimed at ending poverty and violence against women. However, few of these demands have been implemented.

The lack of response to the Women’s March’s demands points to the fact that the lobbying strategies used by the women’s movement are perhaps less effective today than they once were.

NAWL decided to look into how changes to the federal electoral system might help us get women’s issues back on the political agenda. We found that the current riding system, in which the candidate with the most votes wins all, means that women’s issues are not likely to become a priority for the Canadian Parliament. This is so even where there is significant popular support for an alternative agenda.

NAWL looked at three mechanisms for political reform: establishing a feminist political party, setting up legislated gender parity within political parties, and moving to a system of proportional representation within the federal electoral system.