Parry Sound-Muskoka Women’s Liberal Club holds inaugural meeting

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On Thursday, November 15, the Parry Sound-Muskoka Women’s Liberal Club (MWLC) held its inaugural meeting at the Pine Lodge in Port Sydney.

“The timing is perfect for this club with the election year,” said Nancy Osborne, Director of Women for the Parry Sound-Muskoka riding association. “We want to support women and encourage them to get involved. We have so many amazing, dynamic women in our community.”

The club needed 10 women to join in order to form. More than 50 expressed interest in the club and approximately 25 were able to attend the meeting despite inclement weather.

“We never expected a turn out like this, we are so thrilled,” said Osborne. “It truly was an exciting evening and I am so pleased to see such passion for change.”

According to the MWLC Charter, the purpose of the club is the following:

To ensure that women have a voice throughout all levels of the Liberal Party of Canada and Canada through actively developing, promoting and advocating for:
(a) Policy that promotes gender equity, issues of concern to women and intersectionality of identity and privilege based on personal characteristics;
(b) The election of female candidates to the House of Commons and the appointment of female senators;
(c) Equal representation of women on all Liberal Party of Canada committees and boards;
(d) Equal representation of women on all national boards, government institutions and committees.

Any person who identifies as a woman can join the club but you must be a registered member of the Liberal Party.

At the meeting, positions were filled for Chair (Jennifer Ellard), Vice Chair (Dana Clark), and Recording Officer (Tamsen Tillson).

At the end of the meeting, Trisha Cowie announced her intention to run for the Liberal candidacy for next year’s federal election and she received support from many of the women who attended.

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4 Comments

  1. John K . Davis on

    How does a new organization called “the Muskoka Women’s Liberal Club hope to achieve their first goal of promoting gender equity by segregating themselves from Liberal Men, seems isolationary and fragmentary. Seperatet and defeat, comes to mind. When political parties start formulating policies that pits one faction of their party against another, can weakness and defeat be far off?

    • Trisha Pendrith on

      I agree that we can often get better results when diverse groups work together to shape policy. However, an advocacy group of Muskoka Liberal women working to promote gender equity in no way suggests “isolation, fragmentation, weakness or defeat.” Definition of advocacy: “support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy.” There is no mention of any policy that “pits” any group against another. That’s quite a misleading conclusion jump! They are advocating for more women to be involved in the Liberal party, in government and other venues of decision making. Who would dispute equal representation of women, who make up slightly more than half of Canadians? I applaud women who offer their time and skills to make our Canada a better place to live for all.

      • Tamsen Tillson on

        John K. David and Trisha Pendrith: Thanks for your comments. Regardless of gender or political stripe, we encourage everyone who wishes to advocate for gender equity to follow and support the PSM Liberal Women’s Club. Email us at [email protected] to learn more and/or to be added to our newsletter email list. (You can come off at any time. We respect your privacy.) It’s early days yet, so we don’t quite know how the group is going to work. According to the rules of the Liberal Women’s Commission under which these groups are governed, you have to live in the defined area, in this case, Parry Sound – Muskoka, belong to the Liberal Party, and identify as a woman to be a member of the actual group. However: we most definitely plan to work closely and collaboratively with everyone in the community—including men, other women’s groups, and those with other political affiliations—to make positive change. We look forward to discussing further.

  2. I absolutely love conversations like this! Allow me to introduce myself as the Chair of the PSM Liberal Women’s Club. The question of the nature of the relationship between the women in this club and the men who are feminists as well as those who are not – has yet to be defined. As Tamsen iterated earlier, the Charter adopted by the Club in its inaugural meeting defined members as residents of the riding, self identifying as a woman, and of course holding an active membership in the Liberal Party. With that said, one of things clubs like this can do, is spark conversation and reflection and advocacy about the dynamics of gender in our communities. We are fortunate to live in a country where great strides have been made to support equality in all its forms; not just with women. However there are still issues to be addressed and opportunities to further our development as individuals, a community and a country through advocacy, dialogue and leadership development. I look forward to having this very same discussion with the Members in our next meeting and seeing where it leads us. In our inaugural meeting several members articulated a desire to be inclusive and to ensure that men were appropriately engaged. Since we are a democratic organization, it will be up to the members to decide how the environment of mutual support and cooperation can be achieved. All the best!! 🙂

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