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November 16, 2005
Municipal governments need more women, says FCM past-president MacLean
Canada's municipal governments need more women. That was the message Federation
of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) past-president Ann MacLean brought to a
lunchtime audience in Toronto.

MacLean, Mayor of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, is heading up FCM's national
campaign to remove barriers keeping women out of municipal politics. Women make
up, on average, less than 22 per cent of municipal councils.

"Women know how to get things done, which is why you'll find so many women
volunteers in every community," said MacLean. "We have the skills needed to get
elected and to sit on council. We need to remove the barriers that keep so many
skilled women out of municipal government."

The luncheon, which was hosted by Toronto City Council in support of FCM's
cross-country Mobilization Tour, drew a broad cross-section of people from
community groups, the business sector and Toronto and GTA municipal councils.

"A government needs to reflect the people it represents," said Toronto Mayor
David Miller. "Institutional change can happen maddeningly slowly, but
municipal governments are the place where change can happen most quickly. It's
our responsibility to ensure that women are empowered to participate fully in
local democracy."

"I believe in the leadership abilities of Canadian women," said Toronto City
Councillor Pam McConnell, FCM Board Member and Vice-Chair of FCM's Standing
Committee on Increasing Women's Participation in Municipal Government. "By
taking our stories and our work across the country, I trust that there will be
more and more women who will step forward and take their rightful place as our
political leaders."

FCM's campaign includes a series of community workshops across the country, to
encourage the participation of women and help build local and national
networks. So far, workshops have been conducted in Charlottetown, PEI, Virden,
MB and Hamilton, ON. The National Strategic Action Plan, to be completed by
summer 2006, will be based on the findings of the 10 workshops.

MacLean said one thing everyone can do is to encourage qualified women to run
for office. "If you know someone you think should be on council, tell her. We
all need encouragement, and our governments need all the women they can get."

Media contacts:

Joanne MacDonald

Brendan Agnew-Iler
Office of the Mayor
(cell) 416-527-3486

Councillor Pam McConnell
Vice-Chair of FCM’s Standing Committee on Increasing Women’s Participation in
Municipal Government



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