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Advisory Council on the Status of Women

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2016-11-08: Plebiscites and Presidents

The results of the PEI Plebiscite on Electoral Reform are now known. I am mari-portrait-orientationdelighted that Islanders have chosen Mixed Member Proportional Representation as the best choice for a change in how we vote. Our analysis of the electoral options showed clearly that the Mixed Member Proportional Representation has the greatest chance to increase the gender balance and diversity of our PEI legislature. Diversity of candidates’ backgrounds and diversity of points of view on the issues of the day are both important for decision-making that makes life better for Islanders of all genders.

Today, my partner and I will be on the road, heading for the U.S. to visit our son and family in New York. Be assured that we will be checking the PEI news on the Internet while we travel to keep up to date on the follow-up to the plebiscite results!

The other historic exercise in democracy that we have been closely following, of course, is the U.S. presidential election. We will be in Maine on the evening of November 8th, and will be watching the election returns with great anticipation to see if the first woman candidate for the highest office in the country is elected.

Women have been held to a higher standard than men when it comes to business and politics in the U.S. The quote below, which circulated in the social media shortly after the first U.S. presidential debate, was included in a column by Leah Eichler in the Globe and Mail on October 29th:


“Imagine a woman who showed up [to a presidential debate] unprepared, sniffling like a coke addict and interrupting her opponent 70 times. Let’s further imagine that she’s had five kids by three men, was a repeated adulterer, had multiple bankruptcies, paid zero federal taxes and rooted for the housing crisis in which many thousands of families lost their homes. Wait … there’s more: she has never held any elected office in her life.”


The long campaign for the U.S. election has been extremely acrimonious and more like a bad reality show than a campaign. At this point, the polls show a close race. Still, as a dual citizen of Canada and the U.S.A., I am hopeful that on November 9th we will be celebrating the election of the first woman president!

The great success of Mixed Member Proportional Representation in the PEI plebiscite on electoral reform is one success built on another – because the process of preparing for the vote and educating the public about the options for proportional representation has been a resounding success. Congratulations to the PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation, the Coalition for Women in Government, and all the other organizations and people who have worked together leading up to the plebiscite. They have been invaluable in helping PEI citizens understand the possibilities for changing our electoral system so that our elected government can better represent our gender balance and diverse population!

Mari Basiletti, Chairperson
PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women

Young Voters of PEI and the PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation are hosting an event this evening on Plebiscites and Presidents! Join what we hope will be a celebration:
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