The Female Candidates of #Elxn42

Last week, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was the first of the national party leaders to commit to appointing a Cabinet that was equally gender balanced. Neither NDP Leader Tom Mulcair or Prime Minister Stephen Harper have made similar promises, however, in this election, there has been an increase in the number of female candidates who have been nominated. The high-water mark for female candidates to date was the 2011 federal election.


Recently we have seen women pave the way and take power in other jurisdictions; Premiers Kathleen Wynne, Christy Clark and Rachel Notley, among others, come to mind. Having women in leadership positions can be a catalyst for other women to run in nomination races because they have role models they can identify with. Female leaders can play a role in mentoring others who are motivated to enter politics. It can also help normalize the concept of having women in power so eventually, more female candidates are chosen in nomination races and more women are elected to the House of Commons.

Going back to Trudeau’s promise to have a balanced Cabinet, if elected, which women have the potential to make it to the table? What about another Conservative Cabinet, or a NDP one? Below, we look at some current female candidates, both new and returning, who stand out and may be appointed or reappointed as Cabinet Ministers, if their respective party wins the election. There are many remarkable women who are running in this election, so to narrow down the list, candidates were chosen based on not only their previous experience and their region, but the probability of them winning in their riding.

Women Candidates who Stand Out


 Minister_Leona_Aglukkaq_crop Hon. Leona Agglukaq

–          MP since 2008
–          Minister of Environment and Northern Economic Development Agency of Canada
–          Former Minister of Health

 Candice Bergen PC Hon. Candice Bergen, Portage-Lisgar

–          MP since 2008
–          Minister of State (Social Development)


 Diane Finley PC Hon. Diane Finley, Haldimand-Norfolk

–          MP since 2004
–          Minister of Public Works and Government Services
–          Former Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration,

 Lisa Raitt PC Hon. Lisa Raitt, Milton

–          MP since 2008
–          Minister of Transport
–          Former Minister of Natural Resources, Minister of Labour
–          Past President and CEO of the Toronto Port Authority

 Dianne Watts PC Dianne Watts, South Surrey-White Rock

–          Former Mayor of Surrey, BC (2005-2015)
–          Current CEO of Health Tech Innovation Foundation
–          Led successful trade missions to India, China and Israel



 Carol Baird Ellan NDP Carol Baird Ellan, Burnaby North – Seymour

–          Provincial Court Judge for 19 years
–          First female Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of BC


 Olivia Chow Olivia Chow, Spadina-Fort York

–          MP since 2006
–          Former City Councillor
–          Transportation Critic


 Helene Laverdiere NDP Hélène Laverdière, Laurier-Sainte Marie

–          MP since 2011
–          International Cooperation Critic and Deputy Critic for Foreign Affairs


 Megan Leslie NDP Megan Leslie, Halifax

–          MP since 2008
–          Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition, Environment Critic


 Linda McQuaig NDP Linda McQuaig, Toronto Centre

–          Journalist and author




 Kirsty Duncan Lib Kirsty Duncan, Etobicoke-North

–          MP since 2008
–          Environment Critic
–          Medical geographer, world-renowned expert on pandemic influenza, environmental change and human health

 Judy Foote Liberal Judy Foote, Bonavista-Burin-Trinity

–          MP since 2008
–          Liberal Whip
–          Former provincial Minister of Development and Rural Renewal, Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, and Minister of Education

 Chrystia Freeland Chrystia Freeland, University-Rosedale

–          MP since 2011
–          International Trade Critic
–          Journalist and Author


 Pam Goldsmith Liberal Pamela Goldsmith, West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country

–          Former Mayor of West Vancouver


 Jody Wilson-Raybould Lib Jody Wilson-Raybould, Vancouver Grenville

–          Regional Chief of BC Assembly of First Nations since 2009
–          Lawyer