I recently had a discussion over whether Nunavut would be better off if more women were elected to political office.
After listening to the accolades flow on more females becoming politicians in Nunavut – and remembering back to the many similar posts I read on social media during the past election – the gnawing in my writer's belly began because of one little three-word question that has driven thousands of journalists to drink over the centuries – why? Why do we need more female politicians?
To be short and to the point, women are underrepresented in territorial politics but there is something to be said for judging people on merit.
We are all human beings first and foremost.
Now, as a writer, especially for a community newspaper, I have to be quite conscious of pumping the tires in print of any politician during election times, or deflating them for that matter.
And even if that responsibility was removed from me, I could never in my wildest dreams envision myself promoting or accepting a candidate's election based solely on their gender.
Personally, I like politicians with a bit of grit. I like them to look at the big picture. And I like it when they're not overly concerned if some folks see them as a little aggressive when they're in pursuit of something they believe in, or fighting against something they see as detrimental to their constituents.
Give me politicians cut from that cloth, and I couldn't give a hoot about their gender or their sexual preference, if you want to go down that road.
I need to know more about an elected official than simply their gender, as I've seen some bad politicians – both male and female.
Having been in Nunavut since before day one, I have seen some men elected to office who would never in a thousand years receive my vote, and I have watched a pair of sisters elected to various levels of governance who I truly regret never having being able to vote for.
And, if I may wax poetic briefly, I have had two male politicians break my political heart in Nunavut; one because I still believe Nunavut’s first premier remains its best, and the second, a person I totally believed in who never came close to reaching the heights I saw him destined for. I am glad he has been given a second chance.
To cast one's vote for an individual simply because they are a women, or a man, or a hockey player is the act of an extremist, a fanatic or a fool.