Chilliwack Progress

BC Premier Christy Clark holds 'women's dialogue' session in Chilliwack

Will the women's vote in the two Chilliwack ridings where the NDP is running female candidates make a difference to BC Liberals' election-day success?

BC Premier Christy Clark isn't taking any chances.

"Everybody's vote is equal, everybody just gets one," Clark told reporters Wednesday before holding a "Women's Dialogue" event in Chilliwack.

"The issue is, on election day, how to get more votes than the other guy. That's really what it comes down to."

But if women's issues matter to the voter, she went on to suggest, they'll cast a ballot for one of the two male candidates the BC Liberal party is running in the Chilliwack ridings — and put Clark back in driver's seat as premier.

"If it matters to you, do you want a male premier or a female premier?" she said.

"The most powerful people in the province are women," she added, referring to the five female MLAs on her 15-member cabinet. "Would you like to see that continue?"

BC Liberal candidates Laurie Throness and John Martin will face NDP candidates Gwen O'Mahony and Patti MacAhonic in the May 14 provincial election.

The two NDP candidates are urging voters in Chilliwack and Chilliwack-Hope to "make history" by sending female MLAs to represent them in Victoria.

O'Mahony won an upset victory last April by winning a byelection in the traditionally conservative Chilliwack-Hope riding held by BC Liberal Barry Penner since 1996.

BC Liberal MLA John Les, first elected in 2001, currently holds the Chilliwack riding, but he has decided not to run for re-election.

Premier Clark is holding "Women's Dialogue" sessions around the province, but she wouldn't be pegged Wednesday as courting the female vote.

She said as premier she meets with "far more men than I do women, so I created these meetings so I can ensure I'm hearing, as premier, women's voices."

Women make decisions differently than men, she said, but "ultimately" they are concerned about the same issues.

"When you get to an election, women are thinking about the same fundamentally economic issues (as men)," she said.

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