Diane Janzen is a panelist for the Women in Politics event Sept. 22, 2022. (Diane Janzen/Facebook)

Diane Janzen is a panelist for the Women in Politics event Sept. 22, 2022. (Diane Janzen/Facebook)

Women in Politics event in Chilliwack will discuss why more women aren’t elected to office

Women in Politics panel discussion is Sept. 22, 6 to 9 p.m., at Coast Chilliwack Hotel by APA

The Coast Chilliwack Hotel will be chock-a-block with powerful women next week.

The Women’s Leadership Collective presents a ‘Women in Politics’ panel discussion on Sept. 22 at the Coast.

The event will feature three exciting panelists: Margaret Commodore, Diane Janzen and Kelli Paddon.

The burning questions that night will range from how to encourage more women to run for office, to what the actual time commitment looks like. They’ll discuss the key election issues brewing in Chilliwack right now, and what are the obstacles and incentives for women to run.

The conversation about women in politics is crucial given the paltry number of women elected to office in Chilliwack in the last municipal election. On city council, there were 13 men and six women on the ballot in 2018. Six men won seats on council, and only one woman. On school board there were nine men, and eight women on the ballot in 2018. Five men gained trustee seats, while two woman won that night. A third female trustee joined the school board after the 2021 byelection.

The event moderator will be DJ Pohl, who ran for Chilliwack-Hope MP in the federal election in 2021, and has been in leadership with the Fraser Valley Labour Council.

One of the panelists is Margaret Commodore (aka Margaret Joe), a retired Canadian politician with Stólō ancestry, who was the first-ever First Nations woman to be named to a cabinet in Canada in 1985. She represented the electoral district of Whitehorse North Centre in the Yukon Legislative Assembly from 1982 to 1992 and the Whitehorse Centre from 1992 to 1996. She was a member of the Yukon New Democratic Party, and named Minister of Health and Human Resources from 1986 to 1989 and the first Aboriginal Minister of Justice in Canada from 1989 to 1992.

Diane Janzen is the executive director of Chilliwack Community Services, as well as a former Chilliwack city councillor and most recently ran for the B.C. Conservative party in the last provincial election. She served as a school trustee chair of the school board. While on Chilliwack city council, Janzen was chair of the social issues committee and worked with a dedicated group of community organizations to establish the Health Contact Centre, a centre which addresses homelessness through housing, health and other support services.

Kelli Paddon was elected MLA for Chilliwack-Kent in the 2020 provincial election. She serves as chair of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth. Paddon describes herself as “passionate about building a diverse and inclusive community where everyone is accepted and respected,” and committed to amplifying the voices of those she serves. She has a master’s degree of interdisciplinary studies with a dual focus on equity and work, organization, and leadership. Recently her research on gender and COVID in the B.C. Legislature was published in the Canadian Parliamentary Review Journal further adding to the discussion on gender in politics.

Tickets $30 for Women in Politics, Sept. 22, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Coast Chilliwack Hotel by APA. Tickets include appetizers, one drink, and great conversations. Register for Women in Politics.

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Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon is a panelist for Women in Politics. (Kelli Paddon/Facebook)

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon is a panelist for Women in Politics. (Kelli Paddon/Facebook)

Margaret Commodore is a panelist for the Women in Politics event Sept. 22, 2022. (Margaret Commodore/ Facebook)

Margaret Commodore is a panelist for the Women in Politics event Sept. 22, 2022. (Margaret Commodore/ Facebook)