For many years, the underrepresentation of women in the institutions that forge Canadian pubic policy has proved to be the subject of incredibly widespread discussion and debate, as have the various different manifestations of inequality that have been present on the laws and policies themselves of which are involved. The role and influence that women have played in the Canadian political system has been considered different by various personas, however regardless of this, the fact still remains that the role of women in the Canadian political system is incredibly important and significant. The aim of this paper is to not only discuss the actual role and influence of women in the Canadian political system, but as well discuss any and all other key and related issues in regards to this matter. By doing this, we will be able to gain a much more informed and knowledgeable understanding on the subject matter at hand. This is what will be dissertated in the following.
Canada is known as being a constitutional monarchy and a Commonwealth Realm, with a federal system of parliamentary government, as well as incredibly strong democratic traditions. "Many of the country's legislative practices derive from the unwritten practices and precedents set by the United Kingdom's Westminster parliament; however, Canada has evolved variations. Party discipline in Canada is stronger than in the United Kingdom, and more of the votes are considered confidence votes, which tends to diminish the role of non-cabinet Members of Parliament (MPs). Such members, in the government caucus, are known as backbenchers. Backbenchers can, however, exert their influence by sitting in parliamentary committees, like the Public Accounts Committee or the National Defense Committee" (Wikipedia, 2007). Women made up about 21 percent of all elected politicians in Canada, in provincial and territorial legislatures and Parliament in the year 2006, however "their representation ranged across the country, from a low of 10.5 percent to a high of more than 30" (CBC, 2007). Women were actually excluded in the negotiations that created Canada in 1867 and they have since been fighting the laws, government, and political system for the basic democratic right to do things such as vote, hold office, and participate equally in public life. Although women have definitely come a long way since then, they are still incredibly underrepresented in Canadian government and politics, and this undermines the democratic principles of the Canadian electoral and political system as a whole.
The role that women play in Canadian politics is truly one of great complexity, and certainly one which has altered quite dramatically over time, particularly in more recent years. This issue is one which is drastically broad and widespread, and it involves theoretical, historical and practical issues; it addresses political inputs, political processes, and policy outputs, and it examines gender politics at both the mass and elite levels, and as well addresses the impact of multiple identities on women's movement and women's issues in general in Canada.
There has always been an incredibly significant and obvious imbalance in politics when it comes to the