By Amanda McIvor
Erika Barootes has been involved in conservative politics in Alberta for almost 15 years. Her current role is President of the United Conservative Party. Overall, she would like to see more women run as we head into the next election because it is important that we reflect the diversity of Alberta.
“How can you represent Alberta if you are not a reflection of the people you are trying to speak on behalf of and represent at the legislature? When it comes to diversity, we need to look to our province and replicate it so that every voice is heard and everyone feels that they are also being listened to.”
In Barootes opinion, political involvement should not be based on a statistic and the attempt to get equal numbers. Instead, it should be based on merit and getting the most competent, qualified, and strongest person for the role.
That said, she follows up by saying that in our province we are very fortunate that a large portion of those people are women. We just need, as a party and as a province, to create the opportunity and encourage more women to run or be involved in leadership roles.
Although there is no formal link with the UCP, Barootes, along with UCP Leader Jason Kenny, was a part of the announcement around the She Leads Foundation, which is headed by Rona Ambrose and Laureen Harper.
The She Leads foundation is a relatively new initiative that is trying to encourage more conservative minded women to enter public office. They set up training, tools, resources, and mentorship programs to let every woman that has ever thought about running for public office know that there is a group backing them. They are there for support and to help with any campaign questions. Barootes says she is proud to support the She Leads Foundation as a means to help develop the practical knowledge of campaign tactics.
Amanda McIvor is a second-year scholar with the Peter Lougheed Leadership College and has been working with ParityYEG for her summer stretch experience.