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Acadia University students, Sarah Toole, left, and Abby Newcombe, were among the Daughters of the Vote on Parliament Hill in Ottawa last week.
WOLFVILLE NS – “I knew it would be emotional,” recalled Sarah Toole, “but it was an even more emotional day than I expected.”
She was one of a pair of Acadia University students who represented Nova Scotia ridings in Ottawa last week as the Daughters of the Vote.
Sarah and Abby Newcombe were among 338 young women, between the ages of 18 and 23, who got to sit in Parliament for a day.
Daughters of the Vote, a program Equal Voice created to promote the participation of women in politics and government, helped mark the 100th anniversary of Canadian women getting the right to vote. The visit coincided with International Women's Day.
Home is New Glasgow, but Abby has Kings County roots. She got to represent Kings – Hants MP Scott Brison.
In her final year of a politics degree, she has been working on an honours thesis focusing on the 2015 Canadian Federal Election. She delved into media reports to see if they indicated a shift in the way female politicians are depicted within the context of cabinet appointments.
Abby was keen to see if the last federal election might prove a turning point in the way that women’s representation in Canadian electoral politics is depicted, but she’s been disappointed.
Sarah is also in her last year studying sociology and politics at Acadia. She has been accepted into a graduate program in public administration.
The 22-year-old heard about the Equal Voice program from Chris O’Neill at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts. She just got her application in on time and was selected to represent Cumberland-Colchester MP Bill Casey.
Abby Newcombe posed with Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison in the House of Commons.
The two young women were among a group of 30 from across Nova Scotia who gathered prior to at Province House to mark women’s enfranchisement.
Sarah was moved to sit in the same seat as her grandfather, George Dickey, who represented Musquodoboit in the Legislature. With an indigenous background, she was able to take part in a special day in Ottawa.
She says the Daughters of the Vote who were selected to speak in Parliament “touched all of our hearts.”
According to Abby, the delegates who gave addresses “were pretty powerful. They didn’t hold back” on topics like Islamaphobia, sexual assault on university campuses and the suicide of First Nations youth.
During the four-day visit, Sarah added that she was inspired to aim for a seat in government some day herself, while Abby believes she’ll be speaking out “even more often about gender and equality.”
Acadia University student Sarah Toole was sitting in MP Bill Casey's seat in Parliament last week.
Did you know?
Equal Voice is a national, bilingual, multi-partisan
organization dedicated to electing more women to all levels of political office
Founded in 2001, it brings women and men together from across the political spectrum in its nine chapters across the country.