Women rallied to fill civic seats

Raj Sihota will lead a campaign workshop for women in Port Coquitlam next month, in advance of the fall municipal election. - courtesy of raj sihota
Raj Sihota will lead a campaign workshop for women in Port Coquitlam next month, in advance of the fall municipal election.
— image credit: courtesy of raj sihota

As councillors and candidates gear up for this fall's municipal election campaign, a non-partisan group is offering tips to women wanting to get into the civic political ring.

Next month, the Canadian Women Voters Congress will attempt to "demystify" the process with its first campaign school outside of the bigger cities of Vancouver and Surrey.

Congress board member Raj Sihota said her group was invited by Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore to host the workshop in his city, which currently has no female councillors.

And since the Congress wants to branch out to the suburbs to try to fill more municipal seats with women, it welcomed the request by Moore, who will also speak on June 17.

Sihota, who will lead the two-hour event at the Gathering Place at Leigh Square Community Arts Village, told The Tri-City News that women often think twice about running for public office because of career and family demands. As a result, only a quarter of civic representatives in B.C. are female.

At the workshop, participants will hear from PoCo Trustee Judy Shirra and learn the essentials about budgeting, fundraising, communicating and managing volunteers.

Still, the session isn't just for wannabe politicians: women looking to advocate at the municipal level or to tune up their election strategy skills can also join in, Sihota said.

Sihota is no stranger to the political scene. She ran for the Vancouver park board and, in 2005, for provincial nomination with the NDP in the riding of Vancouver-Hastings.

• Tickets for the Canadian Women Voters Congress workshop in Port Coquitlam on June 17 are $20. Go to to sign up.


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