Commissioner defends gender parity

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

After listening to a CBC phone-in program a few weeks ago out of Rankin Inlet, I was left feeling very disappointed.

Some of the callers, in defense of their position against gender parity, expressed that women’s place is in the home and men seemed to be smarter than women. I disagree with those two positions.

First let me state that I support the introduction of two-member constituencies in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly. Second, I support gender parity for those constituencies!

Some people believe that when we are electing one man and one woman in the same constituency we will lose our right to vote for our choice of a candidate.

We know that is not true and it would never be allowed under a democratic country such as ours. Some people believe that women running against women or for that matter men running against men would violate their rights. I ask in what way?

In my Inuit culture, I grew up to think that it is proper to think about both sides of an issue before making a decision. I know that Inuit have always survived because we have always thought about two sides of the issue and that is what makes us strong as people.

I know that we people of Nunavut will think about the pros and cons of gender parity before we vote in the plebiscite this spring, as proposed by the government of the Northwest Territories. I am hoping that all of us will vote with an informed mind.

For many years women have been seeking proper representation on their needs. This gender parity proposal is about reconciliation between men and women. It is about sharing responsibilities and rewards more evenly.

In my time, my parents shared responsibilities in bringing up children or in hunting. My mother did not question my father’s ability as a hunter, on the other hand my father did not question my mother about her sewing abilities or abilities as a “social worker.”

The gender parity proposal is giving favours to each of us as men and women. I think the benefits for us as a society will be greater than the cons. I think the country can be envious of what we are doing and Nunavut can become a role model for the rest of Canada and the world.

I hope we will think very carefully before voting at the upcoming plebiscite. Most of all, I hope our vision will be to make Nunavut a world leader in equality between men and women. It deserves that recognition!

Peter Ernerk
NIC Commissioner
Rankin Inlet

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