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The Role of Political Parties

Unless you intend to run as an independent or choose to run at the municipal level where political parties do not exist (except in Quebec and British Columbia), you will have to undergo a party’s nomination process. It is often at this important preliminary stage that women face the most challenges. Once you are chosen as the candidate, you should then get the full support of your party’s riding organization to help you win the election.

Local party associations govern the nomination process. It is therefore essential to get to know the movers and shakers in your party’s riding association and to understand the rules and regulations that apply, especially any specific policy regarding women’s participation. Make sure to seek out the women in your party’s riding association because, quite often, they are helping to overcome the barriers to equal representation.

Learn about:
  • The role of political parties
  • Party gender policies
  • Influencing policies


Political parties have been at the heart of our democratic system since Confederation in 1867. Some would argue that such is the case since almost a century before when the Constitutional Act of 1791 created Upper and Lower Canada, providing them each with a House of Assembly.


Gender Policies

Electoral reform is presently underway in several provinces and at the federal level in order to improve the democratic systems in Canada.


Reasons to Become Involved

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for eventually contesting a nomination or becoming a candidate is to work for a candidate or a political party.


Wise Words
Our system could not work without political parties. Our major and minor federal parties were not created by any law, though they are now recognized by the law. We, the people, have created them ourselves. They are voluntary associations of people who hold broadly similar opinions on public questions.

Senator Eugene A. Forsey, How Canadians Govern Themselves 6th edition, ©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada

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