Daughters of the Vote participant encourages others to follow suit

Deena Kapacila and Randy Hoback at the House of Commons in April 2017. (Deena Kapacila/Submitted)

Jayda Noyes, Daily Herald

‘It’s really unfortunate when I heard…folks weren’t applying by the dozens.’ – Deena Kapacila

Prince Albert’s Deena Kapacila is encouraging applications for Daughters of the Vote after she got the “life-changing opportunity” in 2017.

Equal Voice’s initiative allows one woman between the ages of 18 and 23 from each federal riding to travel to Ottawa and sit in the House of Commons.

Their intent is to ensure women have equal representation in politics.

Kapacila celebrated her 21st birthday during her week-long trip.

She wanted to speak about the opportunity after finding out no one had applied for Prince Albert’s riding for 2019.

On top of this alarming news, Equal Voice said there’s a lack of applicants across Canada.

“It’s really unfortunate when I heard that, after my experience, that folks weren’t applying by the dozens…I just don’t see why more people aren’t jumping to it,” she said.

Kapacila was the only applicant for her riding in 2017.

She said meeting inspiring female politicians sparked a wave of confidence in her.

“Saying ‘This seat in the House of Commons, you can have this. You can do this if you work for it and you’re just as smart and just as capable as any man and, in fact, all of the men want you here too because you have a different perspective.’ I think that’s so important,” she said.

MPs also gave them advice for running a campaign, including budgeting and who to have in your contacts list for door-knocking and social media.

Kapacila believes without these tips, she wouldn’t have been the vice-president of operations and finance for the University of Saskatchewan’s student union.

She’s currently studying politics and economics there.

She said she also wants to do her masters focusing on Saskatchewan’s labour movement and then go to law school to become a labour lawyer.

Kapacila encouraged young women in Prince Albert to apply for Daughters of the Vote.

Many of the costs are paid by Equal Voice.

“I think if you have an interest in politics, you’re absolutely (who) they’re looking for,” she said.

Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback said women tend to be hesitant about running.

“When we recruit people to seek the nomination, I’m very involved with that, and we find that when we approach women they tend to think through it a lot more thoroughly before they say ‘Yes, we’re going to do it,’” said Hoback.

“One thing in the Conservative Party…we have not said we’re going to make sure that we have x number of women as Members of Parliament. The women in our caucus don’t like that. They say that they want to be an MP and the fact that they’re a woman is irrelevant. They’re an MP because they’re the best person to do the job,” he explained.

“I would like to see more (women in politics)–no question about it.”

For more information or to apply for Daughters of the Vote, visit www.daughtersofthevote.ca.

Applications are open until Jan. 6.