Alberta group urges women to get more confident talking about politics

OTTAWA — A group with roots in the oil and gas industry is encouraging women to talk about politics this fall, even if they hold widely different views.

The non-profit organization, called Canada Powered by Women, registered as a third-party advertiser with Elections Canada last month,and has received $32,500 in contributions from several Calgary-based people and businesses so far. That includes $25,000 from Susan Riddell Rose, the CEO of Perpetual Energy Inc., a natural-gas company.

Lucy Miller, a former head of the United Way of Calgary, said the idea for the group began when some women got together over the summer and started talking about the Oct. 21 election.

“They came together because they were concerned about what’s been happening in the country over the last four years,” said Miller, the spokeswoman for the group, who noted the carbon tax brought in by the Liberal government Justin Trudeau was one of the shared concerns.

“We had our own personal things that we were looking at, but then we started to say, ‘I wonder how the rest of Canada is feeling? What are other women thinking?’ ” she said. “Maybe this conversation should be bigger.”

The organization is launching its campaign in Calgary next week, encouraging women to take part in an online conversation by following the hashtag #canadapoweredbywomen, promoted by a similarly named Instagram profile.

That account, which had about 2,100 followers as of Tuesday evening, has already begun posting things like tips for how to consume political news, a question asking women to share what their ideal lives would look like in four years, and images of both Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer with their families on the first day of school.

The group will also be releasing a report it commissioned from Leger Research, which suggests women are lagging behind men when it comes to how confident they feel talking about important issues in social settings.

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