Women's priorities top of mind

An emerging alliance of Northern women municipal politicians says it seeks to "shape the future of Northern Ontario" communities by prioritizing issues affecting women in the province's north. Shuniah mayor and veteran Northern municipal politician Wendy Landry called the Northern Ontario Women's Caucus "worthwhile." "I was part of the initial group," Landry said on Wednesday. In a news release issued by the City of Timmins, the proposed alliance said it's in the process of creating an election procedure to establish an executive, and developing "a strategic plan that identifies common priorities." The group plans to meet four times per year, the news release said. Conmee Mayor Sheila Maxwell said she has enough on her plate focusing on issues affecting her municipality, but said "I believe in this group, and I feel it is very worthwhile." "Women supporting one another is a powerful thing." Currently, just over 20 "participants" — all Northern mayors — are associated with the proposed Northern Ontario Women's Caucus. The group met last month in Toronto at the annual Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference. "The opportunity to support each other professionally, to develop leadership skills, and to increase the number of women participating in local politics, is invaluable," the news release said. Hornepayne Mayor Cheryl Fort, one of the initiative's supporters, said Northern communities benefit "when entire societies celebrate women and stand with them in equality." The proposed alliance "is committed to forging women's economic empowerment, supporting women and girls into leadership, designing and building infrastructure that meets the needs of women and girls and, helping women and girls make informed decisions about their health," Fort said in the news release.

Carl Clutchey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal