Sarah Dobson is a fourth-year political science student at Dalhousie, and is thinking of one day putting her name forward in a real election. Before that, she’ll take her seat as the delegate for Halifax-West in Equal Voice’s “Daughters of the Vote.”
“Daughters of the Vote” is a non-partisan event which will bring 338 young women from across Canada together to take their seats in Parliament. One delegate has been chosen from each federal riding.
Dobson will take her seat for Halifax-West, which is currently held by Speaker of the House Geoff Regan. When asked if that automatically makes her Speaker for a day, she said she wasn’t “100 per cent sure, but we’ve been joking about that.”
Dobson was initially inspired to apply when she saw Nova Scotian MLA Karla MacFarlane post the opportunity on her Twitter.
“As soon as I read what it was, and that it would be a delegation of all women going to Ottawa, I really wanted to go and meet other women who are in the same place as me, wanting to move forward in politics.”
While Dobson hasn’t decided on running for office just yet, her Political Science degree focuses on international relations, and she sees working for NATO or the United Nations in her future.
After her time in Ottawa, Dobson plans to bring back with her “a renewed sense of hope.”
“What I think I can bring back to the community is a sense of empowerment, and I can tell other people who are pursuing my degree, especially younger students, that politics is something worth studying. It’s something worth pursuing.”
Dobson feels this sense of empowerment is something she has learned from watching women in politics in Nova Scotia.
The program will run from Mar. 7-10, and will feature group discussions, roundtables, and delegates taking their seat with Members of Parliament watching them from the galleries.
If the possibility of a House debate occurs, Dobson hopes she will have the opportunity to discuss refugees issues and Aboriginal inclusion in Canadian politics. 20 per cent of delegates will be Aboriginal, and Dobson wants to discuss how Canada can do a better job of including indigenous women in politics.
For Dobson, a love for politics was “just always there.” She had never taken a political science course before choosing to study it for her undergrad degree.
Dobson was a Page in the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly, and said she looks up to “all the female MLAs in Nova Scotia, and Karla MacFarlane in particular. I just think she handles herself so well. I’ve seen such great things from her and she’s a really lovely person.”
The experience to witness the House of Commons seats filled with 338 young women will be a unique one, and Dobson hopes to take “that spirit that I know is going to be in Ottawa, and bring that back to Halifax.”