The Cape Breton Regional Municipality has elected its first female mayor, while the Halifax Regional Municipality has voted in a record number of female councillors during the latest round of municipal elections in Nova Scotia.
Amanda McDougall beat out two-term incumbent Cecil Clarke by nearly 4,000 votes to become the mayor of the Cape Breton municipality.
The 37-year-old said in addition to being the first female mayor, she’s also pregnant and due in December.
“That came up a lot in the campaign, how I could serve as mayor and have a baby,” McDougall said.
“It was a good discussion to have because male candidates with newborn babies at home backed me up, and asked why they weren’t being questioned,” she said.
“I’m glad that we’ve had these conversations publicly because women belong in places where decisions are being made.”
McDougall, who served as a councillor, said she wants to bring more transparency, accountability and environmental leadership to council.
She also said she wants to challenge the “Old Boys club” way of working.
During her time on council, McDougall said her ability to sit on the solid waste committee was questioned despite serving as the executive director of a local environmental non-profit organization.
“There was criticism towards me because in some people’s eyes I didn’t have the experience or ability to handle what they called ‘heavy conversation,'” she said.
“As mayor, I want to welcome different views and experiences.”
Meanwhile, Mike Savage captured a staggering 80 per cent of the votes to win a third term as mayor of Halifax.
The historic election also saw Halifax council reach gender parity, with eight women and eight men elected as councillors.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 18, 2020.