Election attracts 166 male candidates, 71 women
Elections New Brunswick officials say it is the largest number of female candidates in the province's history.
Women represent roughly 29.6 per cent of the total number of candidates — an increase of nine percentage points from the 2006 provincial election.
In that election, 33 of 162 candidates were women.
The Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats each have a full slate of 55 candidates, while the Green Party has 51. The People's Alliance of New Brunswick has 14 candidates and seven people are running as independents.
Elections New Brunswick says the most candidates in any one riding is six in Woodstock, where Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward is running.
There is a strong female presence in Rothesay, where all four candidates are women. In the riding of Moncton West, four of the five candidates are female.
Anne-Marie Picone Ford, the Liberal candidate for Moncton West, is the mother of seven children, a community volunteer and a pharmacist who runs her own business.
Ford says she may have a lot on her plate, but so do many other candidates.
"I've looked at many very qualified men who have coached different teams and have been on different boards and work full-time and have a family, but it's funny — nobody ever asks them how are they going to find time," she said.
The Progressive Conservative candidate for Moncton West is Sue Stultz, who volunteers, runs an annual food drive and ran a convenience store for 25 years.
She says she's pleased more women are running for politics in the province, but is concerned about the lack of young people interested in politics.
"They've become very much disengaged into what politicians do and I'm finding great joy in the part that I can play to encourage them to get out and to vote," Stultz said Tuesday.
Three business owners are also vying for the Moncton West seat — New Democrat candidate Shawna Gagne, Carrie Sullivan for the Green Party and Barry Renouf, who is running as an Independent.
Joanna Everitt, a political scientist at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, says despite the increase in the number of female candidates, the province still has a long way to go.
"New Brunswick is actually at the bottom of all the other provinces," she told CBC News. "I think we're just ahead of Nunavut and we're much lower than all the other provinces."
When the election was called, there were six women sitting in the 55-seat legislature — less than 11 per cent of the MLAs.