“When Kate showed an interest, I was very supportive of standing behind her.”
Joni Baechler has been a city councillor, she’s been mayor of the City of London, and even after stepping away from politics in 2014, her passion for it remained deeply entrenched.
She has stayed of out of spotlight much of the past four years, but Joni remains committed to the ideas of increased community engagement and the growing inclusion of women in the political process.
“Politics is important because it defines the constructs of how we live,” she said. “I’ve been a big proponent for more women in politics, and the importance of having more women in politics, so when Kate showed an interest, I was very supportive of standing behind her.” Kate, in this case, is Kate Graham, the Ontario Liberal candidate for London North Centre.
Joni has seen Kate’s qualifications first hand, not only knowing her as an individual, but also through the work she did for years at the City of London. Kate also worked for Joni, along with former city councillor Susan Eagle, in the city councillors’ office.
When Joni combines her passion for seeing more women in politics with Kate’s own interests and qualifications, it seemed logical to do what she could to support her.
“Kate is a remarkable woman, not only from an integrity perspective. She’s smart, she has the ability to take difficult projects and work through the issues and manage those projects through to fruition,” the former mayor said. “We’ve seen that again and again in her time at city hall. She’s very task oriented, she’s intelligent, has good communication skills and she’s forward thinking when it comes to building cities and communities, and of course our country.”
People often ask, Joni explains, why does society need more women in politics?
Well, the answer is a simple one for the political veteran as Canada is a country with a democracy that represents equality for all people while women hold less than 25 percent of the seats at those decision-making tables. The result is what she describes as a “male gendered political and policy focus.”
It’s important, Joni added, policies reflect the country and the equality of men and women that comprise the population.
“Through history you can see these events occurring where people say enough is enough,” she said. “Women are standing up to say our voice needs to be heard and yes, we’re going to seek political office, we’re going to try and bring about the policy changes that reflect more of the issues and concerns that women bring to the table.”
Joni’s own 14-year political career has provided her with a great deal of experience in how to navigate the political realm. With that in mind, her advice to Kate would be to always keep in mind the ability to agree to disagree. Ironically, it’s something she believes Kate already brings to the table.
“The ability to agree to disagree, it’s one of the things people heading into the political realm need to understand. A lot of people say they can do that, but they take things very personally. Kate doesn’t,” Joni said. “I can’t really offer her any advice, because she already does what is necessary, she has the ability to listen, to seek understanding, before making a decision. That’s really important.”
>>>Thank you Joni for your support. You can show your support and join Joni and others on #TeamKate online now.