Kam Lake hopeful Cherish Winsor and Great Slave contender Katrina Nokleby say they’ve been subjected to inappropriate behaviour from strangers on the campaign trail.
Since starting her campaign, Winsor has been receiving multiple inappropriate comments from strangers on social media, she said.
Winsor showed several messages to Yellowknifer but did not want specifics revealed due to the inappropriate nature of the content.
One of the comments made on Winsor’s Facebook page, which makes pointed accusations about her social conduct, was made by a territorial government employee.
Winsor said a complaint has been filed against that person but has received no follow up on the matter.
“That individual is at a senior level as well and should definitely know better,” said Winsor.
She deleted the message from her page, but she said people still mentioned it to her while out door knocking.
“These things are not true and I have not met the person,” said Winsor. “I think they’re trying to undermine the work I do in the community.”
“People think they have the right to attack us when we’re just trying to do something good.”
Random men have also been making advances toward the candidate through social media, which Winsor said are demeaning and inappropriate.
“I’ve spoken with a male cabinet minister about this and they said they never received messages like this while campaigning,” said Winsor.
Nokleby said she has also received unwanted attention online.
“I could have a date in Tuktoyaktuk right now,” she said laughing.
Nokleby said she does not believe male candidates are having the same experiences.
“It’s not just because we’re out there publicly, it’s not because we’re widely accepting friend requests, it’s because we’re women,” said Winsor.
Winsor said she has faced some additional criticisms, mostly revolving around her family, being told that she “should be at home with her kids” instead of out campaigning.
“Having family responsibilities does not take away from our abilities to be leaders in the community,” said the mother of five.
Most troubling to her are the rude comments about her children that she’s heard about while door knocking.
“There’s a city councillor that’s doing it and I’ve confronted them and it’s been confirmed they’ve said these things,” said Winsor.
Winsor declined to name the individual responsible.
She said ultimately that the comments are taking away from the message she’s trying to deliver.
“We only have 29 days to do this huge task. We’re putting ourselves out there to be accessible, but that means we’re putting ourselves up for attack,” she said.
Winsor said she has a good support network from friends and women who participate in the Women on the Ballot Facebook group.
Nokleby said she has received support from incumbent Julie Green in Yk Centre and other candidates.
For the future, Winsor thinks that women need to be more visible in politics to avoid this behaviour.
“If it’s more normal, I don’t think we’d get the same amount of attacks and backlash,” said Winsor.
“The message needs to be clear that this is not OK.”
With files from Simon Whitehouse.