Kathy Dunderdale was the first female in Newfoundland and Labrador’s 182-year-old constitutional history to be elected to the position of highest authority in our land.
Breaking the glass ceiling for women in our province was by no means a historical accident, but an accomplishment that was hard earned and will create a legacy for future generations.
From solving the ongoing dispute with medical professionals in her first weeks of leadership to significantly augmenting support for daycare services and violence prevention programs for Aboriginal women, seniors and youth, Dunderdale’s tenure brought positive visible changes to the status of women and children living in our province.
I have never personally been a ideological supporter of the Progressive Conservative administration, however, I felt compelled to write this letter in response to ongoing vitriolic treatment of Kathy Dunderdale as of late, which accelerated to the point of what future historians may label as a “cyber-mob” of public criticism, hastily leading to her unceremonious resignation.
I could not really be more ashamed of the treatment of a fellow person in our community than what I observed. The types of reckless slurs and condemnations that have been hurled from every corner of media networks as of late are just plain crude and insulting to the collective intelligence. This type of behaviour from vocal opponents has been a consistent obstacle for Dunderdale from the beginning of her leadership, when she needed 24-hour security protection in her home and could no longer enjoy public freedoms due to illicit death threats and the like.
Moreover, from my observation post, it seems as though Ms. Dunderdale’s appearance, dialect and mannerisms were dissected more than the content of her policies and the efficiency of her administration’s work. This
is an all-too-typical experience for women in politics throughout the world. The type of personal scapegoating and scornful bullying that has been occurring should not be considered acceptable in an equitable democratic society that respects human rights and dignities.
I will close on a positive note by sending out a sincere thank you to Kathy Dunderdale for her historic achievements and the transformative work she earnestly did on behalf of the people of the province every day during her tenure.