By Mark Squibb | Vol. 7 No. 5 (March 13 2019)
Whether she wins a seat in the provincial election later this year or not, Gillian Pearson may become known as the woman who stopped Paul Lane from rejoining the Progressive Conservatives. Though she didn’t know that when she entered her name into the PC nomination contest for Mount Pearl – Southlands last month, her decision seems to have caused Lane to withhold his own nomination papers in the contest at the last minute. He will now contest the election as an Independent.
“The reason I wanted to run at this point was because parents, and especially women, are extremely underrepresented in electoral politics and in legislatures, across the country,” said Pearson, a mother of two young children.
Pearson said she hopes to help bring some diversity to the table that’s essential for good government.
“The more women who get involved, the more people of different ages and backgrounds get involved, the healthier it is for our election and our legislative body,” she said. “If we’re going to have a healthy, legislative body we need to have voices form a range of diverse backgrounds, and I think having younger people at the table, with families who are going through challenges at the time, might have a fresh perspective on how to tackle issues that not only affect them, bur are going to affect people in the long term.”
Pearson, who lives in Mount Pearl, said the district itself reflects that diversity well and is probably the reason its residents have voted for different parties over the year.
“Mount Pearl-Southlands has a pretty healthy mix of different demographics … people here are probably open to a lot of different ideas,” she said. “They’re a pretty progressive bunch. Mount Pearl is a top-notch city with a lot of different services for a lot of different people.”
Pearson said she’s not daunted running against Lane, the incumbent member who has held the seat since 2011, first as a PC, then a Liberal and now as an Independent.
“I really wanted to run on my own merits, and my own ideas and my own passions,” she explained.
Pearson works with the Canada Revenue Agency, has a Political Science Degree from Memorial University, is the founder of the group Parents for Affordable Childcare NL, which advocates for quality and affordable childcare in Newfoundland, and volunteers with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, The Single Parents Association of NL and The St. John’s Women’s Film Festival, as well as serving on the board of the Kilbride to Ferryland Family Resource Centre Coalition.
“The PC Party of today knows that that we can move past this period of uncertainty,” Pearson said. “Evidence based policies — with real, actionable and measurable goals, are what it takes to restore the confidence of our people with clear and straightforward communication every step of the way.”