– For Immediate Release –
Women City Councillors from India and Ottawa
Share Experiences on Local Democracy
OTTAWA— Canadian democracy will come under friendly scrutiny on Friday, October 4, when Ottawa City Councillor Elisabeth Arnold meets her counterpart for the day, fellow city Councillor Patricia Pinto, from the city of Panjim, in the southwestern coastal state of Goa, India.
The visit is part of a Canada-wide tour for Ms. Pinto organized by South Asia Partnership. The goal of the tour is to promote an exchange on municipal issues, including gender, environment and civic issues, between Canadian and Indian women councilors. In Panjim, Ms. Pinto is one of seven women and 11 men on the municipal council, thanks in part to a change in Indian electoral law that reserves 33 per cent of local government seats for women. Canada has no equivalent law. Elisabeth Arnold is one of six women on Ottawa’s 22-member City Council.
Ms. Pinto has met with civil society organizations and other city councillors in Vancouver and Montreal to discuss the devolution of power to local political bodies, with a special emphasis on the role of civil society in promoting democratic governance.
To arrange interviews with the councillors, please call:
Councillor Elisabeth Arnold’s office
Ottawa City Hall
Peter Moore, Communications Officer,
South Asia Partnership Canada
613-241-1333 ext. 228 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Patricia Pinto was elected as an independent candidate to the Panjim Municipal Council in March 2001, winning one of the seats reserved for women as per the 74th Constitutional Amendment. She is now one of 18 members in the Council, seven of which are female.
Previous to her election, she led the non-government organization, People’s Movement for Civic Action, which is a voice of the people of Panjim on civic and environmental issues. This movement and other citizen organizations formed the Goa Environment Federation in 1999, and elected Ms. Pinto as the General Secretary. For her work, Ms. Pinto received the Goa Sudharop Award 2002 from the Goa Sudharop Community Development, Inc., a United States-based organization supporting development in Goa.
Elisabeth Arnold was first elected to the former City of Ottawa in 1994 to represent residents of Somerset Ward. Elisabeth is committed to safeguarding and improving the quality of life for Centretown residents, and to managing the city’s growth responsibly. She sits on the Transportation and Transit Committee, where she actively supports and promotes alternative modes of transportation and public transit. On the Planning Committee, Elisabeth works to ensure appropriate and sustainable development. Elisabeth is also a member of the Health, Recreation and Social Services Committee, which oversees public nursing homes, public health, childcare, recreation and culture, arts programs, social services and housing. In addition, Elisabeth sits as a member of the board on the following external boards and commissions: Ottawa Public Library Board, Ottawa Community Housing Corporation, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, 5 Ward Business Improvement Areas, and is an active participant in several community associations and organizations.
Elisabeth was elected in 2001 to the Board of Directors of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), and chairs that organization’s Steering Committee on Responsible Pest Management. She is also a member of FCM’s Environment Committee and Community Energy Planning Working Group. In September 2002, Elisabeth Arnold was appointed co-chair of FCM’s National Housing Policy Options Team (NHPOT).