Woman Politicians Canada: Will Ontario Add A Sixth Female Premier?

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WOMEN PREMIERS CANADA
Ontario's Liberal leadership vote could create Canada's sixth current woman premier. (CP) | CP

TORONTO - With two female front-runners in the race to replace Dalton McGuinty as Ontario Liberal leader, Canada could be poised to get a sixth female premier.

Here is a look at the five female premiers currently in office:

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Eva Aariak — Nunavut

Aariak, 58, worked as a journalist, operated a retail store and also served as the first languages commissioner of Nunavut before deciding to seek election in 2008. Aariak said she was "floored" and "disappointed" about being the only woman elected that year, and suggested the territory revisit a proposal for gender parity in the 19-member legislature. Aariak was chosen premier under the territory's consensus style government, and was sworn in as Nunavut's second premier and first female leader in Nov. 2008. She has four children and three grandchildren.

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Kathy Dunderdale — Newfoundland and Labrador (Progressive Conservative)

The 60-year-old was a town councillor and deputy mayor of Burin before being elected to the legislature in 2003. She served as minister of innovation, trade, rural development, natural resources and as deputy premier. She was sworn in as the province's first female premier in Dec. 2010 after her highly-popular predecessor resigned. Dunderdale became Newfoundland and Labrador's first elected woman premier less than a year later, leading the Conservatives to a third consecutive majority government in Oct. 2011. She is widowed with two children.

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Alison Redford — Alberta (Progressive Conservative)

The 47-year-old lawyer was first elected in 2008, after working for former prime ministers Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney. She also travelled the globe instituting democratic reforms in places like Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa. Redford served as justice minister before winning the party leadership and being sworn in as premier in Oct. 2011. She led the Progressive Conservatives to another majority victory in a provincial election in 2012, an upset after a slew of polls had suggested the Wildrose party was en route to ending the PC dynasty. Redford is married and has one daughter, Sarah.

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Christy Clark — British Columbia (Liberal)

Clark became the second woman to serve as B.C. premier when she took office in March 2011, 20 years after Rita Johnston — the first female premier in Canada. The Sorbonne-educated politician was first elected to the legislature in 1996 and was appointed deputy premier and minister of education in 2001. The 47-year-old took a break for five years in 2005, working as a columnist and radio show host, but returned to politics in 2010 in a successful bid for the leadership of the Liberal party.

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Pauline Marois — Quebec (Parti Quebecois)

Marois was a social services administrator, political attache and university professor before entering politics. She was first elected to the legislature in 1981 and held various cabinet portfolios in PQ governments, including finance, health, and education, as well as deputy premier for two years. She twice lost the leadership — in 1985 and 2005 — but was acclaimed as PQ leader in 2007. She lost the 2008 election, but led her party to a minority victory in Sept. 2012. Marois, 63, is married with four children.

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