Karley Scott would love to see more women get engaged with politics.
Scott is the Liberal candidate for the Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola federal riding, but prior to that she had a number of work experiences. She started working for the federal government in Saskatchewan, where she grew up, while working on her Bachelor of Arts degree. She wound up spending 10 years working in Saskatchewan in federal roles that saw her help invest in education in aboriginal youth in northern Saskatchewan.
One of the highlights of Scott’s career came during her time in Saskatchewan, as she was able to work on pilot projects that were based on the premise that governments, communities and aboriginal governments could work collaboratively and together.
Scott noted she never anticipated being in the middle of negotiations between the federal government, aboriginal governments and leadership and community based organizations, but it was one of the stepping stones to bringing her where she is now, as after working with the federal government for 10 years she left her permanent position to attend law school.
“I loved my work with the federal government, but I often felt frustrated,” Scott explained of her decision to move on. “I had spent so much time on the ground, working directly with communities and organizations who were assisting people who were homeless, youth who were involved in the sex trade, youth who had substance abuse issues and I just became frustrated with how difficult it was to get your message up the line so your experiences can help inform the decisions that are made at a higher level. I wanted to make a difference, and while I felt I could do a lot with the federal government, I felt I could do more with a law degree.”
Scott obtained her law degree in Calgary, and moved with her family to Kelowna after acquiring it. She practiced law at a firm in the Okanagan for several years before she was contacted by the Liberal Party of Canada as a potential candidate for the Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding. Now that she is in the political field, Scott would love to see more women enter politics.
“I think that what’s important, no matter what party it is, is engaging women in politics,” she said. “Having women step into that leadership role in our democratic process in our civil society makes such a big and positive difference.
“A democracy without the full representation of women is a contradiction in terms, it’s not a democracy if 50 per cent of the population is women, and we have 20 per cent representation. I think that you have to have women involved. If you’re going to be discussing policies and making decisions at a government level that affect women, you should have women involved. Studies show that when you have women involved in government decision making and civil society, there is going to be a likelihood that you’re going to work collaboratively and there are going to be long term solutions.”
Although Scott is still new to the political field, she said anyone thinking of entering politics needs to have a strong support group and a thick skin. She added you also have to be in it for the rights reasons, and hers is that she wants to have a positive impact on her community; something she has worked towards no matter what job she has had or where she has worked.
Scott’s willingness to accept change and drive toward making her community a better place are what make her a Woman to Watch.
Crowe MacKay’s Women to Watch program is a weekly feature that profiles remarkable women in our community. This feature series is a joint initiative between Crowe MacKay, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and the Kelowna Capital News. To nominate the exceptional woman in your life, email firstname.lastname@example.org.