On running in a Municipal Election, a feature on Terri-Lynne Carter

Posted on July 17, 2017

By Katherine Keeping, Committee Member on Women in Politics & PARO Board Member


Born in Dryden, Terri-Lynne Carter moved to Thunder Bay at 10 years of age. She took a leap and ran for Member at Large in the 2014 Municipal Election in Thunder Bay. In speaking with here I learned not just about the strengths she began with, but those she grew into through the lessons during the campaign.

She began her campaign as a women who had been featured in the news for a year preceding in her fight for social justice. When the campaign was completed she had accomplished something significant in her first run for office, she received 6000 votes and was dead middle in the pack.

As a woman in politics, she learned the value of both networking and embracing her allies. We are in a community where every time a woman is raised up, it impacts her community. Where every ally leads to several more connections, several more inspirations, and in the end to several more votes.

Terri-Lynne began with a single sheet of paper containing clear messaging. In knowing what she represented, this set of beliefs lead to further introductions and opportunities. The training she was able to receive as a woman in politics came late in the race, yet was of great value. However, these strategies will aid her as she continues to grow in leadership roles in the community.

One of the unexpected barriers she encountered at the time was in relation to funding: “If on ODSP*, how are funds received?” When receiving ODSP, political donations are considered as income, and would be deducted dollar for dollar off of income support. As the first person in Thunder Bay on ODSP to run in an election, the case workers did not know how to record these funds towards their desired purpose. Clearly, campaign donations are not funds toward ones living expenses. Thus, Terri-Lynne chose not to accept donations, and her marketing budget was limited.

A woman of courage and strength, Terri-Lynne Carter won both the PARO Building Bridges Award in 2012 and the Influential Women – Community Trailblazer Award in 2016. While barriers still lay in her path as a woman in politics, I have no doubt that her inclusive ideas and drive will continue to impact Thunder Bay in an exceptional manner.


*Wikipedia defines ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) as “a means-tested government-funded last resort income support paid for qualifying residents in the province of Ontario, Canada, who are above the age of 18 and have a disability.”


Want to get the best stories and tips from women who have achieved their dreams? Join PARO's blog and newsletter community. Sign up now!