However she knew that the battles she went through, would have to be repeated in every province in Canada before they could enjoy the same rights she fought so hard to get. So she came up with a plan.
She got herself nominated by a considerable number to be appointed to the Senate of Canada. Knowing full well that the men of the day were not happy with this, and hung their hats on old British law that said women were in fact... not persons.
Rejection came her way through a series of courts right up to the Supreme Court of Canada. Three Prime Ministers, while in their terms of office, spread over 5 yrs., all agreed that she could not be appointed as sought.
So she and 4 others took their matters to Britain. The cover page of that historic case is shown above.
Back in Canada, the lawmakers were obligated to finally seriously entertain the appointment of women to our Senate. The liberal government did not choose Emily, a Conservative or any to the other four non Liberals advocates for this change.
They instead turned to a fellow Liberal, who went on to serve admirably. Her name was Carine Wilson.
Seventeen years later a most interesting event took place!
An Ontario female lawyer by the name of Mary Ebert wrote a story about the events of 50 years earlier, the time when the actual Persons Case was heard and decided.
The story was found by Ms. Jo MacFadden. She brought it to the attention of Maureen O'Neil who was then the serving coordinator in Prime Minister Joe Clarke's Ministry of the Status of Women.
The women convinced David MacDonald the then serving Minister of Status of Women that it being the 50th anniversary of such a major event, the government should do something about it.
Soon a plan developed to seek out nominations from across Canada for a women the nominator felt most deserving of an award for their service to the country. The idea was to have 5 women selected, each representing one of the original Famous Five.
These women would be brought to Ottawa, attend several gala events, meet with the Prime Minister and other dignitaries and then be brought forth in a most formal ceremony to the Governor General. The women would then be presented with a medal by the Gov. General.
That medal was to be called the Persons Award. Prime Minister Clark approved the plan, and so did Governor General Edward Schreyer.
Originally calling for the medals going to 5 nominees, apparently the credentials were so high that the government just could not reduce the number from seven in that first year of the awards.
Thus for the first of only two occasions, the medal went to 7 recipients. The second was in 2004.
You can read the names of all recipients between 1979 and 2022... at... https://women-gender-equality.canada.ca/en/commemorations-celebrations/governor-general-awards.html
Throughout the medal's history 6 medals were awarded in 17 of the years while in 21 years 5 medals were awarded. The awards for 2019 were not awarded until March 8th of this year, it being International Women's Day. On that date only 4 women were awarded.
A few weeks earlier, on Feb. 14th Minister Ien of the relatively new Ministry called "Women and Gender Equality Canada," (the replacement of the former Status of Women Ministry) announced the 2019 recipients of the Persons Award.
An announcement that came three years after it should have happened and telling of the 4 recipients for 2019, even though not happening until in 2022.
In her press release the minister proclaimed that the theme was..."Women Inspiring Women. It celebrates women and girls across Canada who continue to demonstrate outstanding leadership while contributing to Canada's social, economic, cultural and political spheres."
One must wonder how the failure to award a minimum of 5 medals in each of the years since inception, the failure to make any awards for 2019 in that year, and holding off on doing this til 2022, and the failure to make any presentations for the years 2020 and 2021 meet these goals that it expects nominees to reach.
On another matter, for well over a year my mother Cathryne Armstrong, Lynn Gough and Cathy Blazkow reached out to prominent women, women's groups, prominent citizens and others to have the federal government proclaim October as Women's History Month in Canada.
After their considerable efforts, aided by a few others, they met success in 1992 when it was proclaimed that October was to be Women's History Month. Today is the last day of that month for this year.
Here is the 1992 announcement from the Status of Women Ministry's head... Minister Mary Collins.
It went on to add that the move showed ..."her vision of providing a way to acknowledge the accomplishments of women," and that it..."reminds us that the initiatives of the present are built on the accomplishments of the past."
She ended by saying that such a month... "will be a time of recognition and celebration of women's contributions to our history as a nation and a people."
Yet in the very statement honouring those who have done so much in our history the Minister could not even include the names of the three Victoria BC women who started the movement in the first place.
Going back to 1999, on 18 October a private consortium unveiled a monument to the Famous Five in Calgary. it was officiated by none other than Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. Here is that memorial....
About a month after the 75th anniversary of the Persons Case, and new $50 bill was introduced in Canada. Here it is...
After the death of all of the Famous Five, in 2009 all were posthumously named Honorary Senators.
Earlier this year, in my long frustration at the lack of announced Persons Award recipients for several years, I wrote an email to the offices of the Governor General.
Here is a portion of that email...
It is only by fluke that I stumbled on the 2019 awards, made earlier this year. But those for 2020 and 2021 have yet to be apparently made.
Accountability to the people of Canada, through my email, seems of little importance to the offices of the Governor General of Canada, or probably some lower ranked folks in the department now filling the boots... or highheels ... of the folks at the ministry of Women and Gender Equality Canada.
This falls far short of treatment they expect from those being nominated for the Persons Award.
See you next time,