But they and their followers did not give in to the draconian, stupid and outright silliness of the day. You've probably heard about it, read it in books and perhaps, with some hope, studied it in school.
Here are those two historic questions. Issues that led to a decision forcing the men to begrudgingly remove their blinders and finally see the light of day. A light that shall never stop shining for all Canadians, regardless of gender.
While many women had received nominations for the senate the men of the day came up with a bagful of excuses why such appointments could not be made. Fin ally they rested on an old British case that claimed that women were in fact not persons, and it was only PERSONS who could be appointed to the senate.
Up until 1949, the final court of the land... the Supreme Court, was actually the Privy Council in London. So the five women spiriting the action, having exhausted all avenues within Canada to get some common sense from the powers to be in Canada, decided to take matters to the Privy Council. Thus, the above letter.
The historic decision was handed down on October 18, 1929 , a portion of which is shown here...
Fifty years later, in 1979 the short lived Conservative government of Joe Clarke left Canadians with a wonderful legacy. That of the Persons Awards.
The story has been told in past blogs here, but the gist of it was that a new award was created to honour five women each year that were nominated from individuals and groups across the country, to receive an award in honour of their work to better the lives of Canadian girls and women, in a wide range of activities.
In that year the nominations were so plentiful, and the credentials so high, that the committee had great trouble in selecting only 5. In fact they couldn't, and so for the first year ever of the awards, they held an elaborate ceremony at Ottawa and presented not five... but 7 awards. This happened again in 2004. On 16 other occasions a total of 6 awards were made. In all others, now totaling 39 years, 5 medals were awarded each year. The current total, from my calculations shows that 247 awards have been made.
Most, but not all occurred on October 18th, and at Rideau Hall. Several years ago a new grade of classification was created and known as the Youth Person's Award. There has also been one if not more times when a male has received the award.
Many years ago the Persons Awards morphed by name into the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case.
Lets hope that someone at the Status of Woman offices and those of the Governor General realize that next year marks the 40th year for this award and that something special will be created for the celebrations in 2018.
Kathryne Armstrong, a member of the Order of Canada, and a recipient of the Persons Award and many many other awards, certificates and the like over some 40 years of advocacy, served as the honourary Patron of the group of three. She and Lynne Gough, as chair, and Cathy Blazkow, and others later joining, sought out national support for the month. One started by Gough and calling originally only for a week of celebration and limited to the province of BC, but expanded by Armstrong, my late mother, to a month and nation wide.
The Collins press release noted the creation of the month of honour effective in October of that year, now 25 years ago. She advocated that it was to be a ..."time or recognition and celebration of women's contributions to our history as a nation and our people. Her speech writers of course did not think to add in the very release that the month's creation came about after a lengthy coordinated advocacy by Armstrong, Gough, Glaskow and others.
A month to honour women, yet the very proponents could not even be mentioned. HMMMM!
This snafu is not lost on that minister alone. It continues to this day. Go to the website of the Status of Women and look for the names of these three women and be prepared to look for a long time. I could not find any of them. Nor even the fact that we now celebrate the 25th yr of the very month of celebration.
The above site continues with the notice that we should...
Questions that really ought not to have to be asked 25 years later.
Enough for tonight,
See you next week, with an important story of a military woman I'll bet you have never heard of before.