29 September 2015

#59 Honour ME!

Canada doesn’t particularly have the best record when it comes to the rights and recognition of women. At one point, the back of the $50 bill featured the “Famous Five” women, who sued to have women recognized as “persons” who could be named as senators in Canada. They have subsequently been replaced by the image of some kind of military equipment as a new series unrolls. But they are not the owmen I wanted to talk about this time out.

One woman in particular, Thérèse Casgrain, is the person I want to talk about. She was an activist, a women’s suffrage campaigner, a politician and, arguably, the first female leader of a political party in Canada (the Parti social démocratique du Québec, the Québec wing of the CCF, predecessor to the NDP). She was named to the Senate by then Prime Minister Trudeau in 1970, a time when all the appointments didn’t necessarily come from the ruling party. She died in 1981.

In 1982, the federal government created the Thérèse Casgrain Volunteer Award, discontinued by the Mulroney government in 1990 and relaunched under the Chrétien government in 2001. In a world where everything is partisan, you wouldn’t expect this award to last through the current, outgoing government.

In fact, after a government commissioned poll that cost us all $51,000 showed strong resistance to naming an award after the Prime Minister (perceived as too partisan), the government did just that. The Thérèse Casgrain Volunteer Award was quietly disappeared and the new Prime Minister’s Awards took their place, sweeping notable woman who would have merited such an award under the carpet of history.

I guess we should just be glad he doesn’t carry the title of Commander in Chief….

Further reading here

She achieved great things
worthy of remembrance, but
she was no PM

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