Political leader and activist the Honourable Monique Bégin is one of five outstanding Canadian women to be honoured by Famous 5 Ottawa as a nation builder.
Bégin will be joined by Montreal academic and advocate Marie-Thérèse Chicha; Vancouver family physician and community leader Ruth Elwood Martin; Ottawa legal activist, scholar and educator Sheila McIntyre; and Halifax community leader advocate and volunteer Dee M. Dooley at a Famous 5 luncheon April 21, 2016, the same day they will receive the 2015 Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case at Rideau Hall.
“These women are inspiring role models to all Canadians, but especially to young women,” said Famous 5 Ottawa Chair Isabel Metcalfe. “Following the legacy of the original Famous 5, they are individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the goal of equality for women and girls in Canada.”
Famous 5 Ottawa holds a series of luncheon events honouring prominent women who are distinguished by their leadership. This includes an annual luncheon for the recipients of the GG’s Person Case awards.
The Persons Case marks a milestone moment in 1929 when five Canadian women – Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby, and Nellie McClung – won the right for women to be included in the legal definition of “persons” in Canada.
This historic decision was handed down by Canada’s highest court of appeal – the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of Great Britain – on October 18, 1929. It gave women the right to be appointed to the Senate of Canada and paved the way for women’s increased participation in public and political life.
These five women, all of whom were from Alberta and subsequently dubbed the Famous 5, were the only Canadians to ever successfully reform Canada’s Senate.