“Today, we celebrate the determination of five Alberta women that led the battle for women’s equality across Canada 91 years ago.

“In 1927, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that under the British North America Act, women did not qualify as ‘persons,’ and were therefore ineligible for appointment to the Canadian Senate.

“Soon after that ruling, the Famous Five as they are known to this day – Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards – believed the ruling to be unjust and took the case to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, which was, at the time, Canada’s highest court of appeal.

“In a landmark decision on Oct.18, 1929, the Privy Council wrote that the Supreme Court ruling was a relic of more barbarous days, and to those who would ask why the word ‘person’ should include females, the obvious answer was why should it not.

“Less than four months later, Cairine Wilson became Canada’s first female senator, a major victory for women's rights and a significant demonstration of the power of activism to effect change.

“May we always remember and be inspired by the spirit of the Famous Five, and continue to fight for equality and protection in law for everyone.”


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