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Women as "Persons": A Landmark Legal Decision Revisited
at the National Archives of Canada


OTTAWA, October 12, 2000  --  The impact of a seven decades-old legal decision that broke new ground for the rights of women will be the topic of a special public panel discussion at the National Archives of Canada.

A cross section of political figures and legal experts will examine and debate the constitutional, political and international legacy of the "Persons" Case, a 1929 court ruling which legally declared women as persons under the British North America Act and made them eligible for appointment to the Canadian Senate. The case, which was launched by five pioneering Alberta women activists known collectively as the "Famous 5", opened the door to fuller participation by women in the political process both in Canada and throughout the Commonwealth.

The panel discussion will take place on Tuesday, October 17, 2000 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Auditorium of the National Archives of Canada, 395 Wellington St. in Ottawa. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Panel members will include the Honourable Hedy Fry, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism, Status of Women); Senator Joyce Fairbairn; Senator Gérald Beaudoin; and Michèle Falardeau-Ramsay, Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission. Mary Dawson, Associate Deputy Minister (Constitutional Affairs) at the Department of Justice Canada will moderate the event.

The panel is one of a series of special events around Ottawa that will coincide with the unveiling on Parliament Hill of a monument to commemorate the Famous 5. It is sponsored by:

The National Archives of Canada preserves the recorded memory of Canada, including the essential records of the government of Canada. By opening these records to Canadians, it contributes to the protection of the rights of all Canadians and enhances their understanding of Canada. This serves Canadians by connecting them to the sources of their past, and with their personal and collective stories.


Biographical notes are available on request to members of the media.

For more information, please contact:

Pauline Portelance
Media Relations Officer
Telephone: (613) 996-6128
E-mail: media@lac-bac.gc.ca