In 1928, the SUPREME COURT OF CANADA
unanimously decided women were not "persons" who could hold public office as Canadian senators. The terms of the CONSTITUTION ACT
, 1867, and the historical incapacity of women to hold office under common law barred the suit of Henrietta Muir EDWARDS
and her companion Alberta suffragettes. In 1929 the British Privy Council reversed the decision and called the exclusion of women from public office "a relic of days more barbarous than ours." The Governor General's Persons Award, for work on behalf of Canadian women, is named for the case.
Louise McKinney, women's rights activist, legislator
Louise McKinney was one of the appellants in the Persons Case and one of the first women elected to a legislature in Canada (courtesy Glenbow Archives/NA-825-1).
DAVID A. CRUICKSHANK
Links to Other Sites
The Famous 5
This website focuses on the Famous 5 and their struggle to advance the legal rights of Canadian women. From the Alberta Online Encyclopedia.
Are Women Persons? The “Persons” Case
An online feature about the legal implications of the "Persons" Case. From Library and Archives Canada.
“Give us our due!” How Manitoba Women Won the Vote
A fascinating story about the women who fought for, and won, the right to vote in Manitoba, the first province in Canada to grant women the right to vote. From the Manitoba Historical Society.
The Famous 5 Foundation
The Famous 5 Foundation honours the Famous 5 and other Canadian women. See their biographies of the "Famous 5" as well as the latest news about programs and events.