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Statement by the Liberal Party of Canada on Persons Day

Posted on October 18, 2010

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff made the following statement on Persons Day in Canada:

“Eighty-one years ago today, at the behest of The Famous Five, the British Privy Council officially declared that Canadian women were ‘persons.’ The Persons Case, led by five extraordinary Alberta women – Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Henrietta Muir Edwards and Louise McKinney – was a remarkable achievement in Canadian history, and we continue to celebrate it to this day.

“Persons Day is an opportunity to celebrate victories and reaffirm our commitment to achieving full equality for all women, here in Canada and around the world. While great advances have been made in the fight for women’s equality since the success of the Persons Case, there is still more to do – especially when it comes to empowering women in the developing world, increasing female representation in Parliament, and achieving pay equity.

“The Liberal party is leading the way in the fight for women’s equality. This past May, despite government opposition, a majority of MPs in the House of Commons voted in favour of my Private Member’s Bill on pay equity at second reading. I look forward to defending the principle of equal opportunity for all Canadians tomorrow at Parliament’s Status of Women Committee.

“On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our parliamentary caucus, I want to recognize how far we have come, and how far we still have to go to bring about true equality for all women.”

Liberal Status of Women Critic Anita Neville added:

“Persons Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of women in Canada and around the world. But it is also a stark reminder of the many roadblocks that still exist for far too many women who face suppression of their basic rights, abuse or poverty.

“I want to encourage members of Parliament from all parties to set an example for all Canadians by supporting Mr. Ignatieff’s bill on pay equity, which calls for swift action to implement the recommendations of the 2004 Pay Equity Task Force, including a new pay equity commission to ensure pay equity in the federal public service, Crown corporations, and federally-regulated corporations. It is a positive step forward in the fight for pay equity.”

Liberal Women’s Caucus Chair Lise Zarac also added:

“As we reflect on the status of women in Canadian society on Persons Day, we must continue to seek justice for hundreds of missing Aboriginal women and girls, a black mark on our recent history that has received far too little attention from the Harper government. While women have come a long way over the last 80 years, Persons Day gives us the opportunity to reflect on this and all other issues still facing many Canadian women.”

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