I am a person

Let us remember Persons Day, a Canadian celebration on Oct. 18 to commemorate the Persons Case, settled on Oct. 18 in 1929 when Canada’s highest court of appeal declared that the word “person” include both women and men.

I use the word “celebration,” but in truth, most people don’t even know what this day is about.

What started this legal process was when Emily Murphy, a magistrate, had been challenged on the grounds that she was not a “person” under the BNA Act. Along with four other women, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby and Henrietta Muir Edwards, Judge Murphy persuaded the government to direct the Supreme Court to rule on whether women were indeed “persons.”

Did you know that  the lawyer and politician who won the  Imperial Privy Council case, was Arva-born Wesley Newton Rowell (born in 1867)? Descendant Nancy Ruth (Jackman) sits in the Senate now thanks to her ancestor.

Thanks to a reader for supplying this information about Rowell and for the photo here of Emily Murphy attending a children’s birthday party in the early 1930s.


5 thoughts on “I am a person

  1. The Decision read by Lord Sankey of the Imperial Privy Council in London
    England includes the pivotal “Living Tree” interpretation of our Constitution,
    the British North America Act enacted in Britain in 1867. This seems to be
    what frees us from the United States Constitution where they always seem
    to be arguing about what some Founding Father thought.
    But let us not forget the family birth names of these women, not merely
    Wives-of (indeed sometimes the breadwinner) Emily Ferguson, Louise Crummy
    Nellie Mooney, Henrietta Muir and Irene Marryat. Doesn’t your LFP pal James
    Reaney claim that he shows up on the Irish Mooney family tree – if so why does
    he not celebrate the Alberta Five on this date too/ Amusingly Edmonton and
    Calgary are competitive on even who “owns” the ladies – 3 Ontarians, one from
    Montreal and the other born in England?
    On this day we celebrate not just women’s achievements but one only older,
    experienced women – 3 of them journalists – could pull off. It helped that Emily’s
    family was a legal one, and tipped her off to the 5 person appeal right.
    could pull off – using the system itself

  2. [Typo: Nancy Jackman of that well-known family, who choses to be known by surname Ruth. Rowell surname’s maternal side.]
    It’s so important to follow the step-by-step story of progress in achieving equality with the opposite gender while contemplating where things need to go from here.

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