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.