Victory! A woman will finally be featured on Canadian money

From Victoria based historian and petition starter Merna Forster:

"We did it! On International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that a Canadian woman will appear on a new bank note in 2018. As you know from Minister Morneau’s response to our petition, the Bank of Canada has now launched a public consultation process, which began with an invitation to nominate notable women on a website. Please be sure to suggest the iconic Canadian women you’d like to be considered; you can submit as often as you like! And if you run out of ideas, take a look at either 100 Canadian Heroines (http://heroines.ca/about/100canadianheroines.html) or 100 More Canadian Heroines (http://heroines.ca/about/100morecanadianheroines.html).

It’s fantastic to see extensive media coverage of the announcement, and a lot of excitement. I did twenty interviews on March 9th: a television interview with Heather Hiscox on CBC News Network, seventeen radio interviews (including sixteen on CBC radio programs from coast to coast), and two interviews with journalists from newspapers. What a crazy day! My hometown newspaper ran an article supporting the Government’s decision and thanking me. 

Thanks to everyone who helped promote the campaign, and a shout-out to Pascal, Kathryn and Lauryn at Change.org for being an awesome team. It’s been a challenging time since I started this petition in July 2013, but I could not have found the determination to persevere without your ongoing support. I’m indebted to each and every one of you who signed the petition and to those who posted wonderful, heartfelt “Reasons for Signing”. When I was discouraged as did happen over these three years, those posts kept me going. I also appreciated your encouraging comments on my updates, and the many tweets and emails. Thanks to supporters Kim Cattrall, Margaret Atwood, Judy Rebick, Catherine Clark, Cynthia Dale, Shelagh Rogers, Lorna Crozier and Charlotte Gray.

Also, thanks go to each of the city councils that passed motions calling for Canadian women on bank notes and those of you who organized that. I appreciate Marvin Rotrand’s brilliant idea asking that Montreal City Council pass a motion about this issue. After that motion passed, it was very helpful that a number of councillors accepted my invitation to follow his example. Thanks to the councils in Whitehorse (Betty Irwin), Cambridge (Donna Reid), Toronto (Mary Fragedakis), Oakville (Cathy Duddeck, Pam Damoff) and North Saanich (Celia Stock) for supporting the national campaign with these motions.

I want to express my appreciation to several women from the Liberal Party of Canada in BC (Saanich-Gulf Islands) who quickly mobilized support for the campaign, from a resolution that made its way through the ranks to behind-the-scenes work in contacting Liberal MP’s. They are: Carolyn Stout, Vice-President; Lynda Sorensen, Representative on the Liberal Party of Canada’s BC Women’s Commission; and Renee Hetherington, Director at Large. 

I also want to recognize my amazing friend Virginia Watson-Rouslin, who contributed to the success of the campaign in a multitude of ways over many years – from being a sounding board to coming up with campaign strategies, arranging meetings, writing letters to journalists and politicians, championing the cause, etc. 

As we close the petition, more than 73,000 people have signed! Wow. 

We can all be proud of standing up for gender equality and fighting to ensure that Canadian women are celebrated on our bank notes. When the new notes featuring an iconic Canadian woman roll off the printing presses, you will know that you made that happen. Honouring a Canadian heroine on the face of our notes is an important step, and I hope that we can look forward to gender parity on bills as is the case in Australia and Sweden. Congratulations to all of you for this significant accomplishment, and thanks to Prime Minister Trudeau, Finance Minister Morneau and Governor Poloz for taking action."

Photo: Victoria Times-Colonist

Photo: Victoria Times-Colonist