12 July 2016, for immediate release
The Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound New Democratic Party is urging the Bank of Canada to choose any woman but Nellie McClung to put on our currency.
MaryAnn Wilhelm, Federal Vice President of BGOS NDP: “While we’re happy that the Bank of Canada is recognizing that Canadian women deserve to be recognized for our achievements, we have two concerns. One is that the Bank will choose only one woman. And the second is that it not be Nellie McClung because of her support for Alberta’s Sexual Sterilization Act of 1928.”
Nelle McClung was born in Chatsworth in 1873. The family moved west and, in 1921, she was elected to the Alberta Legislative Assembly. In her long career she fought for the right of women to vote and to be considered “persons” – the definition of which in the British North American Act was being used to keep women from public office. She was one of the ‘Famous Five’ women who forced Canada to recognize women as “persons.”
“These are worthy accomplishments,” says Colleen Purdon, BGOS NDP’s Women’s Rep. “Unhappily, Nellie also promoted Alberta’s eugenics legislation which, until its repeal in 1972, resulted in the forced sterilization of nearly 5,000 women.”
Rachel Mason, BGOS NDP’s Aboriginal Rep adds, “That number included Aboriginal women in greater proportion than their numbers in the general population. They were also much more likely to be declared “feeble minded” so they could not appeal the decision of the Eugenics Board. Surely, in the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, this is not something Canada should be celebrating.”
The Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound NDP Executive is surprised and a little dismayed that two other women from this region did not even make it to the Banks’ long list (at http://www.bankofcanada.ca/banknotes/banknoteable): Nahneebahweeqwe (Catherine Sutton) who was such a strong advocate for the Saugeen Ojibway Nation in the 1800s, and Agnes Macphail who, in 1921, was the first woman elected to Parliament.
For more information:
MaryAnn Wilhelm, BGOS Federal VP & Outreach Director for the federal NDP Aboriginal Commission, (519) 534-2669, firstname.lastname@example.org
Colleen Purdon, BGOS NDP Women’s Rep (519) 376 7145, email@example.com
Rachel Mason, BGOS Aboriginal Rep & First Nations Director for the federal NDP Aboriginal Commission, (519) 379-9283, firstname.lastname@example.org
Below provides a list of links with background to Nellie McClug, Eugenics, Bank of Canada public consultation: A Bank NOTE-able Canadian Woman
Long List of women being considered for our money: http://www.bankofcanada.ca/banknotes/banknoteable/
Local NDP doesn't want McClung on banknoteBy Denis Langlois, Sun Times, Owen Sound
Friday, July 15, 2016 5:28:08 EDT PM