Competition for Canadian woman to be featured on future banknotes now closed

Dene Moore
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew

[The Queen soon won’t be the only female featured on Canadian banknotes/Yahoo Finance]

Nominations closed Friday for the iconic Canadian woman to be featured on a banknote — a triumph for advocates following a long public campaign.

Since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on International Women’s Day that a Canadian female’s face would return to Canadian currency, the nomination process has received more than 26,000 submissions.

“We’re really looking forward to this. We’re almost to Canada’s 150th anniversary and the Queen shouldn’t be the only woman who’s celebrated on our money,” says NDP MP Rachel Blaney, who worked with colleague Sheila Malcolmson, the party’s Status of Women critic, to demand change.

“It’s just reflecting the amazing work that women have done in our country and having them on our bills just makes sense.”

From 2006 to 2012, the $50 bill featured images of the ‘Famous Five’ who were the petitioners in the historic 1927 court case that saw women declared “persons” under the law.

The bill also featured the image of Therese Casgrain, the first woman to be leader of a political party in Canada.

In the current series of currency, the $50 features the image of an icebreaker.

More than 73,000 people signed an online petition spearheaded by historian and author Merna Forster, who is one of the seven members of the advisory committee.

Among the long list of eligible nominees so far are:

·         Dr. Maude Barrett, one of the country’s first female doctors

·         Marie-Joseph Angélique, an internationally acclaimed artist who helped bring Inuit art to the world

·         Laura Secord, whose warning to British forces of an impending American attack made her a heroine of the War of 1812

·         Poet Susanna Moodie

·         Writer Margaret Laurence

·         Shawnadithit, the last of Newfoundland’s Beothuk people

·         Mary Ann Shadd, a free American black woman who came to Canada to help American slaves who’d escaped via the Underground Railroad.

·         Hilwi Hamdon, a founder of Edmonton’s Muslim community

·         Geologist Helen Belyea

·         Helen Alice Kinnear, a pioneering lawyer who was the first female King’s Council in the British Commonwealth

The nominees had to be Canadian and deceased for at least 25 years. Fictional characters were not eligible, much to the disappointment of Anne of Green Gables fans.

The long list will be reviewed by an independent advisory council that will reduce the list to 10 or 12 names, says a spokesperson for the Bank of Canada.

There will also be a public opinion survey before a short list is reviewed by Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz. Suggestions will then be presented to the minister of finance, who will make the final decision.

“The process of designing, producing and distributing a bank note takes significant time,” Josianne Ménard, a spokesperson for the Bank of Canada says in an email to Yahoo Canada News.

The new banknote will not be issued until late 2018.

Says Blaney: “Women need to be represented because there are women in Canada who have done great things.”