The Persons Case pt. 1

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  • 1916
  • This is Judge Emily Murphy, the first woman magistrate in the British Empire
  • A bootlegger's lawyer challenged her ruling on his client, on the grounds that she wasn't a "person" and was therefore in the magistrate's office illegally
  • 1917
  • In Alberta at any rate, women were "persons"
  • There is...no legal disqualification for holding office in government of this country on the basis of sex.
  • This situation lasted for 10 years despite repeated demonstrations and petitions by women's groups to change the law
  • I want to become Canada's first female senator!
  • The federal government would never appoint you because, under the British North America Act, YOU are not a 'person'!
  • August 1927
  • Perfect!
  • Well, any five persons can initiate an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada for clarification of any part of the BNA Act!
  • Henrietta Edwards
  • So, Emily gathered her four other determined Alberta women:
  • Nellie McClung
  • Louise McKinney
  • Irene Parlby
  • March 14, 1928
  • Does the word 'person' in Section 24 of the British North America Act include female persons?
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