Consultation for Equality Day

Left to right: PEI Status of Women member Louise MacLeod, Saskatchewan MLA Sandra Morin, PEI MLA Cynthia Dunsford, PEI Status of Women Chairperson Isabelle Christian, PEI MLA and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Kathleen Casey, Saskatchewan MLA Nadine Wilson, PEI Status of Women staffperson Jane Ledwell, PEI Status of Women Executive Director Lisa Murphy, Parliamentary Exchanges Officer Jolène Savoie. Missing from photo: Quebec MNA Charlotte LÉcuyer

Women’s Consultation Marks Equality Day

Charlottetown – Representatives of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women were pleased to meet for a consultation on Sunday , April 17, with women legislators from a delegation of MLAs and MNAs from Saskatchewan, Quebec, and PEI. The event was part of an outreach program coordinated by the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians organization, which brings together elected women from across Canada and all regions of the Commonwealth.

“It was an inspiring opportunity for our group of women parliamentarians to meet with women from the PEI community,” says Saskatchewan MLA Nadine Wilson, one of the visiting Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians. MLA Sandra Morin, also of Saskatchewan, adds, “It is always valuable to share points of view on issues that affect the status of women and how different governments and communities approach these issues.”

The Advisory Council representatives were pleased that the consultation took place on April 17, Equality Day, which marks equality provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “Twenty-six years ago, on April 17, 1985, the equality provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into force,” says PEI Status of Women Chairperson Isabelle Christian. “The work of ending discrimination and ensuring equality, both equality of opportunity and equality of outcome, continues in Canada and Quebec.”

Among other topics, the Advisory Council shared perspectives with the visitors on the roles of women’s Advisory Councils in the provinces and territories, ways of negotiating equal treatment of women across languages and cultures in Canada and abroad, and emerging national debates on issues affecting women such as polygamy and changing laws on prostitution.

“Equality rights were included in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a result of gatherings of women making their views known,” says Isabelle Christian. “At events such as the 1981 Women and the Constitution conference, women insisted that the values of equality are the values of Canada.”

Christian continues, “Today, gatherings like our meeting with women parliamentarians from across Canada allow us to keep the discussion about Canadian values active. We celebrate the equality rights in section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and continue to strive to see that all Canadian persons are equal before the law and all benefit equally from the law.”

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