Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks on International Women’s Day
Thank you Judy. Thank you Patty. Good afternoon everyone.
It’s a privilege for me to be here with you today to mark International Women’s Day and to unveil a special stamp and coin commemorating an important achievement for Canada.
But allow me first to highlight that I’m here today with someone very special to me, someone who challenges me, who inspires me, who keeps me on the toes, and has been with me since my very beginnings in politics, Hazel McCallion.
Everyone knows (inaudible).
But I don’t want to have to sleep on the couch tonight, so I would also like to...
… recognize someone who inspires me, who shares her wisdom with me day in and day out, who encourages me every day to be a better feminist, a better man, a better person, my spouse, an extraordinary woman, Sophie Grégoire.
I’d also like to recognize and sincerely congratulate Andrea Tétrault, who designed the stamp we’ll be seeing. Congratulations as well to Laurie McGaw and Christie Paquet for the coin’s design and engraving, respectively.
Today we celebrate the many accomplishments made by women in Canada and around the world, and we reaffirm our commitment to gender equality. This year we are commemorating a very special event. One hundred years ago the women of Manitoba became the first in Canada to obtain the right to vote. This victory played a decisive role in shaping the Canada we know today, the Canada we hold dear. A Canada where tolerance, equality and respect are part and parcel of our identity and our defining values.
In this country, we can be immensely proud of a long line of strong women who have stepped up time and time again to make history against all odds. Women fought for the vote. They fought for personhood and for reproductive rights. And more recently, women now occupy 50% of the seats around our cabinet table.
None of this would be possible without the passionate drive and ambition of inspirational Canadian women. They ardently demanded change and societal progress followed. But, make no mistake, the job isn’t done yet. Our outstanding country still has room to improve, and there is progress to be made. Here in Canada, we must do far more to address issues that negatively impact women each and every day. Issues like pay equity, access to childcare, and the chronic prevalence of violence against women. We should always remember that we’re in a position of privilege as Canadians. We have a voice and a platform that many around the world just don’t have. Just as passionately as we fight for gender equality here at home, we must also fight alongside those who face oppression without a medium for dissent.
Before we get to a further piece of exciting news, I think it’s high time we unveiled what we are here to unveil. So let’s announce… here it is… what are we doing… how are we unfolding this…?
Bill and Patty?
(Commemorative coin unveiled to cheers and applause)
A special coin by the Royal Canadian Mint celebrating women’s right to vote. Excellent. And on this side… Hazel you of course remember from 100 years ago, so…
(PM Trudeau and Hazel McCallion unveil commemorative stamp to applause)
So on top of this stamp and this commemorative coin, I’m happy to conclude with a bit of exciting news. I am pleased to announce today, right here, that a Canadian woman will be featured on the very first of the next series of bills expected in 2018.
(Cheers and applause)
Today, on International Women’s’ Day, the Bank of Canada is taking the first step by launching public consultations to select an iconic Canadian woman to be featured on this new bill.
I now invite Finance Minister Bill Morneau up to share more details.
Thank you all once again for being part of this important occasion.