Mr. Speaker, October is Women's History Month. What better time to recall the historic Persons case of October 18, 1929. On that date the British Privy Council overturned the decision of the Canadian Supreme Court which excluded women from public office, pursuant to its interpretation of the British North America Act.
Having decided women were not persons, the court said that women could not be appointed to the Canadian Senate. Dismissing this interpretation as "a relic of days more barbarous than ours" the privy council opted for a more modern view that women were "people too".
If we do not remember our history, we shall be condemned to repeat it. In the telling of this tale we can be encouraged by the increased numbers of female parliamentarians, over 50 MPs and more than 20 senators. While it is an improvement over 1929, the lesson of the Persons case is that we can do better.
I look forward to a time when the proportion of female representation in government is a true reflection of the general population and like the privy council, we can look back on today's modest numbers as a relic of days gone by.