Thérèse Casgrain, feminist icon, quietly shunted by Harper government

Governments unfortunately have a tendency to remake history in their own image, as this vignette about the Thérèse Casgrain indicates:

Michèle Nadeau, Casgrains granddaughter, says her family and the Montreal-based Thérèse Casgrain Foundation, which she heads, were not consulted about whether the award should be eliminated.

“We were informed of a sort of internal review that was done by the Human Resources Department, and they decided to discontinue. But we were never consulted.

“Basically, we were advised that at some point the award would be discontinued … Members of the family, the grandchildren, etc., the great grandchildren, were rather upset.”

An image of Casgrain and her namesake volunteer-award medal also disappeared from Canadas $50 bank note in 2012, replaced by the image of an icebreaker on a new currency series.

An image of the so-called Famous Five women was removed from the same bank note.

The Casgrain Award was killed once before by the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney in 1990, but was revived in 2001 by the Chretien Liberals.

During preparations for Discover Canada, officials recommended including the Famous Five as part of the historical narrative and to reinforce the some of the values messages but this was not accepted.

Never completely understood why removal rather than appropriating but there is a consistent thread to these and related actions.

Thérèse Casgrain, feminist icon, quietly shunted by Harper government – Montreal – CBC News.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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