OTTAWA – The Bank of Canada has appointed a group of people to develop a short list of Canadian women whose images could appear on a new banknote in 2018.
In announcing the panel Monday, the bank said it has received more than 18,000 submissions since issuing a public call for nominations last month. Those responses include the names of about 120 different women.
The advisory council will narrow the list to between 10 and 12 nominees and survey Canadians on those names. From there, the advisers will listen to expert advice as they trim the list further, to between three and five women.
Bank governor Stephen Poloz and Finance Minister Bill Morneau will discuss the final candidates, with Morneau making the ultimate call.
Poloz and Carolyn Wilkins, the bank’s senior deputy governor, announced the council on Monday at an Ottawa elementary school named after astronaut Roberta Bondar.
“Banknotes aren’t really just money — I like to think of them as being little pieces of art that tell Canada’s story,” Wilkins told students.
“We want the banknotes to be inspiring.”
The council members are: writer Gurjinder Basran; Michael Redhead Champagne, youth activist and founder of AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities); Margaret Conrad, professor emerita, University of New Brunswick; Francine Descarries, sociology professor, Universite du Quebec a Montreal; Perdita Felicien, world champion hurdler; Merna Forster, historian and author; Dominic Giroux, president and vice-chancellor, Laurentian University.
Only one woman has been featured on the currency since the Bank of Canada started designing and producing notes in 1937: the Queen.
“It’s 2016 — it’s way, way overdue for this,” said Felicien, a former Olympian.
“I think that person has to be of the highest integrity — I think she has to be a woman that all Canadians can find inspiration from.
“I really love trailblazers and people who create their own path, so that’s one of the things I hope Canadians look for.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last month that a woman would be featured on the next issue of banknotes due out in 2018.
Candidates must be Canadian women who have shown outstanding leadership, achievement or distinction in any field, benefiting the people of Canada, or in the service of the country. No fictional characters are allowed and nominees must have been dead for at least 25 years.
Members of the public can suggest candidates on the bank’s website until April 15.
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Who should it be?
Prime Minister Trudeau announced that there will be a woman on a new polymer banknote that will go into circulation in late 2018. Right now, there are no women from Canadian history honoured on any of our bank notes. (Except, of course, the Queen). So, I guess you could say it's about time. A petition had been circulating for months for a more inclusive currency that honours women and their historical contribution to Canada and so far it has more than 70,000 signatures. Other countries have already risen to the occasion. In Britain, Jane Austen is featured on new 10 pound notes while Australia has several women from history represented on theirs.
Finance minister Bill Morneau is encouraging Canadians to nominate what deserving woman they'd like to see on the new note on the Bank of Canada website. Nominees will only be considered if they're Canadian (either by birth or naturalization), were known for their leadership or achievements that benefited the country. Oh, and they have to have been deceased for at least 25 years. Flip through this gallery for likely contenders!