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Governor General Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case

2005 Recipients

Ruth Marion C.R. Bell, C.M., B.A., M.A., LL.D. (Hon. Causa)
Ottawa, Ontario
Ruth Marion C.R. Bell is a lifelong advocate for women. Indeed, in 2005, she celebrates 50 years as an activist dedicated to improving the quality of life for women and children. Dr. Bell has been described as "an idea person" and a "problem solver" who "sees what needs to be done to help the vulnerable…and promptly assembles a team to make it happen." In her works as president of the Ottawa, Nepean and National Canadian Federation of University Women, and as an executive member of the International Federation of University Women, UNESCO, MATCH International, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and the Ottawa and National Council of Women, to name a few, she has influenced public policy and legislation. With her colleagues in these organizations, Dr. Bell has worked to open up boardrooms to women, reform pensions and family property law, protect children and end gender stereotyping in education. She has worked on such initiatives as International Women's Year, International Year of the Child, and the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. Dr. Bell has also been instrumental in ensuring that key documents related to the women's movement are preserved by Library and Archives Canada. She lives in Ottawa.

Bonnie Diamond
Gatineau, Quebec
Bonnie Diamond has more than 30 years of experience as a leader and mentor in the women's movement in Canada. In the early 1980s, she co-founded and helped lead the Canadian Coalition Against Media Pornography. In 1982, she joined in the legendary lobby that secured Sections 15 and 28 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, Ms. Diamond co-chaired the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women, which brought forward recommendations that eventually led to the closure of the Prison for Women in Kingston. In the early 1990s, she served as director of research for the Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women, which chronicled women's experiences of violence in the key federal report Changing the Landscape: Ending Violence - Achieving Equality. Today, Ms. Diamond is executive director of the National Association of Women and the Law, guiding the organization as it provides feminist legal analysis and promotes women's human rights. Ms. Diamond is a true champion in advancing gender equality. She lives in Gatineau, Québec.

Erica Jamie (Samms) Hurley (Youth Award)
Mount Moriah, Newfoundland
Recipient of the 2005 Youth Award, Erica Jamie (Samms) Hurley experienced discrimination at an early age that was based on her Aboriginal status and gender. Undaunted, she courageously faced racial and gender barriers, dedicating herself to helping the people of her community and working to advance equality for Aboriginal people, particularly women. As a committed volunteer with the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC), Ms. Hurley is a member of the organization's Youth Council and board of directors, and she is chair of personnel. At present, Ms. Hurley handles communications for NWAC's Youth Council, working to create solidarity among young Aboriginal people in her home province of Newfoundland and nationally. Her goal is to overcome the isolation Aboriginal youth experience and to work together to address key issues facing Aboriginal people. In this regard, Ms. Hurley's priorities include challenging the Indian Act and Bill C-31, which still allow for discrimination against Aboriginal women and their children, and working on the Coalition for the Stolen Sisters, which NWAC has spearheaded to deal with the issue of missing women across Canada. Ms. Hurley is the winner of both the Native Friendship Award and NWAC's Corbière-Lavell/Mary Two Axe Early Student Scholarship. Ms. Hurley is a graduate of the Bachelor of Nursing program and works as a registered nurse in her community. She lives in Mt. Moriah, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Aoua Bocar LY-Tall
Montreal, Quebec

A sociologist and environmentalist, Aoua Bocar LY-Tall is a staunch defender of the rights of women and young girls. Her tireless efforts to eliminate genital mutilation in Africa have been recognized by UNICEF. In 1989, she flew to the assistance of the people of Mauritania who had been deported to Senegal, and founded the Union des femmes du fleuve Sénégal pour l'entraide et le développement. Founding President of Femmes africaines, horizon 2015 (FAQ 2015), a network for African women, she has been fighting for the full and complete integration of African women in Quebec and the rest of Canada. As an international and human development consultant, she provides support to various United Nations organizations, research institutes, and governmental and non-governmental organizations. Dr.  LY-Tall has received numerous awards, including the 2000 Award of Merit from the Montreal YMCA Foundation for women. Her articles, speeches, media statements and research work have helped make governments and the whole world aware of major issues — such as the status of African women, the environment and bringing about sustainable change for them. Dr.  LY-Tall is a research associate at the University of Ottawa Institute for Women's Studies, associate member of the Institute for Health and Society at l'Université du Québec à Montréal, and expert counsel for Fem En Vie, a consulting, strategy development and assessment firm on women's issues, sustainable environment and cultural diversity.

Josephine Enero Pallard
Edmonton, Alberta
For close to 40 years, Josephine Enero Pallard has worked tirelessly for women, particularly immigrant and refugee women. In 1967, she came to Canada from the Philippines, and settled in Edmonton. There, Ms. Pallard began teaching English as a second language to other immigrant women, thus launching her ongoing volunteer commitment to improving the settlement process for new Canadians, especially women. She pursued her studies in education, attaining a master's degree, and establishing a successful and dynamic career as an educator. Ms. Pallard is a dedicated supporter of Changing Together… A Centre for Immigrant Women in Edmonton. She also works closely with Catholic Social Services in monitoring sponsored refugee individuals and families. She is an invaluable resource for new members of the Edmonton Filipino community, providing interpretation and translation services as they move through a range of judicial, medical and social-service systems and procedures. She has also given tremendous leadership through her anti-racism work. Ms. Pallard exemplifies the Canadian dream, settling in Canada as a young woman, pursuing her education and a career, and lending a helping hand to other women as they adapt to life in this country.

Muriel Stanley Venne
Edmonton, Alberta

Muriel Stanley Venne has an abiding belief in the strength and spirit of Aboriginal and Métis women – a conviction that is reflected in her long-standing commitment to advancing their status. For over 30 years, she has been a leader in the Aboriginal and Métis communities of Alberta – initially, as a human rights advocate and human rights commissioner, later diversifying her focus to better understand and assist her people. Not only has Ms. Stanley Venne served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, she is also a lifetime member of the Canadian Native Friendship Centre, and founder of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. Her tireless work has helped to break down stereotypes, fight racism and address the obstacles to equality for Aboriginal women, children and families. In 1996, she spearheaded the production of a publication on Aboriginal human rights and a booklet aimed at Aboriginal youth. She recently established the Social Justice Award to honour individuals who have done outstanding work for Aboriginal women. For her exceptional record of excellence as a human rights advocate, Ms. Stanley Venne has received numerous awards, including the Bowden Native Brotherhood Award, the Canadian Merit Award, Métis Woman of the Year, the 1998 Alberta Human Rights Award, the 2002 Queen's Commemoration Medal, the Aboriginal Role Model Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2004, the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Justice and Human Rights. Ms. Stanley Venne, a mother of four and grandmother of three, is from Edmonton.

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