Emilie Nicolas, Recipient, 2014, Governor General Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case
It's an honour for me to be here in front of you this morning,
an honour to be chosen, because over the past few years I have
seen so many Canadian men and women who are also fighting day
after day for the rights of women and girls.
We all remember the debate in Quebec last year.
The Quebec Charter of Values would have had serious
consequences on women's access to education,
employment and government services,
and on their freedom of conscience and religion.
As the debate was unfolding, I was hearing more and more often
of Muslim friends harassed on campus, spat on on the street,
or denied a job interview.
This had to stop.
There were ten of us, then a hundred,
then thousands mobilizing under our Québec Inclusif banner,
in solidarity with one another, ready to take risks for each
other and give our time for each other.
If Canadians had to remember one thing about the debate in Quebec
last year, it would not be the shame, nor the hatred,
but the strength and the resistance.
The spirit of the Famous Five was very much alive in the
street, in the community meetings and in the general
energy of Montréal last year.
I am very young, but I have witnessed it already.
It's very strong, and it makes me confident that as a country,
we have everything it takes to end inequality and injustices
for all women in Canada, majority and minority,
and non-indigenous and indigenous.
We have no excuse.
We can do it.
And so I am looking forward to continuing the battle.