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Equal Voice's Introduction of Premier Alison Redford for the EVE Award (Ottawa) - Nov 19 2012

Nov 19, 2012

 

My name is Raylene Lang Dion and I am the newly elected National Chair of Equal Voice. It gives me great pleasure to be here today to honour one of Canada’s five female premiers- a premier with a distinguished history who is first minister of one of Canada’s most rapidly evolving provinces, Alberta, and the energy powerhouse of Canada. 

 
Before speaking to Ms. Redford’s accomplishments today, I would like to take this opportunity to thank EV’s partners and sponsors who are vital to our success. They are our long time platinum sponsor, Johnson and Johnson Family of Companies, a true EV friend and champion.  We are privileged to also have the support of TD Bank, BMO and, last but not least, Telus, who has been with us from the start. Thank you Michael Sangster. 
 
We would also like to extend our sincere gratitude to the Aga Khan foundation who is EV’s premier sponsor of today’s event. 
 
When I first became involved as a co-founder of the local Ottawa chapter of Equal Voice ten years ago, I am not quite sure I would have believed that 10 years later, I would be standing here today to pay tribute to one of Canada’s five female premiers. 
 
At that time, there were no women leading their provinces- and there wouldn’t be for another six years.  In fact, up until that point, only three women had broken in to the ranks of premier in all of Canada’s history: Rita Johnson served briefly in BC, Nellie Cournoyea in the Northwest Territories and Catherine Callbeck of Prince Edward Island. 
 
Before I turn specifically to the accomplishments of Ms. Redford, let us acknowledge who these five female premiers currently are: Eva Aariak, premier of Nunavut since 2008, Kathy Dunderdale of Newfoundland and Labrador, my home province, who was re-elected with a strong mandate last fall, Madame Pauline Marois, newly elected premier of a minority government in Quebec, Premier Redford of course and, at the other end of the country, Christy Clark of British Columbia.   
 
The good news about these dynamic and groundbreaking women is that, just like male politicians, no two are the same. They bring to the table differing leadership styles, represent different political parties, and are advancing priorities unique to their regions/backgrounds.  
 
The power of these women is not simply electoral. They are leaders who are shaping the impressions and expectations of young women to come.  Generations of women, for whom Equal Voice advocates, and who - we hope-  will understand politics is- and should be – their game too. 
 
The purpose of Equal Voice’s EVE Award is to highlight the extraordinary contribution of women such as Ms. Redford who - along with many others - are making an enormous difference to the promotion of women in public life.
 
Now, to Premier Redford. As many of you know, Ms. Redford has an impressive resume. She spent some time here in Ottawa and abroad in addition to her home province. She served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Right Hon. Joe Clark, Secretary of State for External Affairs, and in the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada from 1988 to 1990. In Parliament, she was also the Principal Legislative Advisor to the Secretary of State for External Affairs.
 
Throughout the 1990s, Premier Redford worked as a technical advisor on constitutional and legal reform issues in Africa for the European Union, the Commonwealth Secretariat and both the Canadian and Australian governments.  
 
In 2005, she was appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as one of four International Election Commissioners to administer Afghanistan’s first parliamentary elections. She also served as an advisor to the Privy Council Office on Canada’s future involvement in Afghanistan.
 
Alison Redford was elected MLA for the constituency of Calgary-Elbow on March 3, 2008 and named Minister of Justice and Attorney General on March 12, 2008.  
On October 1, 2011, Premier Redford became leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and Albertans subsequently chose her as their Premier during the Spring Election on April 23, 2012. 
 
As Premier, Ms. Redford seeks to improve quality of life for all Albertans, while working to build a province that is prosperous, fair and inclusive. Her remarkable electoral victory in a province that has two strong female leaders is futher demonstration of how far we have come.
 
Premier Redford: it is with great honour that I confer you with Equal Voice’s 2012 EVE Ottawa Award. Congratulations. 

 

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