Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nancy Allan, Minister of Labour and Immigration and responsible for the Status of Women with Judge Susan V. Devine (retired) keynote speaker at Manitoba's celebration of Women's History Month.
October 21, 2009


In honour of Women’s History Month, the province paid tribute today to the women judges of the provincial court of Manitoba, celebrating their achievement and dedication to justice and equality. Women now make up 50 per cent of the provincial court judges.

“The passion and dedication of these women is undeniable,” said Labour and Immigration Minister Nancy Allan, minister responsible for the status of women. “They are outstanding role models who will inspire young girls and women to lead the way in their professions and their communities.”

The keynote speaker at this year’s event was retired judge Susan V. Devine who, in 1988, became one of the first women appointed to the position of provincial court judge. Devine was recently awarded the 2009 Cecilia I. Johnstone Award from the Canadian Bar Association for her work to advance women in the legal profession. Devine spoke about her personal challenges, experiences and successes in her career.

“Having a woman in the ultimate decision-making role in the courtroom not only reflects the diversity of our society, it also sends a powerful message of equality to all who enter her courtroom,” said Devine. “Manitoba can justifiably take pride in reaching this equality milestone and in the exceptional group of women who now constitute one half of the provincial court of Manitoba.”

Allan noted the 20 women judges of the provincial court bench represent one of the highest percentages of women judges at any court level in the country. She also extended congratulations to Judge Janice le Maistre who was recently appointed associate chief judge, a position formerly held by Judge Mary Kate Harvie.

Women’s History Month is held nationally each year in October to celebrate the advances and contributions of women in all aspects of Canadian society.

The Legislature was packed with people mostly women. It was a day of celebration to learn that Manitoba leads the way in Canada when it comes to appointment of women judges. The food was not so shabby and was served in a hygiene conscious fashion so as to avoid being contaminated by people's hands. This is a far and progressive cry from the way food used to be served where everyone dug their little hands on the food, touching and leaving food they did not want.

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