Viola Davis Desmond (1914 –1965) was an Black Nova Scotian who was granted a posthumous pardon, the first to be granted in Canada. The gov't of Nova Scotia also apologized for convicting her for tax evasion, when, in fact, she was resisting a "whites only" discrimination policy in a movie theatre in 1946. Desmond's story was one of the most publicized incidents of racial discrimination in Canadian history. Desmond acted 9 yrs before the famed incident by civil-rights activist Rosa Parks.
Violet Milstead of Toronto was a ferry pilot, one of the elite few Canadian women who served with the Air Transport Auxiliary in Great Britain during World War Two. She flew forty-seven different types of aircraft, including fighters and bombers, from factories to airfields. For more: www.elinorflorence.com/blog/ferry-pilot.
I am told she is the first woman to receive a PhD in MIS from Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Suzanne Rivard, Chair in Strategic Management of Information Technology at HEC Montreal. Senior Editor, MIS Quarterly Theory and Review (2012).
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somali-Dutch-American feminist activist known for her critical views of female genital mutilation and Islam. She has written an autobiography titled Infidel. She currently teaches Government Studies at Columbia University.
Betty Ford not only founded the Betty Ford Center for substance abuse patients, but was a champion of women's rights, and was a staunch supporter of the proposed Equal Rights Act, passing Roe V. Wade, and of sharing her own struggles with addiction and breast cancer. She used her position as First Lady to show other women that breast cancer was nothing to be ashamed of, and after she discussed her diagnosis, the reported cases of breast cancer skyrocketed. She was a powerful force for good.
In 1993 Kim Campbell became Canada's nineteenth prime minister, the first woman in Canadian history to hold the post. She had previously served as Minister of State for Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Justice Minister (again the first female in this position), and Minister of National Defence and Veterans' Affairs. She is one of only two women in the world who has participated in a G-7 Summit.
Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada 1999-2005, born in Hong Kong, with a long career in broadcast; also publisher with McLelland and Stewart; continuing work on integration of new Canadians. Cultural champion.