Black Female Cabinet Minsters and Black Female Governor General of Canada

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 27th Oct 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>General

American celebrate Black history month, Canadians do as well. The beginning of the recognition of Blacks and their history happened in Ontario Canada when the Canadian Negro Women's Association was able to petition the Toronto Government to create Black history month in the 1950s. On December 14, 1995 the Canadian government declared Black history month for all Canadians including Montrealers.

Yolande James

Black history month is of particular importance to women who have known oppression all their lives. Black history is a celebration of triumph over diversity. It is a women’s issue to the highest degree.

Today we celebrate the former Canadian Member of Parliament (MNA) Yolande James

Yolande James’s parents came from St. Vincent and St. Lucia. She went to a French school in Montreal because of the French education law in Quebec. Her first inclination to make a career in politics was after following the 1995 Quebec referendum (vote to separate from Canada). In 2003 she obtained her bachelor degree in Civil Law from the Université de Montréal and then in 2003 she obtained her Masters in Common law at Queen's University. She became a member of the Barreau du Québec in 2004.

Yolande represented the multi-cultural riding of Nelligan in Montreal as the MNA from 2004 - 2014.. She was an adviser at the Ministry of Health and Social Services. She was the Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities in 2007. She was the Family Minister. She negotiated with Montreal Day Care Centers over such issues as vacation time for employees.She was also against women wearing the niqab in French classes.

Yolande James represents several firsts in Quebec politics. She is the youngest Member of Parliament, and one of the first Black female Member of Parliament and the historic first Black Cabinet Minister in Quebec.

Michaëlle Jean

Canada’s former Governor General and famous Montrealer, Michaëlle Jean.

Michaëlle Jean was born in Haiti and came to Canada as refugee. The family settled in Thetford Mines, Quebec in 1968. Her father was abusive and her parents split up. The mother and girls moved to a little apartment in Montreal.

After receiving her arts degrees at the University of Montreal she studied abroad. While doing her academic work at the universities she did her own study on spousal abuse while working at a woman’s shelter. This experience allowed her to establish shelters Canada-wide for women and children. She was also actively involved with immigration through Employment and Immigration Canada and at the Conseil des Communautés culturelles du Québec.

Afterwards Michaëlle Jean started out as a reporter and then French CBC radio personality. She began by hosting Actuel, Montréal ce soir, Virages, and Le Point in 1968. She then turned her talents to English CBC broadcasting. She hosted her own show and appeared in several films produced by her filmmaker husband.

Michaëlle Jean was the historic first governor general from the Caribbean and the first Black woman governor general.

As Governor General of Canada Jean met with scrutiny because of her alleged ties to Quebec Sovereignty. Jean denied the allegations and renounced her French (France) citizenship in an effort to show her patriotism towards Canada.

She was truly a Governor General of the People. She was the first one to set up a website to be able to chat with Canadians across the country. Though she met with some criticism throughout her office she was truly and inspiration for Montreal women and women all over the world.

Marlene Jennings

Marlene Jennings was born in Longueil in 1951. Marlene is the first Black women from the Province of Quebec and thus from Montreal in Canadian history to become a Member of Parliament. She now is partially blind and walks with a cane. This disability happened to her due to an illness in 2011, but it also makes her one of the few politicians with a handicap.

Marlene was a Montreal lawyer and senior public servant before entering politics. She was first elected in the Notre-Dame-De-Grace - Lachine riding in 1997 and came after the very popular Warren Allmand who had previously held that position. This was one of the safest Liberal Party seats of all time. She lost it though due to the grand sweep of the NDP in 2011.

Her positions in Parliament included: “Member of Parliament, member of the House of Commons, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation, the former Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada, and a former Member of Parliament. From 2004 to October 2005, she was Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister with special emphasis on Canada-U.S. relations.”

All photos taken from the public domain
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Black Female Cabinet Ministers, Black Female Politicians, Female Governor General Of Canada, Female Politicians, Marlene Jennings, Michalle Jean, Yoland Jame

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author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
28th Oct 2015 (#)

Awesome post!

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