A Guide to Women in Canadian History

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  Quotes from Famous Canadian Women

In this section we're putting together a collection of interesting quotes from Canadian women. Do you have a favourite quote from a Canadian woman that you'd like to share? Just send it along to us by email. If you happen to know the source, date and/or page number that would be great.

Rosemary Brown stamp"We must open the doors and we must see to it they remain open, so that others can pass through."

"Sisterhood is powerful."

Rosemary Brown, politician, activist

Sarah Polley
"We're still at a point where women [directors] aren't allowed to be mad visionaries. We have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we're responsible, that we can handle it, that we've got all our ducks in a row . . . most women who direct always come in on budget, always come in on schedule, and if they were wild and irresponsible it would not be put down to brilliance, but to a general flakiness."

Sarah Polley, actress and director

"You have to leave room in life to dream."

Buffy Sainte-Marie, musician

"It's rather simplistic but that's what it is: That there is room for redemption and hope, however grim things are; that the human spirit does have that ability to do something that is selfless, even under the most horrendous circumstances"

Deepa Mehta, filmmaker

"Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily this is not difficult."

Charlotte Whitton, first female mayor of Ottawa

"No woman can become or remain degraded without all women suffering."

Emily Murphy, first female magistrate in the British Empire

"Ideals, hope, ambitions tumble into ruins before the necessity of gaining daily bread."

Kit Coleman, pioneer journalist

"I do not want to be the angel of any home; I want for myself what I want for other women, absolute equality. After that is secured, then men and women can take turns at being angels.""

Agnes Macphail, first woman member of Parliament in Canada

"We have taught the world that 'woman power' is about the cheapest power on earth. We never put a value on the labour which goes into this or that task."

Violet McNaughton, journalist and first president of the Women Grain Growers in Saskatchewan

"I remember my first solo (in the CF-18 Hornet). There I was taxiing out to the end of the runway thinking to myself, 'Can you imagine this, look at me driving this $35 million jet!'"

Major Deanna Brasseur, one of the first two women in the world trained to fly jet fighter aircraft in combat

Roberta Bondar"It's great going up and looking at the earth, but all I could think of was getting back and having a glass of cold skim milk."

Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space

"The root of the word 'society' is 'friendship' and 'companionship'. This concept is the basis of the Kaienerekowa, the Great Law of Peace, the Constitution of the Five Nations Iroquois Confederacy. The Great Law is a way of life that was given to us as we saw it. It's how we are to relate to the universe, which is the way that I have tried to live."

Kahn-Tineta Horn, Mohawk activist

"The people do not exist for the sake of art, to give the painter fame or the picture a market. On the contrary, art exists for the sake of the people, to refresh the weary, to console the sad, to increase man's joy of living and his sympathies with all the world."

Madge Young Clement, singer and first president of The Brandon Art Club

Alanis Morissette"What I have to say is far more important than how long my eyelashes are."

Alanis Morissette, singer-songwriter

"Don't ever let anyone tell you that you cannot go through a particular door. Always be prepared to go through a door that leads to your goal."

Ann Saddlemyer, scholar

"Until all of us have made it, none of us have made it."

Rosemary Brown, politician

"Bullying, jealousy, hate, greed, lies, arrogance, searing self-absorption, destructive 'power over' mentalities are wasteful pursuits and causes the human heart to fall to the ground. It is beyond healing, beyond human conscience when women fight with each other. We are Mother Earth's heartbeat, it is our responsibility to bring peace, harmony and balance back to the world. This will not happen if we continue to find fault with ourselves and perpetuate it on our sisters."

Shannon Thunderbird,Tsimshian singer and storyteller

"Nothing's impossible. It's what you decide your limits are."

Lori Ann Muenzer, Olympic gold medalist

Avril Lavigne"Why should I care what other people think of me? I am who I am. And who I wanna be."

Avril Lavigne, singer

Deepa Mehta"I'm not naive. I know that films are very powerful. But I certainly don't say, 'I'm going to make a film that has a social message,' or 'Because I'm coloured or I'm a woman it has to be this way, otherwise it might be misinterpreted.' I want to be free to explore everything, even something that doesn't make me look too good. If I want to explore it, it has to come from a place of honesty and not what is expected of me because I happen to be non-White or a woman."

Deepa Mehta, filmmaker

"Women who set a low value on themselves make life hard for all women."

Nelly McClung, activist and author

"I think women can save civilization."

Emily Murphy, judge who initiated the Persons Case

"Never retreat, never explain, never apologize get the thing done and let them howl!"

Nelly McClung, activist and author

"The usual statement is that I am a remarkable woman because I can do it; the implication is that the average women is too dumb to succeed at a man's task - and I resent that implication, for it is false."

E. Cora Hind, journalist and reformer

"I see a peaceful world in which we have finally come to terms with the reality that our survival depends on abandoning conflict, working for peace, sharing what we have and living within our ecological means."

Elizabeth May, environmentalist

"In this world you've just got to hope for the best and prepare for the worst and take whatever God sends."

Lucy Maud Montgomery, author

"The very first editorial I wrote was about how we needed more women in Parliament. And as a matter of fact, I could run that editorial almost word for word today. Its changed, but not enough."

Doris Anderson, legendary editor and publisher

Judy Rebick"My political perspective as a socialist feminist provides a framework for understanding what I see. But feminism taught me to listen to other women."

Judy Rebick, feminist

"Women had first to convince the world that they had souls and then that they had minds and then it came on to this matter of political entity and the end is not yet...."

Nellie McClung, activist and author

And from the male perspective:

"The woman is the foundation on which nations are built. She is the heart of her nation. If that heart is weak, the people are weak. If her heart is strong and her mind is clear, then the nation is strong and knows its purpose. The woman is the center of everything."

Art Solomon, Ojibway Elder

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