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  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Speakers at the Governor General's Women's Conference

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Together for Women's Security

Constance Backhouse

Professor Constance Backhouse teaches at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. She has published a number of prize winning books: Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada; Challenging Times: The Women’s Movement in Canada and the United States; Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada,1900-1950; The Heiress vs the Establishment: Mrs. Campbell’s Campaign for Legal Justice; and Carnal Crimes: Sexual Assault Law in Canada, 1900-1975. Professor Backhouse received the Augusta Stowe Gullen Medal (1981), the Trudeau Fellowship (2006), and the Killam Prize (2008). She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2004, and named to the Order of Canada in 2008 and to the Order of Ontario in 2010.

Lucie Lamarche

A member of the Barreau du Québec since 1978, Lucie Lamarche was a professor in the faculty of political science and law at the Université du Québec à Montréal from 1988 to 2006. She was also the director of undergraduate studies (1995–1998) and director of UQAM’s Centre for International Law and Globalization Studies (CEDIM) from 2000 to 2004.

Lucie Lamarche holds a PhD in international law from the Université libre de Bruxelles (1984). She received the Jean Monnet Fellowship from the Institut universitaire européen (Florence, 1998), the Mérite Christine Tourigny awarded by the Barreau du Québec (2002), and the Mérite CSQ (Centrale des Syndicats du Québec) (2006).

Lucie Lamarche joined the faculty of law at the University of Ottawa (2007) as a professor and serves as the Gordon F. Henderson Chair in Human Rights. Since July 1, 2009, Ms. Lamarche has been the Research Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre of the University of Ottawa.

Jean Augustine

The Honourable Jean Augustine was born in Grenada, and arrived in Canada in 1960 on the Canada-Caribbean domestic worker scheme. She became an elementary school principal in Toronto, and served as president of the Congress of Black Women of Canada and as chair of the Toronto Housing Authority, among many others organizations. She holds a BA & MEd from the University of Toronto and honorary doctors of law from the universities of Toronto, McGill and Guelph.

In 1993, she became the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to Parliament, and was minister of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women. In March 2007, she was appointed as the first fairness commissioner for Ontario.

Elisapee Sheutiapik

Her Worship Elisapee Sheutiapik was raised and educated in Iqaluit, where she now serves as mayor. She is an avid sports enthusiast, a collector of arts and crafts and lapel pins, and the proud mother of two sons.

Since 1984, she has held various financial administration positions with the territorial governments (Northwest Territories and Nunavut) and with Nunavut’s Land Claim organization, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI).

Mayor Sheutiapik is the owner of the Grind & Brew, a local coffee specialty shop and catering service, managed with her partner, Brian Twerdin.

Mayor Sheutiapik first began serving on City Council in 2002. She is currently serving her third term as mayor of Iqaluit; she was elected in 2003, and was re-elected in 2006 and 2009. Mayor Sheutiapik was also recently elected as the vice-president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nunavut.

Mayor Sheutiapik served as the Nunavut Association of Municipalities’ (NAM) president from May 2006 to October 2008, and was re-elected to the position in August 2009. As NAM president, she serves as the Nunavut representative on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) board of directors, and also served as the FCM’s Northern Forum Caucus vice-chair for the 2006 and 2007 terms. As well, she was recently appointed by FCM as the vice-chair of the Standing Committee of Environment and Sustainable Development.

In addition, Mayor Sheutiapik is the president of Pauktuutit, a national Inuit women’s organization.

Belinda Stronach

The Honourable Belinda Stronach is a community, business and public leader who cares deeply about Canada and the broader issues of quality of life, both at home and abroad. In 2002, Ms. Stronach was ranked #2 by Fortune magazine in its list of the world’s most powerful women in business and was named one of Canada’s “Top 40 under 40,” an awards competition that honours the country’s top business innovators under the age of 40. In 2004, TIME magazine ranked her as one of the world’s 100 most influential people, and in 2005, the World Economic Forum named her a member of its network of global young leaders.

In 2008, she founded The Belinda Stronach Foundation, which is working to advance educational opportunities for young women and Aboriginal youth, and to improve the lives of young people in developing nations.

Allison Fisher

As the executive director of the award-winning Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, Allison Fisher has transformed the small, grassroots organization into a premier health clinic and vibrant cultural centre, making lifelong wellness a possibility for Aboriginal people in Ottawa.

In recognition of healthcare excellence, the Centre was given the Tommy Douglas Celebration of Medicare Award (2008) from the Association of Ontario Health Centres. Staying true to her vision of strong, vibrant Aboriginal communities, Ms. Fisher is committed to community initiatives.

Ms. Fisher’s achievements have earned her the Marion Dewar Defender of the Public Good Award (2008). In addition, Ms. Fisher and the Women of the Wabano won Debut Group of the Year at the 2007 Ninth Annual Native American Music Awards for their CD, Voices. This CD project is now a key fundraising initiative for Aboriginal children and youth services.

On May 6, 2010, the Quartier Vanier BIA presented Ms. Fisher with their President’s Recognition Award for her contributions to and investment in the improvement and well-being of their community. She was also presented by the Province of Ontario with the Leading Women Building Communities Award for her exceptional community leadership in improving the lives of women and girls in Ontario.

Francine Pelletier

A journalist for over 30 years, Francine Pelletier has worked in French and in English, in the digital press and in print media.

Her career led her from co-founding and serving as editor of a feminist magazine, La Vie en rose, to writing a weekly column in La Presse. She has also written for Le Devoir and The Gazette, L’Actualité, MacLean’s and Châtelaine, and she has contributed to the programs “Sunday Edition” on CTV, “The Editors” on PBS and “Morningside” on CBC Radio.

In 1993, she was a parliamentary correspondent in Quebec for “Le Point” on Radio-Canada television. Two years later, she joined the equivalent program, “The National Magazine” on the English network (CBC). She was then a reporter on and served as co-host of the public affairs program “the fifth estate” on CBC for five years.

In the spring of 2000, the one-hour documentary she wrote and co-directed on the École Polytechnique massacre for “the fifth estate,” Legacy of Pain, won two Gemini awards—Best Direction and Best Writing—as well as the Canadian Association of Journalists Award for best television journalism and, in 2001, the Best Human Relations Award at the New York Documentary Festival.

Ms. Pelletier has also won the Judith Jasmin Award (1990), the Prix René Lévesque (1995), the Gabriel Award (1996, USA), and a second Gemini award (1998) for Best Television Writing.

A writer and director of documentary films since 2001, she has directed, among others: Monsieur (2003), a documentary on Jacques Parizeau, former premier of Quebec; Baise Majesté (2004), a documentary series on women and sexuality; La Femme qui ne se voyait plus aller (2008), a documentary on Micheline Charest, former CEO of Cinar; and Mes Soeurs musulmanes (2009), a documentary on two veiled Muslim women in Montreal.

Alia Hogben

Alia Hogben is a social worker who has provided direct services to children and families. She has worked with the government of Ontario, supervising social service agencies which provide services for children, families, women who have been abused, and adults with developmental handicaps. Ms. Hogben has also taught at a community college.

She currently serves as executive director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW), which has educated and advocated for Canadian Muslim women nationally and internationally. As well, she writes a regular column for The Kingston Whig Standard on issues related to Islam, Muslims and women.

She has been honoured to speak at a number of international conferences, including at the United Nations in Geneva. She has visited many countries at the invitation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to share the Canadian experience with others.

Bonnie Diamond

Bonnie Diamond is co-chair of the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA). She participated in the lobby that secured gender equality provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, served as executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS), the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL), and MATCH International. She co-chaired the Task Force on Federally Sentenced Women, directed research for the Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women, and worked with women internationally through the Canada/China Women’s Law Project. She is a 2005 recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case.

Michael Kaufman

Michael Kaufman, PhD, is an educator and writer focused on involving men and boys in the promotion of gender equality and in putting an end to violence against women. He has worked in 45 countries, including extensively with the United Nations, as well as with numerous governments and NGOs. He is the co-founder of the White Ribbon Campaign, the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women. He has written or edited five books on gender issues, democracy and development studies, and is the author of an award-winning novel. His articles have been translated into 15 languages. Married with two children, he lives in Toronto.

Ms. Fanny Wylde

Fanny Wylde, born on April 4, 1981, in Amos, Quebec, grew up with her grandparents near the Algonquin community of Pikogan, in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Since a very tender age, Fanny dreamed of becoming a lawyer, as she believed that the best way to help her people would be to work through the justice system. Six days after giving birth to her son, she started her first session at the CÉGEP de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue; she later enrolled in a law degree program at Université du Québec à Montréal, and pursued her training with the Barreau du Québec. She officially became a lawyer on January 12, 2007, the first female lawyer in the history of the Algonquin People, and the first public prosecutor of the Couronne Autochtone du Québec. Ms. Wylde later worked for the Conseil de la Première Nation Abitibiwinni for a short time, and currently works for the Administration régionale crie, where she attempts to bring reform to the justice system and to implement new programs in the Quebec justice system for the benefit of the Cree Nation. In 2010 she had a second child, a daughter.

Shelagh Day

Shelagh Day is an expert on women’s human rights, and an author of articles and books on equality rights and anti-discrimination law. She has worked for the advancement of women for more than 40 years. She was a vice-president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, the first president of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, and a founder of the Court Challenges Program of Canada. Currently, she is a director of the Poverty and Human Rights Centre, the goal of which is to strengthen the human rights of the poorest women, and she is also the human rights chair for the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action. She is a 2008 recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case.

Louise Otis

Louise Otis is an active mediator at the national and international levels. She is also a deputy judge for the Administrative Tribunal of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

From 1993 to 2009, Ms. Otis was a judge for the Quebec Court of Appeal, where she developed a judicial mediation system that is used as a model around the world.

Ms. Otis regularly participates in international governance and justice reform missions. She has served as an expert consultant for justice reform in Haiti and Mali. She designed a model system of transitional justice to be used in cases of natural disasters or armed conflict.

She has helped a number of countries, including France, Belgium, Russia, Brazil, Australia and Mali, to establish judicial mediation systems.

In December 2006, Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary General, appointed her to a group of experts charged with redesigning the UN's administrative justice system.

Ms. Otis has headed countless mediations. She has published a number of articles and given lectures and training on negotiation and mediation on every continent.