One of the bills put forward in January at Laurentian University's annual Model Parliament urged the Bank of Canada to add some diversity to who appears on the country's bank notes.
Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced just that — a new bank note featuring an iconic Canadian woman will be issued in late 2018.
Canadians have been invited to nominate deserving woman, and so far more than 18,000 nominations have been made — that includes notable names such as Emily Carr, Nellie McClung, Lucy Maud Montgomery and Mary Pickford.
This week, a seven-member advisory council that will help draw up a short list was named, and Laurentian president Dominic Giroux is among their ranks. Morneau will make the ultimate decision on who will appear on the bank note.
“After the announcement, the first reactions were from the Laurentian students who were active in the Model Parliament,” Giroux said.
“They were excited that only a few months after their own debate in the House of Commons, the president of their university was asked to be part of the selection process, and their voice had been heard.”
Other members of the panel are writer Gurjinder Basran, youth activist and founder of Aboriginal Youth Opportunities Michael Redhead Champagne, University of New Brunswick professor emerita Margaret Conrad, Universite de Quebec a Montreal sociology professor Francine Descarries, world champion hurdler Perdita Felicien and historian and author Merna Foster.
Giroux said he's often asked to sit on national panels, and most of the time he has to decline these offers. But he said he felt it was important to accept this invitation.
“I'm very honoured, honestly,” he said. “The reason I was pleased to be considered for this role is that it is an outstanding opportunity to celebrate Canada's diversity and to celebrate the impact of women in this country.”
Until April 15, Canadians can submit nominations on the Bank of Canada's website.
“The nominee can be any female Canadian by birth or naturalization, who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement or distinction in any field, benefitting the people of Canada or in the service of Canada,” Giroux said.
“They must have been deceased for at least 25 years, and they can't be a fictional character.”