Women of Interest – Ellen Fairclough

Ellen Fairclough, (1905-2004) was the first female to serve in the Canadian Federal Cabinet. She was born in Hamilton Ontario and before entering politics she was trained as an accountant. Fairclough ran for federal office as a Progressive Conservative in 1949, but was defeated. She ran again the following year and won the by-election. During her term in office Fairclough actively advocated for women’s issues. In 1958 she became the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration where she introduced new regulations which resulted in a total reform of the government’s “White Canada? immigration policy. As a result of a more liberal policy on refugees, additional immigrants were allowed to enter Canada. From February 19 to February 20, 1958 Fairclough was the first woman ever to be entrusted with the position of acting Prime Minister. Further information on Ellen Fairclough is at the following websites:


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