Panel to help shorten list of female nominees for 2018 Canadian banknote

The Bank of Canada has appointed a group of people to develop a short list of Canadian women whose images could appear on a new banknote in 2018.

OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada has appointed a group of people to develop a short list of Canadian women whose images could appear on a new banknote in 2018.

In announcing the panel Monday, the bank said it has received more than 18,000 submissions since issuing a public call for nominations last month. Those responses include the names of about 120 different women.

The advisory council will narrow the list to between 10 and 12 nominees and survey Canadians on those names. From there, the advisers will listen to expert advice as they trim the list further, to between three and five women.

Bank governor Stephen Poloz and Finance Minister Bill Morneau will discuss the final candidates, with Morneau making the ultimate call.

Poloz and Carolyn Wilkins, the bank’s senior deputy governor, announced the council on Monday at an Ottawa elementary school named after astronaut Roberta Bondar.

“Banknotes aren’t really just money — I like to think of them as being little pieces of art that tell Canada’s story,” Wilkins told students.

“We want the banknotes to be inspiring.”

The council members are: writer Gurjinder Basran Michael Redhead Champagne, youth activist and founder of AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities) Margaret Conrad, professor emerita, University of New Brunswick Francine Descarries, sociology professor, Universite du Quebec a Montreal Perdita Felicien, world champion hurdler Merna Forster, historian and author Dominic Giroux, president and vice-chancellor, Laurentian University.

Only one woman has been featured on the currency since the Bank of Canada started designing and producing notes in 1937: the Queen.

“It’s 2016 — it’s way, way overdue for this,” said Felicien, a former Olympian.

“I think that person has to be of the highest integrity — I think she has to be a woman that all Canadians can find inspiration from.

“I really love trailblazers and people who create their own path, so that’s one of the things I hope Canadians look for.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last month that a woman would be featured on the next issue of banknotes due out in 2018.

Candidates must be Canadian women who have shown outstanding leadership, achievement or distinction in any field, benefiting the people of Canada, or in the service of the country. No fictional characters are allowed and nominees must have been dead for at least 25 years.

Members of the public can suggest candidates on the bank’s website until April 15.

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