Michael Redhead Champagne to help choose which woman will be on banknote
Winnipeg indigenous activist picked to sit on Bank of Canada advisory committee
An indigenous anti-violence activist from Winnipeg is helping to choose which iconic Canadian woman will appear on a new banknote.
Michael Readhead Champagne, 28, is the founder of AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities). He is one of seven people picked by the Bank of Canada to sit on an advisory committee that includes Olympic hurdler Perdita Felicien and B.C. writer Gurjinder Basran.
"When I was initially approached, I was very hesitant, because I'm not a woman," Champagne said. "So I was very pleased when they told me that five of the seven panellists were indeed women."
The advisory committee has been given the task of creating a short list from women nominated by the public to appear on a new banknote. The women must be Canadian and must have died at least 25 years ago.
Women already nominated include activist Nellie McClung, Inuit artist Pitseolak Ashoona and Tekahionwake, the Mohawk poet also known as Pauline Johnson.
"Some of the women who we might be considering aren't necessarily as well-known as somebody such as Nellie McClung, but I would really like people to think realistically about who they think has made a lasting impact on Canada," Champagne said.
"And this gives us as citizens an opportunity to shout from the rooftops a thank you to someone for their contribution."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced on March 8, which is International Women's Day, that the image of an iconic Canadian woman will appear on the next issue of banknotes. Finance Minister Bill Morneau said it was one of the first things he discussed with the Bank of Canada when he assumed his post.
Nominations are open until April 15 and can be submitted at the Bank of Canada's website. After the advisory committee creates its short list, the final decision rests with the finance minister.
The new banknote will be revealed in late 2018.