The Speaker of the Senate of Canada plays an important role in facilitating the conduct of business within the Chamber and is responsible for ruling on all questions which are raised with regard to parliamentary procedures in the Chamber, or the rights and immunities of the Senate, or of individual senators as they carry out their duties.
There have been 46 Speakers of the Senate since 1867 of which two were women.
Muriel McQueen Fergusson
- Born in Shediac, New Brunswick in 1899; died in 1997.
- Admitted to the bar of New Brunswick in 1925.
- Was elected the first woman alderman in 1950.
- Became a senator in 1953; was known to work tirelessly for women’s rights and poverty.
- First woman Speaker of the Senate or the House of Commons in 1972.
- Served in this role from 1972 to 1974.
- Appointed to the Order of Canada in 1976.
- Born in the Eastern Townships, Quebec in 1912; died in 2002.
- Studied music, literature, languages and sociology.
- Worked as a journalist.
- First woman to work as a news reporter for La Presse in Montreal in 1959.
- Became a senator in 1971; her interests were Senate reform, old age security, bilingualism and the United Nations.
- Second woman Speaker of the Senate or the House of Commons in 1974; first woman francophone.
- Served in this role from 1974 to 1979.
- Appointed to the Order of Canada in 1989.