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† Jean Casselman Wadds (1920–2011)

Jean Casselman Wadds was the first woman to be elected to the Canadian House of Commons to fill the seat of her husband Azra, who had held the seat from 1921 until his death in 1958. When elected she joined her father, the Hon. Earl Rowe, as the first-ever father-daughter team to serve in the House of Commons. She held the seat for ten more years. In 1961 she became the first Canadian woman to be appointed by the Canadian government as a delegate to the United Nations, and during her decade in the House of Commons she became the first woman in Canadian history to be appointed as a parliamentary secretary. Her most famous first, however, came in 1979 when she was the first Canadian woman to be appointed Canadian High Commissioner to Britain. Mrs. Wadds was appointed for two consecutive terms, the first by the Progressive Conservatives and the second by the Liberals. P. E. Trudeau in his Memoirs said, “I always say that it was thanks to three women that we were eventually able to reform our constitution—the Queen, who was favorable; Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister, who undertook to do everything that our Parliament asked of her; and Jean Wadds, who represented the interests of Canada so well in London.”