Cairine Wilson, Canada’s first female senator, was one of nine children raised in an atmosphere of rugged Scots liberalism and strict presbyterianism by affluent Montreal parents in the late nineteenth century. She displayed an interest in politics early in life and through her father’s position in the Senate, was befriended by many notable politicians of the period, including Sir Wilfrid Laurier, an experience that left a permanent mark on her. Her appointment to the Senate in 1930 was a historic and controversial event, and launched a political career rife with passion, commitment, and reform. Wilson, whose work on behalf of refugees and the world’s needy was legendary, served in the Senate through some of the stormiest years in Canadian government history. First Person is an engaging account of a colourful and powerful politician; a fighter whose efforts were recognized by the highest officials in the land, and whose sculpted image adorns the foyer of the Canadian Senate.
Valerie Knowles is an Ottawa-based journalist with magazine and newspaper experience. First Person is her first book with Dundurn Press.
Valerie Knowles has written an absorbing biography of Wilson and the times in which she lived. The study is thorough but not pedantic, and rich in detail and interpretation.