Throughout her career in Canadian politics as a parliamentarian and senator, Sheila Finestone fought for human rights. Finestone graduated from McGill University in 1947 and began volunteering in the Jewish community, which led to her helping create Project Genesis, a legal aid and social services center for seniors that now has offices in Canada, Israel, Jordan, and Ramallah. As president of the Quebec Federation of Women from 1977–1980, she organized the 1980 Yvette Rally of Women that was instrumental in keeping Quebec as part of Canada. She served in the Canadian Parliament from 1984–1999, where she chaired the committees on Official Languages and Human Rights and was a member of the committees on Culture and Status of Women. During this time she spearheaded a number of policies to help minorities, women, and vulnerable populations including children and the elderly, and helped defend individual rights to privacy in the digital age. Finestone also served as one of the twelve members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s World Executive and in 1987 founded the IPU’s Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians. In 1999 she briefly became a senator, stepping down in 2002 at the mandatory retirement age.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Sheila Finestone." (Viewed on May 23, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/finestone-sheila>.