Muriel McQueen Fergusson

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Hon. Muriel McQueen Fergusson, (1969?). UA PC 2; no. 109.

Muriel McQueen was born in Shediac, New Brunswick in 1899 and obtained a BA from Mount Allison University in 1921. She articled in her father's law firm and passed the New Brunswick bar exam in 1925. Although she gave up practising law upon her marriage to Aubrey Fergusson, her husband's subsequent ill health led to her return to legal work. Following her husband's death, Fergusson worked in a variety of positions within the federal civil service. In 1947, she was appointed Director of Family Allowances after successfully protesting the insertion of a "men only" qualification in the job description.

Fergusson served as the first woman city councillor in Fredericton and as the first woman Senator from Atlantic Canada. She became the first woman to serve as Speaker of the Canadian Senate. In addition to her professional career, Fergusson was an enthusiastic volunteer throughout her life. During a lifetime of public service, Murial McQueen Fergusson garnered numerous awards, including an honorary degree from UNB in 1969 and the Order of Canada in 1976. In recognition of her ardent and effective activism in improving the rights of women, the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation and the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research were both named in her honour.


  • Clark, Catherine. "For the Record." Daily Gleaner, 31 October 1984.
  • Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research website, biography of [Muriel McQueen Fergusson]
  • Ingram, Anne. "Her quiet tenacity founded new roles for women" in "Today's Woman", supplement to the Daily Gleaner, 11 July 1987.
  • [UNB Honorary Degrees Database]

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