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  1. Emily Murphy | The Canadian Encyclopedia

    www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/emily-murphy
    • Family
    • Author and Activist
    • First Woman Magistrate
    • The Black Candle
    • The Persons Case
    • Eugenics
    • Legacy

    Emily Murphy was born into a prominent Ontario family. She had relatives in business, politics and the law, including two Supreme Court justices. Her maternal grandfather was politician and newspaper owner Ogle R. Gowan. He founded the first Orange Orderlodge in Canada in 1830. Murphy therefore grew up in a family that frequently discussed legal and political matters. She attended the prestigious Bishop Strachan School, a private Anglican girls’ school in Toronto. While in Toronto, she met Arthur Murphy, a theology student whom she later married. Murphy moved west in 1903 to Swan River, Manitoba, with her husband, now an Anglican minister and entrepreneur, and their two daughters. In 1907, the family moved to Edmonton, Alberta.

    Emily Murphy was a prolific contributor of book reviews and articles to Canadian magazines and newspapers. She adopted the pen name Janey Canuck and published four very popular books of personal sketches: The Impressions of Janey Canuck Abroad (1901); Janey Canuck in the West (1910); Open Trails (1912); and Seeds of Pine (1914). Murphy combined family life, writing and a multitude of reform activities in the interests of women and children. This included women’s property rights. While travelling through the Alberta countryside, Murphy met a woman who had been abandoned by her husband; the man had sold their farm and left her without a home or money. Legally, the woman had no rights to the property. Incensed, Murphy began a campaign to protect women’s property rights. In 1915, the Alberta legislature passed the Married Woman’s Home Protection Act. This gave women the right to file a caveat; this prevented the transfer, mortgage or lease of a woman’s home without her consent. In 1917,...

    Emily Murphy's career took an unexpected turn in 1916. In March of that year, members of the Edmonton Local Council of Women tried to attend the trial of several women who had been arrested as prostitutes. The women were ejected from the court on the grounds that the testimony was “not fit for mixed company.” Murphy was outraged, and protested to the provincial Attorney General. “If the evidence is not fit to be heard in mixed company,” she argued, “then ... the government … [must] set up a special court presided over by women, to try other women.” To her surprise, the Minister agreed. He offered Murphy the post of presiding over such a court. Murphy accepted the offer. In 1916, she was appointed police magistrate for Edmonton and then Alberta. She was the first woman magistrate in the British Empire. Exposed to a succession of cases involving prostitution and juvenile offenders, she became an implacable opponent of narcotics. She blamed it for organized crimeand for victimizing the...

    The Black Candle (1922) by “Judge Murphy” was an expansion of articles published in Maclean's magazine describing in lurid detail the evils of the drug trade. Murphy’s exposé led to laws governing narcotics that remained unchanged until the late 1960s. In the book, Murphy discusses the involvement of Chinese, Assyrians, Greeks and “Negroes” in the drug trade. (See also Iranian Canadians; Black Canadians.) At the time, there was considerable concern about immigration, particularly Chinese immigration, in Western Canada. (See Chinese Head Tax in Canada.) Murphy’s comments likely reflected and contributed to these concerns. Scholars continue to debate Murphy’s beliefs about race and immigration. Some condemn her for racist and imperialviews. Others argue that her main concern was the drug trade itself and that any discussion of her beliefs should also consider the systemic (or widespread) racism of the time.

    Emily Murphy is best known as a suffragist, and particularly for her role in the famous Persons Case. On her first day as a magistrate, she was challenged by a lawyer; he asserted that as a woman she was not a person in the eyes of British law. At the time, women were not included in the definition of persons under the Constitution. This led Murphy to embark on a decade-long campaign to have women declared legal persons. In August 1927, she invited Henrietta Muir Edwards, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney and Nellie McClung to a meeting at her Edmonton home. Murphy had carefully drafted a petition to put before the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the interpretation of the word persons in the British North America Act(now called the Constitution Act, 1867). Murphy and the others signed the petition. Edwards’s signature appeared first; thus, the case was titled Edwards v. Attorney General of Canada. The petition asked the Supreme Court whether the word persons in Section 24 of the Briti...

    Like other members of the Famous Five, Emily Murphy has been criticized as being elitist and racist. In addition to her concerns about immigration, she also supported the eugenics movement. Eugenics was a pseudoscience that subscribed to the idea that the human population could be improved by controlling reproduction. Many influential Canadians, including J. S. Woodsworth, Dr. Clarence Hincks and Tommy Douglas, supported eugenic ideas in the early 1900s. (See also Tommy Douglas and Eugenics.) They promoted both “positive” eugenics (promoting the breeding of “fit” members of society) and “negative” eugenics (discouraging procreation by those considered “unfit”). Eugenicists argued that “mental defectives” and the “feeble-minded” were prone to alcoholism, promiscuity, mental illness, delinquency and criminal behaviour, and therefore posed a threat to the moral fabric of the community. These concerns led to increasing support for eugenic legislation, including the sterilization of “def...

    Emily Murphy was named a Person of National Historic Significance by the Government of Canada in 1958. In October 2009, 80 years after the Persons Case, the Senate voted to recognize the Famous Fiveas honorary senators. It was the first time the Senate had bestowed such a distinction. See also Women’s Movements in Canada; Status of Women; Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada; Council on the Status of Women; Women and the Law; Women’s Organizations.

  2. Emily Murphy's Famous Triumph | The Canadian Encyclopedia

    www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/emily-murphys...

    18/10/2013 · “I feel equal,” wrote Emily Murphy in 1927, “to high and splendid braveries.” By that point in her life, the 59-year-old native of Cookstown, Ontario, had earned the right to big ambitions: her achievements included turns as a successful writer ...

  3. Emily Murphy | l'Encyclopédie Canadienne

    www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/fr/article/emily-murphy
    • Famille
    • Carrière D’Écrivaine et militantisme
    • Première Femme Juge Au Pays
    • The Black Candle
    • Affaire « Personne »
    • Eugénisme
    • Patrimoine

    Emily Murphy est née dans une famille ontarienne bien en vue qui comptait plusieurs entrepreneurs, politiciens et juristes, dont deux juges de la Cour suprême. En 1830, son grand-père maternel, le politicien et propriétaire de journaux Ogle R. Gowan, fonde la première loge de l’ordre d’Orangeau Canada. Emily Murphy grandit donc entourée de personnes d’influence dans les milieux juridique et politique. Emily Murphy fréquente Bishop Strachan, une prestigieuse école privée anglicane pour filles à Toronto. C’est à cette époque qu’elle fait la connaissance de son futur époux, Arthur Murphy, alors étudiant en théologie. En 1903, Emily Murphy déménage dans l’Ouest canadien (à Swan River au Manitoba), avec son mari, désormais pasteur anglican et entrepreneur, et leurs deux filles. En 1907, la famille déménage à Edmonton, en Alberta.

    Emily Murphy collabore régulièrement à de nombreuses publications canadiennes en leur soumettant des critiques de livres et des articles, sous le nom de plume Janey Canuck. Elle publie quatre recueils de récits personnels qui connaîtront un succès fulgurant : The Impressions of Janey Canuck Abroad (1901), Janey Canuck in the West (1910), Open Trails (1912) et Seeds of Pine (1914). Emily Murphy concilie avec brio vie familiale, écriture et activités de réforme touchant les droits des femmes et des enfants, y compris le droit des femmes à la propriété. Alors qu’elle voyage dans les zones rurales de l’Alberta, Emily Murphy rencontre une femme abandonnée par son mari ; en effet celui-ci a décidé de vendre la ferme familiale et de partir en ne lui laissant ni argent ni foyer. Légalement, la femme n’a aucun droit sur la propriété. Indignée, Emily Murphy lance sa campagne pour la protection des droits à la propriété des femmes. En 1915, l’Assemblée albertaine vote la Married Woman’s Home P...

    La carrière d’Emily Murphy prend un tournant inattendu en mars 1916 lorsque les membres de l’Edmonton Local Council of Women, après avoir tenté d’assister au procès de femmes accusées de prostitution, se voient exclues de l’audience en raison de la nature des témoignages, jugée « inappropriée pour un auditoire mixte ». Outrée, Emily Murphy proteste auprès du procureur généralde la province. « Si les preuves ne peuvent être présentées devant un auditoire mixte, dit-elle, le gouvernement... [devra] former une cour spéciale présidée par des femmes pour la comparution d’autres femmes. » À sa grande surprise, le ministre accepte sa requête. Il lui propose même de présider la cour en question. Emily Murphy accepte la proposition. En 1916, elle est nommée magistrate de police pour la Ville d’Edmonton, puis pour la province d’Alberta. Elle devient ainsi la première femme magistrate de l’Empire britannique. Appelée à rendre des décisions dans une série d’affaires de prostitution et d’infract...

    The Black Candle, un ouvrage tiré d’une série d’articles publiés par « Judge Murphy » en 1922 dans la revue Maclean’s, décrit de façon très détaillée le trafic de drogue et ses effets néfastes. Les propos contenus dans The Black Candleont mené à l’adoption de nombreuses lois régissant le contrôle des stupéfiants, lois qui ne seront modifiées qu’à la fin des années 1960. Dans son livre, Emily Murphy décrit l’implication des Chinois, des Assyriens, des Grecs et des « Nègres » dans le trafic de drogue. (Voir aussi Canadiens iraniens; Canadiens noirs.) À l’époque, les commentaires d’Emily Murphy ont probablement contribué à alimenter les inquiétudes croissantes entourant l’immigration dans l’Ouest du Canada, plus particulièrement celle en provenance de Chine. (VoirTaxe d’entrée imposée aux immigrants chinois au Canada.) Dans les milieux universitaires, les opinions demeurent partagées quant à la position d’Emily Murphy en matière de race et d’immigration. En effet, à ceux qui la jugent...

    Emily Murphy est surtout connue pour son implication dans le mouvement des suffragettes, plus particulièrement dans la célèbre affaire « personne ». Dès son entrée en fonction en tant que magistrate, elle se heurte à un milieu hostile, en raison de la Constitutionde l’époque qui ne considère pas les femmes comme des personnes. Emily Murphy entreprend alors une lutte d’une décennie pour faire reconnaître les femmes civilement. En août 1927, elle invite Henrietta Muir Edwards, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney et Nellie McClung à une réunion chez elle à Edmonton. Emily Murphy a soigneusement rédigé une pétition à soumettre à la Cour suprême du Canada concernant l’interprétation du mot « personnes » dans l’Acte de l’Amérique du Nord britannique (aujourd’hui appelé Loi constitutionnelle de 1867). Emily Murphy et les autres signent la pétition. Comme la signature d’Edwards apparaît en premier, l’affaire est appelée Edwards c. le procureur général du Canada. La pétition demande à la Cour supr...

    Comme d’autres membres du groupe « Cinq femmes célèbres », Emily Murphy est accusée d’élitisme et de racisme. Très impliquée dans les questions d’immigration, elle défend aussi ardemment le mouvement eugénique. L’eugénisme est un principe pseudoscientifique selon lequel la population humaine peut être améliorée grâce à un meilleur contrôle de la reproduction. Au tournant du 20e siècle, les idées eugéniques ne manquent pas d’appui au sein de l’élite canadienne. En effet, des hommes d’influence tels que J. S. Woodsworth, Tommy Douglas et le Dr Clarence Hincks font la promotion de l’eugénisme au début des années 1900. (Voir aussi Tommy Douglas et l’eugénisme.) Ils défendent l’eugénisme « positif », qui encourage la reproduction des membres « sains » de la société, et de l’eugénisme « négatif », qui décourage la procréation parmi les membres de la société considérés comme « malsains ». Selon les eugénistes, les « déficients mentaux » et les « faibles d’esprit », de par leur prédispositi...

    Emily Murphy a été nommée personne d’importance historique nationale par le gouvernement du Canada en 1958. En octobre 2009, 80 ans après l’affaire « personne », le Sénat a voté pour reconnaître les Cinq femmes célèbrescomme sénatrices honoraires. C’était la première fois que le Sénat leur accordait une telle distinction. Voir aussi Mouvements de femmes au Canada; Condition féminine; Commission royale d’enquête sur la situation de la femme au Canada; Conseil du statut de la femme; Femmes et loi; Organisations féminines.

  4. Persons Case | The Canadian Encyclopedia

    www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/persons-case
    • Women, The Vote and Political Office
    • Persons in The BNA Act
    • The Famous Five Petition
    • Supreme Court Decision
    • Privy Council Decision
    • Significance

    By 1927, most Canadian women were able to vote in federal elections and in provincial elections (except in Quebec). Women first achieved the vote — and the right to hold political office — in Manitoba in January 1916. This was followed soon after by Saskatchewan (March 1916) and Alberta (April 1916). British Columbia and Ontario gave women the right to vote in April 1917. Nova Scotia followed suit in April 1918 and Prince Edward Island in May 1922. New Brunswick gave women the vote in April 1919; they gained the right to run for provincial office in March 1934. Only Quebec women could not vote in provincial elections in 1927; they had to wait until 1940 for that right. Newfoundland, which did not join Confederation until 1949, gave women the vote in April 1925. (See also Women’s Suffrage; Women’s Movements in Canada.) In May 1918, the majority of Canadian women over the age of 21 became eligible to vote in federal elections. The following year, they received the right to run for off...

    The British North America Act (BNA Act) of 1867 — now known as the Constitution Act, 1867 — was the law that created and governed the Dominion of Canada. According to Section 24 of the Act, only “qualified persons” could be appointed to the Senate: To be a “qualified person,” one had to be at least 30 years of age, own property worth at least $4,000, and reside in the province of their appointment. But the Act did not specify whether “persons” included women or not. In 1867, “person” was legally understood to refer only to men. Consequently, the Canadian government had since that time interpreted “persons” in Section 24 as including men only. The government held this position in 1922, when female activists in Alberta proposed Emily Murphy, Canada’s first woman judge, for a Senate position. Thousands across Canada (including the National Council of Women of Canada, the Federated Women’s Institutes and the Montreal Women’s Club) supported Murphy’s appointment. Many newspapersalso cham...

    According to Canadian legal scholar Sheryl Hamilton, five different governments from 1917 to 1927 suggested that although they would like to appoint a woman to the Senate, Section 24 of the BNA Act made it impossible. In 1923, Prime Minister Mackenzie Kingasked Senator Archibald McCoig to propose an amendment to the Act; but the proposal was never made. To activists, the government was using Section 24 of the BNA Act as an excuse for stalling. In August 1927, Emily Murphy invited four prominent women activists ( Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards) to her home in Edmonton. Her plan was to send a petition to the Canadian government regarding the interpretation of the word “persons” in the BNA Act. According to Section 60 of the Supreme Court Act, a group of five persons could petition the government to direct the Supreme Court to interpret a point of law in the BNA Act. On 27 August 1927, the Famous Five signed the letter, which was sent to the go...

    On 24 April 1928, the Supreme Court of Canada (Chief Justice Francis Alexander Anglin, Mr. Justice Lyman Duff, Mr. Justice Pierre-Basile Mignault, Mr. Justice John Lamont and Mr. Justice Robert Smith) ruled unanimously that women were not “persons” under Section 24 of the BNA Act. Women were therefore ineligible for appointment to the Senate. Their decision was based on the premise that the BNA Act had to be interpreted the same way in 1928 as in 1867, when the Act was passed. It was generally accepted that in 1867, “persons” would have included men only. This was supported by the fact that women could not hold political office at that time. Therefore, the justices argued, the BNA Actwould have specifically referred to women if they had intended an exception for Senate appointments.

    The Famous Five were disappointed, but not defeated. There was one higher authority to which they could appeal: the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, England. It was Canada’s highest court of appeal until 1949. After much deliberation, the Privy Council reversed the decision of the Supreme Courton 18 October 1929. It concluded that “the word ‘persons’ in sec. 24 does include women, and that women are eligible to be summoned to and become members of the Senate of Canada.” Lord Sankey, who delivered the judgement on behalf of the Privy Council, also remarked that the “exclusion of women from all public offices is a relic of days more barbarous than ours […] and to those who ask why the word [persons] should include females, the obvious answer is why should it not.” Furthermore, Sankey said: In 1867, Canadian women were unable by law to hold political office. However, the situation in 1929 was very different. Most women were able to vote and become candidates in all fe...

    On 15 February 1930, Cairine Wilson was sworn in as Canada’s first female senator. The implications of the Persons Case, and of Wilson’s appointment, were far-reaching. First, the Judicial Committee’s decision meant that women had been legally recognized as “persons.” This meant that women could no longer be denied rights based on narrow interpretations of the law. Second, women could now continue to work for greater rights and opportunities through the Senate as well as the House of Commons. The Persons Case was a significant moment in the history of women’s rights, even though the struggle for equality continues almost 100 years later. Since 1979, the Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case have been awarded annually to five individuals who have advanced the equality of women and girls in Canada. In 1999, the Women are Persons! monument was unveiled at the Olympic Plaza in Calgary, Alberta. A similar monument was installed on Parliament Hill in Ottawa the fo...

  5. Famous Five | The Canadian Encyclopedia

    www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/famous-5

    1/6/2006 · The group was led by judge Emily Murphy. It also included Henrietta Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby. Together, the five women had many years of active work in various campaigns for women’s rights dating back to the ...

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  7. Reformers & Activists | The Canadian Encyclopedia

    www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/browse/people/politics...

    Emily Murphy Emily Murphy (née Ferguson, pen name Janey Canuck), writer, journalist, magistrate, political and legal reformer (born 14 March 1868 in Cookstown, ON; died 27 October 1933 in Edmonton, AB). Emily Murphy was the first woman ...

  8. Le triomphe célèbre d'Emily Murphy | l'Encyclopédie Canadienne

    www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/fr/article/le-triomphe...

    18/10/2013 · Nellie McClung (à gauche), Emily Murphy (à droite) et Alice Jamieson (en mars 1916) sont les dirigeantes du mouvement féministe de l'Ouest canadien. La sculpture, « Les Cinq femmes célèbres », rend hommage aux cinq femmes célèbres : Nellie ...

  9. Status of Women | The Canadian Encyclopedia

    www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/status-of-women
    • French Colonization
    • The British Period, 1713-1914
    • 1914 to 1945
    • 1945 to The Present

    A few French women arrived in New France beginning in the early 1600s. Their numbers remained small until 1663, when young women of marriageable age, known as Filles du Roi, were given free passage to New France and provided with a dowry. The majority of women in the colony, including widows, were quickly married. They were expected to bear and raise children for the colony, to care for their homes, cook, sew and garden. Early French Canadian records also indicate that it was not unusual for women to own property, run inns, keep books and generally manage the family business (see communauté des biens). The resourcefulness and fortitude of these pioneers was exemplified by Agathe de Saint-Père, who took over the raising of 10 brothers and sisters when she was only 15 and continued her own business career after marrying at age 28. She had weaving looms installed in houses throughout Montréal and ran the cloth industry for 8 years until she retired and devoted herself to work at a Québ...

    The predominantly rural nature of the BNA before 1850 had implications for the position of women in society. Settlement was characterized by small independent landholdings and the labour of women was crucial to the survival of the economic unit (see homesteading). Census figures for the 19th century indicate that more than 90% of female children born in any decade between 1810 and 1870 eventually married. Married women and their children worked as a production unit on the farm in the area immediately surrounding the house and outbuildings. Women produced a great deal of the goods that their families required: they tended livestock, managed the garden, preserved fruit and vegetables, spun yarn, wove cloth and sewed clothing. Accounts of 19th-century writers like Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill describe some of the work of women during this century (see pioneer life). As the century progressed a number of trends converged to alter the traditional position of women in society....

    During WWI women were brought into the labour force as new jobs were created and as men left their jobs to join the armed forces. Most found familiar jobs as secretaries, clerks, typists and factory workers. For the first time, however, many women worked in heavy industry, particularly the munitions industry, where by 1917 there were 35 000 women employed in munitions factories in Ontario and Montréal. Most of the women who worked during the war were unmarried. Although their wages increased during the war years, they never equalled men's; in the munitions factories women's wages were 50-80% of those paid men. Despite the movement of women into a few new areas of the economy, domestic service remained the most common female occupation. The war effort increased women's political visibility. Women's organizations had supported the war effort by recruiting women to replace men in the domestic labour force and by collecting massive amounts of comforts for Canadian troops. A Women's War...

    After WWII women were expected and, in the case of federal government employees, required to relinquish their jobs to returning servicemen. The day nurseries were closed, many women returned to the home, often to have children, and by 1946 the rate of women's participation in the labour force had dropped to Depression levels. The patterns of married employment had been established, however, and married women began entering the labour force in such numbers that by the 1960s they made up one-third of the labour force and represented 55% of the labour-force growth. Despite their numbers, the earnings of working women continued to be significantly lower than those of men: in 1961 earnings of women employed full-time, year-round, were 59% of the earnings of men in the same categories; when part-time workers were added, women's wages dropped to 54% of men's. This phenomenon could be partially attributed to limitations in federal legislation governing equal pay and to a lack of enforcement...

  10. Irene Parlby | The Canadian Encyclopedia

    www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/mary-irene-parlby
    • Early Life
    • United Farm Women of Alberta
    • “Women’s Minister”
    • Women’s Rights Legislation
    • Persons Case
    • Eugenics
    • League of Nations
    • Later Life
    • Legacy

    Irene Marryat was the eldest child of Colonel Ernest Lindsay Marryat. Born and partly raised in London, England, Irene moved to India when she was 13; her father was stationed there. Irene was educated at exclusive schools in Switzerland and Germany. Despite her father’s suggestion and support, she did not study medicine. Instead, she was interested in writing and theatre. She travelled around Europe for a time. In 1896, she visited friends in Buffalo Lake, North-West Territories (later Alberta). Shortly after arriving, she met Walter Parlby, an Oxford graduate who had immigrated to Canada to join his brother, a farmer near the town of Alix, Alberta. Irene and Walter married in 1897. After settling into her new home in Alix, Irene Parlby found that she enjoyed farm life on the Prairies. Rural Canada was considerably different from her background. In 1899, Parlby gave birth to her son, Humphrey.

    Walter Parlby was involved with the United Farmers of Alberta(UFA). He was elected president of the Alix chapter in 1909. In 1913, Irene Parlby joined the Alix Country Women’s Club and was named its secretary. She said of her role there: “Little did I think as I accepted the position that I was taking the initial step that was going to plunge me into many years of public life, for which I had no ambition at all.” One of Parlby’s first initiatives with the Women’s Club was to establish a local library. It was made possible by donations from readers of the London Spectator. They had seen Parlby’s advertisement for books in the paper. In 1913, Irene Parlby organized the first women’s local of the UFA. She was elected president of the UFA Women’s Auxiliary in 1916. As president, Parlby was instrumental in transforming the auxiliary into an independent organization, the United Farm Women of Alberta (UFWA). In her new role, Parlby travelled the province. She called for better health care...

    The UFAtransformed into a political party in 1921. It sought to regulate the grain trade and opposed the privatization of transportation while also highlighting other concerns of the western province. Irene Parlby was nominated as a UFA candidate in the Lacombedistrict. She reportedly only agreed to run because she thought the UFA had little chance of success. Parlby described the ensuing campaign as “nasty.” She said that the “only thing which seemed to concern my opponents was that I am a woman — and worse, an Englishwoman who, although I came to Western Canada when it was still an undeveloped wilderness, could not possibly know anything about it!” On 18 July 1921, the UFA won a majority in the Alberta legislature, and Parlby was elected MLA for her district. Premier Herbert Greenfield appointed Irene Parlby to cabinet, making her the second woman in the British Empire to hold such a position. (The first was Mary Ellen Smith, elected to the British Columbia legislature a few month...

    As “Women’s Minister,” Irene Parlby sponsored successful legislation for a minimum wage for women, mothers’ allowance grants, and improvements to the Dower Act and the Official Guardian Act, among others. Parlby advocated for mobile dental and medical services as well as municipal hospitals. Not all of Parlby’s bills were successful, however. In 1925, she introduced the Community of Property Bill. It proposed that all property brought into a marriage by a woman, or acquired as an inheritance or gift, remain in her name. It also stipulated that all other property gained during the marriage would remain community property. The bill was considered too radical and failed. (See also Property Law.) Parlby had a positive reputation in politics. Nearly 20 laws concerning the welfare of women and children were passed during her time in public office. Some called Parlby the “Minister of Cooperation.”

    In August 1927, Emily Murphy, Canada’s first woman judge, invited Henrietta Edwards, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney and Nellie McClung to a meeting at her Edmonton home. Murphy had carefully drafted a petition to put before the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the interpretation of the word persons in the British North America Act(now called the Constitution Act, 1867). At the time, women were not included in the definition of persons under the Constitution. Murphy and the others signed the petition. Edwards’s signature appeared first; thus, the case was titled Edwards v. Attorney General of Canada. The petition asked the Supreme Court whether the word persons in Section 24 of the British North America Act, 1867 included women. If it considered women to be persons, the Constitution would allow for a woman to be appointed to the Senate. Handing down the judgment on 24 April 1928, the Supreme Court denied the petition. The women — first called the “Alberta Five” and later the “Famous...

    Like other members of the Famous Five, Irene Parlby has been criticized as being elitist and racist, and for supporting the eugenics movement. Eugenics was a pseudoscience that subscribed to the idea that the human population could be improved by controlling reproduction. Many influential Canadians, including J. S. Woodsworth, Dr. Clarence Hincks and Tommy Douglas, supported eugenic ideas in the early 1900s. (See also Tommy Douglas and Eugenics.) They promoted both “positive” eugenics (promoting the breeding of “fit” members of society) and “negative” eugenics (discouraging procreation by those considered “unfit”). Eugenicists argued that “mental defectives” and the “feeble-minded” were prone to alcoholism, promiscuity, mental illness, delinquency and criminal behaviour, and therefore posed a threat to the moral fabric of the community. These concerns led to increasing support for eugenic legislation, including the sterilization of “defectives.” Parlby supported the passing of eugen...

    In 1930, Prime Minister R.B. Bennett appointed Irene Parlby one of three Canadian delegates to the League of Nations meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. The League of Nations was instituted in 1919 after the First World War, with the goal of preventing war through negotiation, disarmament and collective security. The League was replaced by the United Nations after the Second World War.

    As elections approached in 1935, Irene Parlby declined to run for a fourth term in office. She settled back into the comfort of her home. She took care of family and continued to champion the betterment of women. In the same year, the University of Albertaawarded her an honorary Doctor of Laws for the many years she served on its board of governors. Parlby was the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Alberta.

    The Government of Canada recognized Irene Parlby as a Person of National Historic Significance in 1966. This was based on her role in the Persons Case, but also for her work as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and for her distinguished service in the fields of “education, social welfare, and legislative reform.” In October 2009, 80 years after the Persons Case, the Senate of Canada voted to recognize the Famous Fiveas honorary senators. It was the first time the Senate had bestowed such a distinction. See also National Council of Women of Canada; Women’s Movements in Canada; Status of Women; Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada; Council on the Status of Women; Women and the Law; Women’s Organizations.

  11. Louise McKinney | The Canadian Encyclopedia

    www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/louise-mckinney
    • Early Life
    • Woman’S Christian Temperance Union
    • Women’s Suffrage
    • First Woman Elected to A Canadian Legislature
    • United Church Lay Preacher
    • Famous Five and The Persons Case
    • Eugenics
    • Legacy

    Louise McKinney was born in the farming village of Frankville, Ontario. She was the sixth of 10 children in a strict Methodist family. A good student, McKinney dreamed of being a doctor, but circumstances did not permit. Instead, she attended Ottawa Normal School and trained to be a teacher. After seven years of teaching in Ontario schools, McKinney moved to North Dakota to live with her sister. McKinney found another teaching job in North Dakota and began to attend temperance meetings. She also became an organizer for the Women’s Christian Temperance Union(WCTU). Around this time, she met James McKinney, a fellow Ontarian and temperance activist. The two were soon married.

    The WCTU’s main objective was to protect the home from “evil” influences and to strengthen family life. Prohibition of alcohol and obtaining for women the right to vote were two of the WCTU’s ambitious goals. (See also Women’s Suffrage in Canada.) In 1903, Louise and James McKinney moved back to Canada to a homestead near Claresholm, North-West Territories. The area later became part of Alberta. As devout Christians, the pair wasted no time in building the village’s first church. McKinney also founded the local chapter of the WCTU. She went on to establish branches of the WCTU across Alberta and Saskatchewan. She helped open more than 40 chapters in less than a decade. McKinney not only organized WCTU events. She was also a popular public speaker who regularly took to the podium to discuss the evils of alcohol. She was also certain that one way to protect the family and make the world a better place was to give women the right to vote in federal elections. Moving through the WCTU ra...

    In 1888, the Dominion WCTU endorsed women’s suffrage in Canada. Gaining the right to vote would provide the means to shape society and its laws according to their vision. This included the enactment of prohibition. McKinney campaigned for the franchise alongside her peers in the WCTU. On 13 October 1911, at a WCTU convention in Calgary, McKinney said, “Women’s franchise means home protection. In this age it is no longer possible for women to protect their homes from within. They must go outside and the best way for her to accomplish this protection is by ballot.” On 19 April 1916, most women in Alberta won the right to vote and to hold provincial office. (First Nationswomen, however, did not obtain this provincial right until 1965.)

    Elections for the Alberta Legislature were held in 1917. Louise McKinney’s name was on the ballot. She accepted the nomination as the Non-Partisan League candidate, because the other major parties received backing from the liquor industry. (See also Political Party Financing.) Holding to her convictions, McKinney won her seat on a prohibitionplatform. McKinney was the first women to be elected to a Canadian legislature. On 7 June 1917, she won a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. She was also the first woman to be elected to a legislature in the British Empire. (See Commonwealth.) Another woman, Roberta MacAdams, a military nurse, was also elected in August 1917 as one of two Soldiers’ Representatives in the Alberta legislature. Both McKinney and MacAdams were sworn in on 7 February 1918. As a Member of the Legislative Assembly, McKinney broadened her agenda to include social welfare for immigrants and widows. Along with Henrietta Edwards, she helped bring about the Dower...

    Louise McKinney was deeply involved with her church. She served as an accredited lay preacher, superintendent of Sunday school and a leader in the Woman’s Missionary Society. Reverend George Webber, president of the Lord’s Day Alliance of Canada, said of McKinney: “In the pulpit her deep spiritual insight, her keen intellect, and her inspiring fervour combined to make her preaching ever welcome and fruitful.” Women’s rights were always at the forefront of McKinney’s actions. As a lay preacher, she made the case for women to become ministers in the Methodistchurch and later in the United Church. However, her proposals were not approved. In 1925, the Methodist Church, Presbyterian, Congregational and the General Council of the Local Union Churches were amalgamated into the United Church of Canada. McKinney was one of four women — among 346 men — who signed the religious union document.

    In August 1927, Emily Murphy, Canada’s first woman judge, invited Henrietta Edwards, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney and Nellie McClung to a meeting at her Edmonton home. Murphy had carefully drafted a petition to put before the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the interpretation of the word persons in the British North America Act(now called the Constitution Act, 1867). At the time, women were not included in the definition of persons under the Constitution. Murphy and the others signed the petition. Edwards’s signature appeared first; thus, the case was titled Edwards v. Attorney General of Canada. The petition asked the Supreme Court whether the word persons in Section 24 of the British North America Act, 1867 included women. If it considered women to be persons, the Constitution would allow for a woman to be appointed to the Senate. Handing down the judgment on 24 April 1928, the Supreme Court denied the petition. The women — first called the “Alberta Five” and later the “Famous...

    Like other members of the Famous Five, Louise McKinney has been criticized as being elitist and racist, and for supporting the eugenics movement. Eugenics was a pseudoscience that subscribed to the idea that the human population could be improved by controlling reproduction. Many influential Canadians, including J. S. Woodsworth, Dr. Clarence Hincks and Tommy Douglas, supported eugenic ideas in the early 1900s. ( See Tommy Douglas and Eugenics.) They promoted both “positive” eugenics (promoting the breeding of “fit” members of society) and “negative” eugenics (discouraging procreation by those considered “unfit”). Eugenicists argued that “mental defectives” and the “feeble-minded” were prone to alcoholism, promiscuity, mental illness, delinquency and criminal behaviour, and therefore posed a threat to the moral fabric of the community. These concerns led to increasing support for eugenic legislation, including the sterilization of “defectives.” Though her personal views on compulsor...

    A short time after she returned to her home in Claresholm, Alberta, from the World’s WCTU convention in Toronto, Louise McKinney fell ill. She died on 10 July 1931, at age 63. McKinney made an enduring mark in women’s rights and social welfare. In 1939, she was named a Person of National Historic Significance by the Government of Canada. In October 2009, 80 years after the Persons Case, the Senate voted to recognize the Famous Fiveas honorary senators. It was the first time the Senate had bestowed such a distinction. See also National Council of Women of Canada; Women’s Movements in Canada; Status of Women; Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada; Council on the Status of Women; Women and the Law; Women’s Organizations.

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