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B.C. Women & the Vote

posted by: The Royal Hotel Chilliwack on: July 05, 2019 08:21:51 PM
“I am a believer in women, in their ability to do things and in their influence and power. Women set the standards for the world, and it is for us, women in Canada, to set the standards high.”
Canada Day celebrations were held across our beautiful country a few days ago, in cities and towns on the east coast to the west, from northern communities to our southernmost border – and every point in between. During our local festivities I took the time to reflect on what it means to be Canadian.

Blog author dressed as a Suffragette for Canada Day 2019.
image credit: Royal Hotel

How fortunate we are to have the freedom to express ourselves, to speak our truths, to worship (or not) as we choose, to live wherever in Canada that suits us – and we enjoy the right to take part in political activities within a democratic government system. These rights were established when the “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms” became part of Canada’s 1982 Constitution Act.

But this has not always been the case. In 1917 Caucasian women in B.C. were finally granted to right to vote in elections – but it was not until the Provincial Elections Act of 1949 that this right was extended to those BC residents of Japanese or Indigenous heritage. And in 1960 Indigenous people could finally vote federally.

In Canada women followed the lead of their sister suffragettes in Britain and the U.S. by organizing protests for the right to vote. The suffragettes were closely tied with the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union who believed alcohol was the root of all social problems including unemployment, poverty, violence and immorality and they felt that the only way to effect change was through alcohol prohibition. And these women realized getting the vote was the necessary approach to bring about this outcome.

Canadian Suffragette, Nellie McClung visits Chilliwack
Chilliwack Progress, Jan. 20, 1916

For more information about the history of the women’s vote, check out these links:
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