“Women Of The Province Are Given The Vote” – A News Article in the Winnipeg Free Press
Women of the Province are Given the Vote
Suffrage Bill Gets Third Reading Amid Scene of Unparalleled Enthusiasm
Men and Women in Galleries Historic Occasion Singing “O Canada”
Acting Premier Makes Important Statement Regarding Election of Females to the Legislature
Amid scenes of unparalleled enthusiasm the bill to amend the Manitoba Election act so as to give the suffrage to women of the province on the same terms as men was passed at the legislature yesterday afternoon. When the third reading had been duly and formally given, the men who were also wedged into the galleries and the members on the floor of the house stood up while the fab soprano of hundred of female threats who sang “O Canada.”
After the singing of this anthem the ladies with much fervor, took to the rollicking strain of “They’re Jolly Good Fellows.” In complement to the members of the house, who modestly sat down. But as soon as the last note had been sounded the members sprang to their feet and not to be outdone in courtesy sang in return “They’re (meaning the ladies”) Jolly Good Fellows.” The vocal harmony emitted by the members of the house was a revelator, and if anything, they had an advantage over the women in the (?) of verve and melody.
No previous scene in the history of the house presents a parallel to that of yesterday. Hon. Valentine Winkler, minister of agriculture, who is the oldest sitting member of the house says that never before was there anything like it. For the first time in the history of the house women were invited to a place on the floor of the chamber during a regular sitting. These women so honored were members of the Political Equality League who were largely instrumental in the more than successful carrying out of the conditions prescribed by the government in the way of securing signatures from the women of the province to a petition praying for the suffrage. They were Dr. Mary Crawford, Miss Frances Beynon, Mrs. F.J. Dixon, Mrs. A.W. Pattee, Mrs. Ireland, Mrs. Luther Holling, and Mrs. James Munroe.
The routine of the third reading was conducted with much dispatch. The waiting women was not subjected to any tedious delay by long procedure. Everything went with a snap (?).
In the absence of Premier Norris, the minister of public works, Hon. T.H. Johnson, as acting premier moved that the house go into committee of the whole to consider the bill. Speaker Baird promptly asked Col. Clingan, the member for Virden, to take the chair. The Intter, clad in his khaki uniform, strode to the table, and in a few crisp sentences asked for the passage by committee of the few clauses of the short yet potent measure. The preamble and the title were passed, and before barely five minutes had elapsed the member for Virden presented the report to the speaker.
“The bill is reported without amendment, Mr. Speaker. God save the king,” said Col. Clingan.
The stage of the historic occasion was greeted with cheers on the door of the house and in the galleries.
On rising to move the third reading, Hon. T. H. Johson was greeted with applause. He delivered an earnest and eloquent speech, declaring that the ordinary rule of the house to pass third readings without discussion did not seem appropriate on such a momentous occasion. He dealt (?) on the stupendous importance of Manitoba’s action in being the first Canadian province to enfranchise women and predicted that other provinces would eventually follow and that at last the principal would be recognized by federal legislation. The minister declared that Jan. 27. 1916 would remain a milestone in the life of the province.
Following in the speech of the minister, several speeches were made by members of the house. These were mostly of a happy nature, and in all but one the granting of the suffrage to women was halted as enlightened legislation bound to react beneficially on the province. The exception was the speech Joseph Hamelin, Conservative member of Ste. Rose, who courageously stood up and declared that while he wished the women well in their sphere he and his doubts of the wisdom of the legislation. Mr. Hamelin declared that holding such views he would feel himself a coward if he did not express them, He then said granting of the vote to women and their
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Description: This article appeared in the January 28, 1916 issue of the Manitoba Free Press (now Winnipeg Free Press) profiling the mock parliament. The article is called “Women Of The Province Are Given The Vote.”
Credit: Winnipeg Free Press, January 28, 1916; reproduced with permission.