On the east side of Parliament Hill in Ottawa are bronze statuesoffive Alberta women who fought for women tobe declared persons under the law.
Although the Supreme Court of
Canada ruled unanimously in 1928
that women were not persons, a
judicial committee in Britain overturned the ruling in 1929.
The bronze monument depicts
Nellie McClung holding up a newspaper that reads, “Women Are Persons!” Edmonton sculptor Barbara
Paterson has portrayed the other
four in plain period dress looking on
in celebration, two standing and two
sitting down to tea.
One of the tea drinkers – Louise
McKinney – was the first woman
elected to any legislature in the
British Empire. In addition to help-
Women’s Christian Temperance
Union soldiers on
This section of a monument in Ottawa depicts Nellie McClung, a member of the WCTU, celebrating the Oct. 18, 1929 ruling that “Women are persons.”
ing secure women’s right to vote,
she and McClung were also active
members of the Women’s Christian
Temperance Union (WCTU), cam-
paigning to restrict alcohol sales.
McKinney is shown wearing a
white ribbon. Though ribbon cam-
paigns in various colours are com-
mon now for everything from fight-
ing AIDS to breast cancer, it was the
Canadian WCTU which launched
the first such campaign in Owen
Despite reduced membership
message of self-restraint as
relevant as ever BY DEBORAH GYAPONG