This Week in History
Canada's First Female MP
For the week of Monday March 22, 2004
On March 24, 1890, Agnes Campbell Macphail was born in a small log cabin in Grey County, Ontario. Known for her intelligence, quick wit and sharp tongue, Agnes led an active life and dreamed of a career as a schoolteacher. As debates with men on government policies opened her eyes, she turned towards a career in politics.
Agnes quickly proved she was a strong woman capable of representing the voters. She devoted her early political career to the plight of rural farmers and engrossed herself in political organizations such as the United Farmers of Ontario. She briefly sat as a member of the Progressive Party before becoming an independent MP. Agnes was outspoken in the cause of peace, disarmament, penal reform and equal rights. She was also the first woman appointed to the Disarmament Committee of the League of Nations.
On February 11, 1954, Agnes Macphail suffered a heart attack in Toronto. She died before the announcement of her appointment to the Canadian Senate. Men and women all over Canada mourned the vivacious and outspoken former MP – privately and in print. For her role as the first female Member of Parliament, Agnes Campbell Macphail was designated a person of national historic significance in 1985.
- Date Modified: