This Week in History
A Person of Principle
For the week of Monday April 10, 2006
On April 14, 1917, Louise Crummy McKinney became the first woman to be sworn into the Alberta Legislative Assembly, and one of the first two women elected to a legislature in Canada and in all of the British Empire.
McKinney was a candidate in the Alberta general elections of 1917; this was the first time that women were allowed to vote in this province. She ran as a candidate for the Non‑Partisan League on a prohibition ticket, believing that the alcoholic beverages industry influenced and controlled most political parties through funding. She won and became the first women elected to the Alberta Legislative Assembly. During her term, which lasted until 1921, she helped implement social programs for immigrants, widows (such as the Dower Act), separated women and other oppressed groups in society. However, because of the ineffectiveness of the prohibition law, which had been in effect since 1915, her main issue was always the fight for stricter liquor control laws.
Louise McKinney died on July 10, 1931, in Claresholm, the riding she had proudly represented. This pioneer, leader, suffragette and prohibitionist was designated as a national historic person in 1939 for her political and social initiatives that helped shape Canadian society.
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