Louise McKinney (1868 - 1931)
Louise McKinney believed that the purpose of a woman’s life was exactly the same as a man’s: to make the best contribution possible to her generation. She was the first woman ever elected to a Canadian legislature and, for that matter, in the entire British Empire. She was a determined, outspoken member of the Famous Five.
- McKinney started her working career as a school teacher.
- She played a key role in the fight for women to get the right to vote, which they obtained in Alberta in 1916.
- She was elected to the Alberta Legislative Assembly in 1917 at the same time as Roberta MacAdams. McKinney was sworn in first, so she gets the honour of being the first woman elected to government in Canada.
- She was a member of the Famous Five, a group of women who successfully petitioned the Supreme Court of Canada to determine whether women were “persons” under the British North American Act.
- McKinney championed the rights of immigrants, widows, separated women, and the disabled. Her efforts led to the passing of a bill that gave a woman the right to prevent the sale or mortgage of her home without her knowledge. In 1925, she was one of four women who signed the Basis of Union, which formed the United Church of Canada.
- In recognition of her work with the Famous Five, McKinney was made a World Vice-President of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE).