Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
November 2008

Documents de l’histoire du Québec / Quebec History Documents


The Right of Widows to Vote



That Mrs. widow Laperrière did tender to Mr. Scott, Returning Officer, her vote, under oath, which Mr. Scott did refuse to take and enregister . . . . That the Petitioners saw with extreme concern and alarm this refusal to take a vote tendered under oath . . . That the Petitioners represent . . . that as the votes of the Widows were not taken, the return of Mr. Stuart is void, inasmuch as the free choice of all the electors was not made known.

That the Petitioners may presume to trouble the House with the reasons which they deem conclusive as to the right of Widows to vote; neither in men nor women can the right to vote be a natural right; it is given by enactment. The only questions are whether women could exercise that right well and advantageously for the State, and whether they are entitled to it. That the Petitioners have not learned that there exist any imperfections in the minds of women which place them lower than men in intellectual power, or which would make it more dangerous to entrust them with the exercise of the elective franchise than with the exercise of the numerous other rights which the law has already given them. That in point of fact women duly qualified have hitherto been allowed to exercise the right in question. That the Petitioners conceive that women are fairly entitled to the right if they can exercise it well. That property and not persons is the basis of representation . . . That the paying certain taxes to the State is also a basis of representation; for it is a principle contended for by the best Statesmen of England that there can be "no taxation without representation" . . . . That it would be impolitic and tyrannical to circumscribe her efforts in society -- to say that she shall not have the strongest interest in the fate of her country, and the security of her common rights.

Source: Petitioners to the House of Assembly, Lower Canada, 1828. From Margaret Fairley, Spirit of Canadian Democracy, Toronto, Progress Books, 1944 (?), 319p., pp. 62-63.

© 2008 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College