Documents of Quebec History / Documents de l'histoire du Québec
Women's Right to Vote in Quebec
Le droit de vote des femmes du Québec
A series of 10 articles published by the Montreal Herald promoting the right to vote for the women of Quebec (February 17 to February 30, 1930) These article were published in both French and English.
When a candidate for election to the Legislative Assembly at Quebec cries from a platform that he is the representative of the people, he is stating what is not true. He can represent only a section of the people.
Quebec disenfranchises its women.
Persistent denial of the vote in provincial affairs to the women of Quebec is so utterly without reason that people who are unfamiliar with the stubbornly reactionary spirit which moves a certain powerful political group in this province, are amazed when they first discover that such a situation exists.
Women educators, lawyers, magistrates, legislators, social workers coming into this province from Europe and the United States find it difficult to comprehend a situation in a civilized community in A. D. 1930, which denies to its women, not only freedom to practice the liberal professions, but the bare equality which is expressed in the ballot.
They expect such conditions among the savage tribes of Africa, the ancestor worshippers of China, or the submerged natives of India. Certainly they do not anticipate the perpetuation of such discarded ideas of male domination in the modern, progressive and otherwise alert, Canadian province of Quebec.
Supporters of the movement which seeks to grant to Quebec women the privilege of the provincial franchise which is held by the women of every other Canadian province, maintain that the lack of feminine suffrage in Quebec is a definite hindrance to progress.
Other communities, not only in Canada, but all over the world, have proved by experience that women have a large and clearly defined contribution to make to the national and provincial well-being, — if they are permitted to make it.
That political clique which is determined to deprive Quebec women of their rightful place in the community scheme is deliberately inflicting upon this province a detriment which Quebec should not be required to suffer.
History, during the past quarter of a century has shown that women, relieved by the inventions of modern machinery of the drudgery inherent in home management through past centuries, are capable of independent thought, of intelligent action, and of creative ideas, equal in most circumstances to those of men, and in certain lines of endeavour, superior.
All over the world, except in Quebec, the feminine intelligence is being employed by national and provincial and municipal administrations to forward legislation which seeks to relieve unhealthy conditions in the community. This is especially true of social, educational, and health conditions.
Perhaps it is the mother instinct with which every normal woman is divinely blessed. Whatever it is, there can be no question, in the light of experience in other parts of the world but that womanhood, everywhere, is a distinct and positive factor in modern progress.
Quebec disenfranchises its women.
Quebec has the least effective social legislation of all Canadian provinces.
In matters of rural education, housing, public health, pre-natal clinics, pensions for mothers and the aged, working conditions for women, and child marriage, Quebec lags far behind other modern civilized communities.
Quebec is the last remaining Christian civilized community which legalizes the marriage of a girl of twelve years of age. In such a marriage the mother has no authority. The father has the entire jurisdiction.
Were Quebec women to be granted the franchise, as the women of every other Canadian province have been granted the franchise, these conditions, admittedly evil, would not long continue.
Male voters are not especially interested in such matters. Women voters are intensely concerned over them.
That is why we say that Quebec does itself an injury by refusing the ballot to Quebec women.
Source : “Should Women Vote?” The Montreal Herald, February 24, 1930, p. 3. Articles transcribed by Christina Duong. Revision by Claude Bélanger
© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College