‘Famous Five’ statue unveiled at legislature

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Nellie McClung returned to the Manitoba legislature today, almost 100 years after she was last there arguing for women to get the right to vote.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/06/2010 (4486 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Nellie McClung returned to the Manitoba legislature today, almost 100 years after she was last there arguing for women to get the right to vote.

The statue, situated on the west side of the legislative grounds, depicts McClung and the rest of the "Famous Five" signing the petition to fight for Canadian women to be recognized as persons.

Marcia McClung, Nellie’s granddaughter, said her grandmother would have been honoured by the statue. "She was very much a team player. She gathere around her women who believed what she believed. That’s what this shows," she said.

RUTH.BONNEVILLE@FREEPRESS.MB.CA A statue of Nellie McClung and the 'Famous Five' who fought for women's suffrage was unveiled at the Manitoba Legislature Friday morning. Sculptor Helen Granger Young (far left) Mayor Sam Katz (right), Nellie McClung's granddaughter Marcia McClung and many other dignitaries and Winnipegers helped celebrate the occasion.

The statue of the five women – McClung, Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Irene Parlby, and Louise McKinney – was produced by local sculptor Helen Granger-Young, who also did the bust of McClung that sits in the Citizens Hall of Fame in Assiniboine Park and in Manitou, the community where her family settled when they moved to Manitoba from Ontario and where she met her future husband.

McClung devoted a large part of her life to bringing the vote to women. Her arguments to give women the vote were rebuffed by then premier Rodmond Roblin in 1914.

McClung, with other suffragettes, then put on a satirical play entitled The Women’s Parliament at the venue now known as the Burton Cummings Theatre. It has been called the defining moment in the suffrage debate in the country and McClung, then 41, played the premier.

Roblin’s government was defeated the next year and the governing Liberals gave women the right to vote in 1916.

But by then, McClung and her family had moved to Alberta where she was later elected a Liberal MLA.

McClung was also one of the Famous Five who successfully petitioned for women to be included in the definition of person in the British North American Act.

For her efforts for women, McClung was named as one of the province’s Greatest Manitobans in a survey the Free Press conducted in 2008. That same competition picked Roblin’s grandson, former premier Duff Roblin, as the Greatest Manitoban.
 

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