A.A. Heaps on Jewish exclusion, January 1939

CCF MP A.A. Heaps on Canada's excluding Jewish refugees
As Hitler attacked the Jews in the 1930s many of them sought refuge in other countries, including Canada. This country turned them away. That was deeply painful to A. A. Heaps, a CCF MP from Winnipeg, who rose to criticize the government’s inaction. Heaps was one of the few Jewish Members of Parliament.

“Never have human beings been treated so barbarously” Continue reading A.A. Heaps on Jewish exclusion, January 1939

Arthur Meighen on military conscription, 1917

MP Arthur Meighen piloted conscription legislation through parliament in 1917

In 1917, there was a divisive debate in Canada over military compulsory conscription. It was led by Conservative cabinet minister Arthur Meighen, who had drafted the legislation. That bill became the centrepiece of  the bitterly contested “khaki election” which occurred in December 1917. The Conservatives won the election but divided the  country. Brilliant, opinionated, and incisive, Meighen was one of Canada’s great parliamentary orators. He entered the conscription debate on June 17, and attacked the aging Liberal leader Sir Wilfrid Laurier who wanted the legislation be deferred and put to a national referendum. Here is Meighen’s speech:

“A choice between fidelity and desertion”
Continue reading Arthur Meighen on military conscription, 1917

Nellie McClung on women and the vote, January 1914

Nellie McClung. Library and Archives Canada photo.
Nellie McClung agitated for women’s right to vote in Manitoba.

Activist Nellie McClung was prominent among those advocating for women to get the vote in Manitoba. When she and others met with Premier Rodmond Roblin in 1914, he flatly refused their request. The following evening that meeting was turned into a piece of guerrilla theatre. McClung played the premier’s role and mimicked his inflated rhetoric in a mock speech which she made to a fictitious group of men appearing before women legislators asking for the right to vote.

“Man was made for something higher than voting” Continue reading Nellie McClung on women and the vote, January 1914