The savvy campaign that changed Canada
OTTAWA — “We were young and vigorous and full of ambition. We would rewrite our history. We would copy no other country. We would be ourselves, and proud of it.’’ — Nellie McClung. It was the kind of savvy political strategy that politicians and lobbyists attempt to craft today: Stitch together a coalition of supporters from diverse communities, secure financial backers, mount a successful ad campaign, and earn some positive media coverage. A group of women in Manitoba used it to win the right to vote a century ago. The province was the first place in Canada to bring in women’s suffrage, on Jan. 28, 1916. That triggered a wave of changes — first in Western Canada and finally at the federal level in 1919. Indigenous people, it should be noted, did not get the vote federally until 1960.