Trail-blaz­ing women

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL News Staff

Thirty-five years ago this month, the for­mer Lan­caster Vil­lage made his­tory when Dorothy Per­rier was named reeve.

Mrs. Per­rier was the first fe­male to hold the ti­tle in the then-133-year his­tory of the United Coun­ties of Stor­mont, Dun­das and Glen­garry.

First elected to vil­lage coun­cil in 1971, Mrs. Per­rier be­came reeve a dozen years later fol­low­ing the death of Reeve Wil­liam Cum­ming on Feb. 17, 1983.

She car­ried out the du­ties of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity as act­ing reeve fol­low­ing Mr. Cum­ming’s death be­fore be­ing ap­pointed to the seat on a full-time ba­sis in early March. Ac­cord­ing to a story on the front page of the March 9, 1983 edi­tion of

The News, Mrs. Per­rier was a “co­op­er­a­tive and en­thu­si­as­tic part of the mu­nic­i­pal force that brought many im­prove­ments to the vil­lage,” in­clud­ing water and waste­water ser­vices, road resur­fac­ing, street light­ing, and a num­ber of projects with neigh­bour­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Mrs. Per­rier, who died in 1993 at the age of 75, came by her in­ter­est in com­mu­nity ser­vice hon­estly.

Her fa­ther, John­nie Wil­lie Ma­cLeod, was coun­cil­lor, deputy-reeve and reeve of the for­mer Lochiel Town­ship over a 23-year ca­reer in mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics dur­ing the 1940s and ‘50s.

Mrs. Per­rier told The News in 1983 that she’d had a life­long in­ter­est in “all lev­els of pol­i­tics. I find it sat­is­fy­ing and re­ally en­joy it.”

She added that “no one works alone,” thank­ing Mr. Cum­ming for “prepar­ing me for this,” and point­ing out that she would “have a highly depend­able (mu­nic­i­pal) clerk in Ian MacDonald” to help out dur­ing her time in of­fice.

With her ap­point­ment as reeve, Mrs. Per­rier – the mother-in-law of cur­rent North Glen­garry mayor Chris McDonell – also laid the ground­work for a num­ber of lo­cal women who would later go on to hold that po­si­tion in their re­spec­tive mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Jen­nifer Charbonnea­u served as Lan­caster vil­lage reeve in the late 1980s and early 1990s, while Janette Abbey held the same post from 1994 un­til 1998.

The late Carol-Ann Rat­tray (then Ross) was Char­lot­ten­burgh town­ship reeve from 1988 to 1991; the late Gwen Mor­ris was Kenyon town­ship reeve in the 1990s; and Francine Richer was elected reeve of the for­mer Town of Alexan­dria in 1994.

GLEN­GARRY COUNTY ARCHIVES PHOTO

MAK­ING HIS­TORY: In the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion of 1963 Lochiel’s Enid “Archie Ed­die” MacDonald eas­ily pre­vailed in her quest to be­come the Town­ship's deputy reeve. A few weeks later she at­tended a meet­ing of Coun­ties Coun­cil, the first woman to do so in 113...

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