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Canada's First Woman MP

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Weaving newsclips, archival stills and old family photos, this documentary highlights Agnes Macphail's life and 19-year career in the House of Commons. Canada's First Woman MP re-creates a period of profound political and social change for the country.

Honest, plain-spoken and determined, Macphail was at the forefront of many of these changes. Elected in 1921 as the first woman in Parliament, she was soon pressuring the government to help the coal miners of Glace Bay, Cape Breton. She was also instrumental in the creation of old-age pensions. In 1929, Mackenzie King named her as one of the Canadian delegates to the League of Nations in Geneva, where she served on the International Disarmament Committee.

Back in Canada, she continued her work for farm co-operatives and briefly supported the new CCF party. She fought for prison reform, and when a riot broke out at Kingston Penitentiary, she seized the moment to act. The government began the reorganization of the Canadian penal system.

This video is a valuable resource in secondary history and social studies classrooms.

1986, 12 min 10 s

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