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Involvement with the WCTU

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Involvement with the WCTU

President of the WCTU

Superintendent of the Department of Scientific Temperance Union (STI)

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Womens Christian Temperance Union group, Regina, Saskatchewan, 1908. Louise McKinney standing at right.Louise McKinney devoted much her time and energy to the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), and was launched into the world of politics as a result, her involvement reaching the local, provincial, national, and international levels.

While working as a teacher in North Dakota, McKinney became very involved with the Temperance Movement, and became an organizer for the WCTU in 1894. In 1898, she was elected the First District President, and the next year, attended the Silver Jubilee National Convention in Seattle.

When the McKinney family moved to Southern Alberta in 1903, and settled in Claresholm, Louise set about organizing a local chapter of the WCTU—of which she was the President until 1930.

In 1904, she went to Calgary to meet with a Mrs. Craig of Olds, as well as other like-minded women from throughout the Northwest Territories (what is now Alberta). As a result of this meeting, the Northwest Territories' Woman's Christian Temperance Union (consisting of 20 local Unions) was formed, with Mrs. Craig as President. In 1905, when Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces, the group became the Alberta and Saskatchewan WCTU, and in 1912, membership had grown so large that Alberta and Saskatchewan became separate Unions.

McKinney, who had served as Recording Secretary and then as Corresponding Secretary of the Provincial WCTU, succeeded Mrs. Craig as President in 1908. In addition, McKinney served as President of the Alberta WCTU for over 22 years, and as the Vice-President of the Dominion WCTU from 1908 to 1930. After the death of her colleague Mrs. Wright, McKinney became the organization's President.

As President of the Dominion WCTU, McKinney acted as hostess of the World Convention in 1931, and was subsequently elected World Vice-President. Unfortunately, she died shortly thereafter.

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The name Fort Whoop-up remains synonymous with the rampant whiskey trade of the late 1800's. And as historian David Leonard explains, present-day legislation had its roots in the effort to control what became known as the scourge of the west. Listen Now
 
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