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President of the Alberta 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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Cover from pamphlet on prevention of alcoholism.Acting as President of the Alberta Woman's Christian Temperance Union demanded great organizational skills and tremendous energy. Louise McKinney toured the province repeatedly, delivering talks designed to encourage and provide direction to WCTU locals throughout the province.

Under her guidance, the WCTU grew to be a powerful force in shaping the development of the young province—the emphasis of its mission was contained in its name. The Union worked for temperance, but more importantly, the organization was devoted to all Christian principles, and accordingly, its work was typical of that of the Social Gospel Movement. It provided McKinney with an opportunity to apply her strong religious faith to improving the society in which she lived. Thus, the WCTU played an active part in obtaining equal franchise for women in 1916. So too, the WCTU took an interest in social service and immigrant work.

Poster - Steer Away from Alcohol, Dope, Tobacco.Although the WCTU was involved in many initiatives and issues, the Temperance Movement was its primary focus. They strongly believed that alcohol had no place in building the young Dominion, but was instead a hindrance to the health and development of Canadians. Thus, they launched and vigorously promoted programs to educate people about the dangers of alcohol and the sad aftermath and destruction wrought by alcohol addiction.

McKinney played a major part in the successful prohibition campaign of 1915, which made Alberta the first province to enact prohibition. Following this victory, she struggled to keep the Temperance Movement active in education campaigns and efforts to ensure that the law was enforced. However, after achieving prohibition, the sense of urgency waned, and temperance education programs were neglected. As agitation for temperance ceased, public opinion swung away from prohibition, and to the dismay of Louise McKinney, prohibition was later repealed.

 
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