was only natural that a woman so actively involved in the
social issues of the day should take an interest in
politics. Yet, as an idealist, Louise McKinney found much to
object to in the world of politics.
Liquor and brewing companies contributed heavily to both
major parties of the day, much to the displeasure of this
Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) activist, who
suspected their donations bought political influence. Thus,
when the Non-Partisan League (NPL) joined Alberta's
political landscape, McKinney welcomed it enthusiastically.
It seems the feeling was mutual, for she was persuaded to
run for election as a League candidate in the 1917
provincial election (the first provincial election in which
women were allowed to run for office or vote). Somewhat to
her own surprise, she was elected (as was Nursing Sister
Perhaps as a result of her innumerable speaking
engagements on behalf of the WCTU, McKinney quickly
developed a reputation for her skill as a debater.
Although she took an interest in making government
prohibition legislation more effective, and in legislation
to "aid" the "feeble-minded," her major project was to draft
a bill regarding Dower rights. Together, she and Henrietta
Muir Edwards drafted a document, which Louise McKinney
introduced to the legislature. It was passed and became
known as the "Dower Act."
Although she ran for re-election, McKinney was
defeated—possibly due to changing public sentiment regarding
prohibition. Despite retiring from active politics, she
retained an interest in political issues—small wonder that
she was one of the four Alberta women whom Emily Murphy
invited to join her as petitioners in the Persons' Case.
|Heritage Trail: Controlling Liquor
in Alberta, Part Four: Prohibition
||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