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Life in Edmonton

Heritage Community Foundation, Albertasource.ca and The Famous Five Foundation



Nellie McClung and the WCTU

Life in Edmonton


When Wes McClung's job required him to move to Edmonton, Nellie McClung felt that she was giving up the political career she was sure to have had in Manitoba. She had campaigned vigorously on the behalf of the Liberal party, was sure it would soon be in power, and that when women received the vote, she would easily be elected to the Manitoba Legislature. There were even predictions that she would be invited to cabinet.

While the prospect of political office excited her, at times she feared that if she were elected, for her to fail would be to undo all the work that she had done. She knew that while a man would be judged as an individual, a woman would be judged as a representative of all women, creating an unfair sense of pressure on any woman who ventured into politics.

It was with a little sadness and some measure of relief that McClung contemplated her withdrawal from political life to devote herself to her career as a writer—or so she thought.

She did not count on the fact that her reputation would precede her to Alberta, and she soon threw herself into the Temperance Movement, as well as the Edmonton Equal Franchise League, the Women's Canadian Club, and the Canadian Women's Press Club.

Upon her introduction to Emily Murphy a warm relationship developed between the two, with McClung looking to Janey Canuck for advice on her writing.    

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