Louise McKinney, "Alberta Women and Alberta Laws,"
The Lethbridge Herald 8 Oct. 1929: 10.
"I wish to suggest to the speaker," said the positive
man, "that her whole talk to us tonight is built upon a
premise that some of us at least will not accept, as this
foundation is not correct, and misleading. The speaker takes
it for granted that the wife earns half of the entire
estate, a situation which I would be far from admitting. The
husband is the earner, the wife earns nothing, is not a
producer at all, but is supported by the earnings of the
"May I ask the gentleman," the speaker questioned, "if he
thinks that the wife in addition to laboring more hours a
day than the husband, in addition to bearing and rearing his
children, should pay board; or does the gentle think that
she earns her board and keep? Would he go as far as that?"
"Certainly," the man replied rather tartly, "she earns
much more than that. I never made any such insinuation. Why
every husband gives his wife much more than that. I insist
that most men are generous with their wives."
"You are begging the question," the speaker persisted.
"As I understand it we have not tonight been discussing the
amount the husbands 'give' their wives, their generosity or
their selfishness is not the question. The point upon which
my friend took issue was the amount 'the wife earns'. Will
you please stick to the question at hand? Will you please
state how much more than her board and keep you consider
would be just for the services of a wife? It is difficult to
believe that you were really sincere in your objection if
you are unwilling to follow your own argument to its logical
conclusion. You object to the amount that I think she earns.
You admit that she earns more than her board and keep. With
those two points determined, the amount she really does earn
should be easy to decide. Please be explicit."
Excerpt from "Alberta Women and Alberta Laws."
Lethbridge Herald. October 8, 1920. p.10.
"I have never figured it out. That is a point for every
man to decide for himself. I do not believe we should bring
the law into family relationships."
Husband's Whim, Wife's Law
"I asked you not to beg the question," the speaker
insisted, "and you have done so to assure me that the wife
is, or should be, without the protection of the law. In
other words, the protection of the law is for every emigrant
who seeks our shores, for every flotsam and jetsam of
civilization or barbarism, except for the wife and mother.
Her only law is her husband's whim; you say the law should
not be brought into the family relationships. I am seeking
to take away some of the iniquitous laws which are already
dividing the home. Now I am proposing to keep right on this
track: until I get an idea from this gentleman as to how
much he thinks a wife earns, and every time he dodges the
issue I shall wait until he returns and renew the attack. Do
you think the wife earns as much as she would doing exactly
the same work for some one other than her husband?"
"That is self evident," the questioner replied, not very
"Good, now we have some point from which to proceed. How
much do you think a woman laboring say 14 or 18 hours a day
could command in the open market, when the 8 hour day is
customary? That would be just about two days work every day.
Would $50.00 per month be too much?"
"I suppose not, but she would have no home, and no one to
take care for her as her husband did," said the questioner
"Again you are evading the issue. I know of no reason why
her husband should not take care of her even if he is just
to her; in fact I have observed that those who are just,
usually care more for their wives than those who are not. If
you are suggesting that the wife should labor all those
years for the affection she receives at the hands of her
husband, I think many women would prefer being paid in a
different kind of coin than that which she received. You can
hardly tell me either that a woman who earns $600 a year
over and above her board can not have a home of her own. She
has earned her husband's home over and over again.
"But this is the point upon which I do insist, if the
wife does not earn half, then decide what she does earn. If
she is not a partner, then she is a servant. If a partner,
she should have her part. If a servant, she should have
wages. I presume that most men if they had to give their
wives the wages they would receive for the same service
elsewhere, should welcome a partnership instead, $600 per
year, or a much smaller sum, laid by every year during
marriage would be a much larger sum than that represented by
the husband's estate.
That Fallacy of support Again
"But you forget that the husband is responsible for the
support of the wife, and that he also and he alone is
responsible for the support of the children. That is the
reason that it is but justice that he be given the
property," another individual offered.
"You are mistaken," the speaker informed him. "At our
last session of the legislature an Act was passed making the
property of the mother equally liable for the support of the
children with that of the father. Besides, according to the
criminal code, the mother had always been equally liable if
by neglect the children suffer. You cannot spring that
reason for the father having all the property.
"As to the husband's liability, for the support of the
wife, that fallacy is a hardly perennial. If you will use
the term: "must give a pittance toward her support," the
term would be more nearly correct, but even that is too much
to use as a real statement of actual facts. A case was
lately tried in Saskatoon where a man found a place for his
wife in the home of his son. Although the wife said that she
could find a place for herself where she should receive
wages and not be nearly so much of a servant, yet the Judge
decided that was "providing for her with the meaning of the
law." The support that a man must according to law give his
wife, would be a joke if it were not a tragedy."