Sunday, April 1, 2012

Historical Firsts for Women in BC Politics without an Honourable Mention being made of those in close support

Only in British Columbia, you say?       Last updated April 2010

 Women Members of the Legislature of British Columbia (1991)
Historical Firsts

1 First woman MLA in BC Mary Ellen Smith Jan. 24, 1918 (B)

2 First woman Independent MLA in BC Mary Ellen Smith (Bio Aug, 16, 2013) Jan. 24, 1918 (B)

3 First woman to be elected Liberal MLA in BC Mary Ellen Smith Dec. 1, 1920

4 First woman cabinet minister Mary Ellen Smith Mar. 24, 1921 without portfolio in the British Empire

5 First woman to act as Speaker in BC Mary Ellen Smith Feb. 22, 1928

6 First general election no women were elected July 18, 1928. since franchise extended to women in 1917

7 First woman CCF MLA in BC Dorothy Gretchen Steeves July 14, 1934 (B)

8 First woman Conservative MLA in BC Tilly Jean Rolston Oct. 21, 1941

9 First woman BC MLA to run federally Dorothy Gretchen Steeves June 27, 1949

10 First woman elected Speaker in Commonwealth Nancy Hodges Feb. 14, 1950

11 First woman MLA to cross the floor in BC Tilly Jean Rolston Mar. 29, 1951 (Mary Ellen Smith, who had been elected in 1918 as an Independent, ran as a Liberal in 1920, but did not apparently "cross the floor")

12 First woman Social Credit MLA in BC Tilly Jean Rolston May 2, 1952 (Joined the Social Credit Party) June 12, 1952 (Elected as a Social Credit member)

13 First woman cabinet minister with portfolio Tilly Jean Rolston Aug. 1, 1952 in Canada

14 First woman BC MLA to die in office Tilly Jean Rolston Oct. 12, 1953 (She had lost the 1953 election but was still in the Cabinet.) Buda Hosmer Brown Aug. 12, 1962 (She was sitting as an elected Member and Cabinet Minister.)

15 First woman BC MLA to become a Canadian Nancy Hodges Nov. 5, 1953 Senator

16 First woman NDP MLA in BC Margaret Frances Hobbs Sep. 4, 1962 (B)  (The name of the CCF 8 party was changed in 1960 to "New Party" and in 1961 to New Democratic Party. Some candidates ran as New Democratic Party-CCF to ensure that voters knew who they were.)

17 First woman BC MLA to run federally and win Winona Grace MacInnis Nov. 8, 1965

18 First black woman elected to a provincial Rosemary Brown Aug. 30, 1972 legislature in Canada

19 First woman to be acting President of the Eileen Elizabeth Dailly Sep. 26, 1972 Executive Council in BC

20 First woman to be appointed Deputy Premier Grace Mary McCarthy Dec. 22, 1975 in BC

21 First woman BC MLA to become a federal Kim Campbell Jan. 30, 1989 cabinet minister for Canada (Minister of State) (Minister of Justice) Feb. 24, 1990 (Minister of Defence) Jan. 4, 1993

22 First woman Premier in Canada Rita Margaret Johnston Apr. 2, 1991

23 First woman MLA of East Indian-Canadian descent Judeline Kim Mary Tyabji Oct. 17, 1991

24 First MLA to give birth while in office in Judeline Kim Mary Tyabji Mar. 14, 1992 British Columbia

25 First woman BC MLA to become Prime Minister Kim Campbell June 13, 1993

26 First women MLAs of Chinese-Canadian descent Ida Chong May 28, 1996 Jenny Wai Ching Kwan May 28, 1996

27 First woman MLA subject to Recall petition Evelyn Marie Gillespie Feb. 12, 1998 (petition failed)

28 First BC Cabinet Minister to give birth Christy Clark Aug. 26, 2001 while in office

29 First woman Democratic Reform B.C. MLA in BC Brenzinger, Elayne Jan. 27, 2005

30 First openly lesbian BC MLA McGinn, Jenn Oct. 29, 2008 (B)

31 First woman MLA with a disability Cadieux, Stephanie May 12, 2009

- Author: Janet Frost - Reference Librarian for the BC Legislative Library

With the links attached to each name, readers can now gain more insight into the politicians of yore. For example, Mary Ellen Smith's husband was the Liberal Government's Finance Minister:

 Mary Ellen Smith was the first woman elected to the B.C. legislature, winning a by election following the death of her husband Ralph Smith, the Liberal government’s finance minister. The daughter of a copper miner, Smith won re-election in 1920 and 1924, becoming the first female cabinet minister in the British Empire in 1921 (minister without portfolio) and the first female Speaker of a legislature in the British Empire in 1928. Snip  - Vancouver Sun  "This day in history: January 24, 1918" Research by The Sun’s news library

Ralph Smith served as Minister of Finance in the government of Premier Harlan Carey Brewster, and died in office on February 17, 1917. His wife, Mary Ellen Smith, succeeded him in the subsequent by-election (held January 1918) as an Independent Liberal Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). She subsequently became the first female cabinet minister in the British Empire.   Ralph Smith was a supporter of women's suffrage, which was enacted in the province shortly after the Liberals came to power after ten previous attempts over the years had failed.  wikipedia

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