Louise McKinney


The purpose of a woman's life is just the same as the purpose of a man's life—that she may make the best possible contribution to the generation in which she is living.

-Louise McKinney

This quotation of Louise McKinney says a lot about the type of woman she was – a woman who wanted people – men and women – to lead the best possible life they could. Louise McKinney was the first woman elected to a government in Canada, the first woman elected to a legislature in the British Empire. In 1917, in the first election in Alberta in which women were able to vote as well as run for office, two Alberta women won seats: Louise McKinney and Roberta MacAdams. But since Louise was sworn into the Alberta Legislature before Roberta, she has the distinction of being the first.

McKinney organized 20 Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) chapters in the West, serving as president of the Alberta and Saskatchewan Union for 20 years. She also played a major role in the provincial campaign to ban alcohol, making Alberta the second province to adopt prohibition. But that wasn’t the only initiative she pursued in the legislature. She, along with Henrietta Muir Edwards, pushed for improved rights for widows and separated wives and urged the adoption of social welfare measures for immigrants and widows.

Louise McKinney was one of the "Famous Five," five Alberta women who fought and won the political and legal battle in the Persons Case in 1929. In recognition of her work, McKinney was made a world Vice-President of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE).

She homesteaded with her family near Claresholm.

Anine VonkemanComment