A Women’s Parliament

On January 28, 1914, Nellie McClung starred as Manitoba’s suspender snapping and cigar smoking Premier, in a mock parliament at the Walker Theater in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen
Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

This is Post two of “Nellie week” presented by Christy Birmingham of When Women Inspire & I.

The previous day, January 27, 1914, Nellie and many women of the Political Equality League met with Premier Roblin and the legislative body to request the vote for women.

Artist: Mandy van Lueewen

Premier Roblin condescended. He said, “I believe woman suffrage would break up the home and send women to mix up in political meetings.”

Artist: Mandy van Lueewen
Artist: Mandy van Lueewen

This prompted a guerilla “mock parliament” wherein women had the vote, but not men. It was added to that night’s showing of  How They Won The Vote“, a play originally produced in London. It was adapted to fit Winnipeg in 1914.

Artist: Mandy van Lueewen
Artist: Mandy van Lueewen

Vis-a-vis  this amazing mural in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Christy and I take a look at the mock parliament that changed women’s voting rights of yesterday into women’s voting rights of today, in Canada.

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

It featured: Nellie as  a female Premier Roblin, and her daughter Florence,  as a parliamentary page. As well, it showcased 2 other mother and daughter pairs.

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

There was Harriet Walker (Minister of Public Works) and her daughter Ruth (a parliamentary page). I am not sure which image is Mrs. Walker.  Mrs. Francis Graham, below,  portrayed Speaker of the House. Her daughter, Miss Alma Graham, was a Clerk.

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

The following text does not necessarily reflect the ensuing photographs. Dr. Mary Crawford played the Minister of Health and Education…

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

… Miss Kenneth Haig { Attorney General), Mrs. Lipsett-Skinner (Minister of Agriculture), Miss Francis Beynon (Leader of the Opposition) and Dorothy Milne.

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

Mrs. Lipsett-Skinner, pleasantly satirical, rejected a bill introducing labor-saving devices. The thought was, if men had spare time on their hands, they could start educating themselves. Next thing, they’d be petitioning for the vote.

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

Many men were in support of the Suffrage movement, and took part in the play. A delegation of men, headed by R.C. Skinner, came seeking suffrage privileges for the male sex. They had a slogan “We have the brains. Why not let us vote?”

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen
The men’s case was ardently presented. The bill was effectively thwarted by Premier McClung, in the same vein (but with comedic overtone) that she and the Women’s Equality League had been dissed the day before.
The audience howled in delight.
Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

To read the transcripts of the awesome “Winnipeg Free Press” review of that hilarious and historic night’s play about a mock parliament published on January 29, 1914 go to:

The Nellie McClung Foundation – Primary Sources Page – “Women Score in Drama and Debate” (4th article down) Apologies for the indirect link.

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen
Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

In the CBC archives from 1974 , is a video narrated by Beatrice Brighton who as a young girl  attended “A Woman’s Pariament” with  her mother. This is definitely worth a watch!

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen
Although Nellie and her family had moved to Edmonton, she returned to Manitoba to campaign for Liberal leader T. C. Norris in the August 1915 election. He defeated Premier Roblin. On January 28, 1916 Norris delivered his promise, granting full suffrage to the women of Manitoba.

 The third and final installment of “Nellie Week” will be posted on When Women Inspire in 2 days, on December 16.

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen – Photo & adjustment by Resa

 Pics taken by Resa – October 30 , 2016

Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

⭐ Special thanks to: Jen Mosienko, Sari Habiluk & Sharon Jonson ⭐


The Nellie McClung Foundation supports and celebrates equal rights for all human  beings, regardless of sex, race or creed.

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen
Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

This mural at 560 Sargent Avenue is to celebrate 100 years of women voting in Manitoba


It is sponsored by: Crestview Pharmacy, Cindy Gilroy, Province of Manitoba/Sports, Culture & Heritage, Winnipeg Building and Decorating, University of Winnipeg,  North American Lumber, West End BIZ, Nellie McLung Foundation, Take Pride Winnipeg, and Winnipeg Foundation

My Funny Afterthoughts

Women had bigger and better hats than men. No wonder men were threatened. (Wink!)

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen
Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

So many issues! It’s a wonder men ever got the vote! (Wink!)

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen
Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

100 years later, women still do not have pay equity to men, in Canada! (No wink)

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen
Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

Lastly, if you love poetry and stories visit Christy on her other blog Poetic Parfait

Artist: Mandy van Leeuwen

38 thoughts on “A Women’s Parliament

  1. Oh Resa!!! You’ve outdone yourself – and I mean that in a great way ❤ Nellie time x 2 – and we still have Friday!! I'm loving this post and so thankful for the collaboration. BIG smile on my face 🙂 You've given Nellie a wonderful spotlight in post #2 xx

    1. Thank you, Christy! ❤ Nellie is great history, and all Canadians should know it. Would be wonderful if the whole world knew about her. I'm so happy this mural was painted. I'm even happier that you took on "Nellie week" with me. "When Women Inspire" is a perfect place for Nellie to hang her hat, suspenders and rest that cigar!
      Excited for post #3! xoxo 😀 😀

  2. This mural is epic… I can not find another word to describe it….
    Love it and great account of facts and political-social backround.
    I will check out The Nellie McClung Foundation (site)—- Also, I am wondering if there is any movie or documentary to watch?… I´ll see on Netflix this week!. Hugs and congrats on this post, Resa & Christy! Excellent project and results. 😀

    1. Thank you, dear Aquileana!
      I do believe … epic… is the perfect word for this mural. Every year Winnipeg awards “Mural of the Year”. Winnipeg is very proud of its mural program. I have no doubt that this mural will take the prize for 2016. Of course we won’t know until June of 2017, but I will definitely announce it.
      Not sure what/if has been made about Nellie, on her own. She must at least be featured in a documentary about Suffrage in Canada.
      Let me know what you find on Netflix.
      Much love, and TY for visiting Nellie week! 😀 😀

    2. Thanks Aqui for your support and for taking time to discover more about this Canadian woman! Great about checking into Netflix and as Resa says do let us know what you discover in terms of documentary footage including her. Nellie week continues! 🙂 ❤

  3. Reblogged this on When Women Inspire and commented:
    Today Resa and I unveil post #2 of Nellie McClung week. Please head to the original post at Resa’s Graffiti Lux and Murals blog to see the Winnipeg mural of Nellie and her fellow suffragists, which has been photographed so well by Resa. Learn about the history of women’s rights in Canada and more. Thank you Resa for being such a great partner in this week-long collaboration! Our third post will publish Friday at When Women Inspire. ♥

    1. Yay! “Nellie week” is coming together, big time!!!
      Actually, I’m having more fun than one person aught to be allowed to have in a week! 😀 😀 😀

    1. Aww, thank you, Sheldon! I was thrilled when I found out about this mural. I flew to Winnipeg to visit my niece. Capturing this mural was the only other thing on my list. Of course, Sherrie made sure I captured many more. I think I shot around 20 murals.

    2. AND… This wonderful series called “Nellie week” would never had happened without Christy & her blog “When Women Inspire”.
      Christy came up with the idea of “Nellie week” when I told her about the mural.
      This collaboration is being … like… amazing!!!

      1. Thanks Resa for the kind mention. Nellie has so many accomplishments that it would be difficult to fit them all within just one post! Appreciate the support here, Sheldon 🙂

  4. LightningEllen

    These inspiring ladies make me proud to be a Canadian woman! Also, those men were totally threatened by the big hats, haha.

    1. TY, Lightening Ellen! I’m a proud Canadian woman, too! Our foremothers did a great job, but it’s not over, yet. Gender equality is at best … almost. The Nordic countries have the best track record. In some countries it is a non issue, cause women are getting none.
      Really, in 2016 women are still struggling! Wow!
      Lol, glad you got the hat joke!

  5. Gender equality continues to be an issue world-wide. Those wonderful women, who, in those early years were subject to physical abuse, imprisonment and general defamation would be loving your visual and written tribute, Resa. Well done to both you, and our delightful Christy, for an enormous work of love and dedication.

    1. And thank YOU Carolyn for appreciating the series from Resa and I ~ We are happy to have you with us as a woman who stands proud and strong, moving toward gender equality ❤

  6. This is a wonderful, profound narrative that has drama, pathos, determination, redemption. Resa and Christy – a wonderful partnership. I hope you continue your collaboration. The dynamic duo in action!

    1. You sure have a way with words that fill me with good feelings. Big smiles, many hugs and much love to you, Rebecca! It’s crazy, but I love collaborating in our blogosphere! And TY, yes, I think Christy and I are a dynamic duo!
      Christy, Aquileana & I have a triple coming up. I guess that would make us a triumphant trio.
      Lol! xo

    1. TY, Daniel! Honestly, I learned a lot of history as well. Doing this project with Christy has been a true joy. Post 3 goes up in awhile. “Nellie week” has been a YOWSA!!

  7. Carolee Croft

    That’s a very creative way of presenting their case, and your presentation of the murals and the story behind them is very elegant. I grew up in Edmonton, and have heard about McClung now and again, but I didn’t know about the “mock parliament.” Love it!

  8. Pingback: Nellie McClung: Assessing Her Impact on Women’s Rights (Post 3 of 3) | When Women Inspire

  9. Wonderful!! This is one of the best posts of the season, congratulations Resa and Christy, thank you for this interesting tribute, full of information, about Nellie McClung.
    Yours is a perfect collaboration, the results are very good !!

    1. You are very welcome, Belén! It is really, an amazing collaboration. It is almost sad that it is over, but there are many more fun projects ahead. Tomorrow Drake & Sol get their Christmas picture taken! xo

  10. This is an amazing piece of Canadian history, and you’ve told the story so well through your excellent photos of the mural. All five women were wonderful and deserve every praise for their tireless quest for women’s rights. This story is particularly meaningful and Nellie’s ‘costume’ a stroke of genius! Well done to both of you.

    1. Thank you! This project has been an extraordinary experience for me. Joining forces with Christy to tell amap about Nellie & women’s rights has been very rewarding.

  11. I’m going to second what Aquileana said. ..Epic! And I too am wondering why I haven’t seen or heard of any documentaries on that remarkable woman! Fantastic series. 🙂 ❤

  12. Pingback: Overcoming Adversity: Vietnamese Refugees Mural – Graffiti Lux and Murals

  13. Pingback: Nellie McClung: Assessing Her Impact on Women’s Rights (Post 3 of 3) | When Women Inspire

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