Women's Suffrage in Saskatchewan

"TOGETHER ON COMMON GROUND FOR THE COMMON GOOD..."

The year 1916 was an extremely important milestone for voting rights in Canada. It was in this year that women were granted the right to vote in the three Prairie Provinces.  Saskatchewan was the second province to enfranchise women, with comparatively little controversy or opposition.  
 
The leader of the suffrage movement in Saskatchewan was Violet Clara McNaughton (1879-1968), a British homesteader and social activist.  From her position as the organizer and first President of the Women Grain Growers in Saskatchewan, McNaughton encouraged various women's organizations in the province to work together for the cause of women's suffrage.  McNaughton brought together women from the Grain Growers, from the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and from other womens' groups of the time to establish the Provincial Equal Franchise Board to work "together on common ground for the common good..." (The Western Producer, 28 May 1925.)


Violet McNaughton hauling water on the farm, n.d.
Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan Photo S-B2048
 

Even though there were suffrage movements taking place in other provinces across Canada, it was on the Prairies that this movement had the most and earliest success.  Ontario and British Columbia followed a year later, and women were granted the voted in national elections in 1918.  Some provinces followed much later, and Quebec women were not enfranchised until 1940! 

This timeline begs the question:

Why were women in the three prairie provinces
leaders in the women’s suffrage movement?  


Three pioneer women in the suffrage movement
and in the Women Grain Growers, 1914:  
(left to right) Violet McNaughton, Zoa Haight, and Mrs. Arthur Thompson.
Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan Photo S-B8490

 

Understanding the Prairie Suffrage Movement
Using Primary Source Evidence

The primary source archival documents available below are traces of EVIDENCE that can inform our understanding of the suffrage movement in Saskatchewan, and help us understand why prairie suffrage movements found early success.

By studying these sources, we can MAKE INFERENCES about the various authors' purposes, values, and worldviews, in our effort to understand the historical significance of the suffrage movement.

Click on the images below to open or download a full-size PDF file of each complete document.

 

Background Information

 


Violet McNaughton Interview (excerpt) about the women's suffrage movement in Saskatchewan
(1:25 minutes)

Audio Recording: Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan (PAS), Tape R-6334
CBC Radio Broadcast: Trans-Canada Matinee: Salute to Saskatchewan Women.  
(c) 1956, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
 
Photograph of Violet McNaughton, ca. 1920
Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan Photo S-B2042
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Violet McNaughton Speech:  "How We Got the Franchise in Saskatchewan"

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1, Violet McNaughton fonds,
File C.1. Personal Papers, Articles, n.d.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan Entry for "Woman Suffrage"

Erma Stocking, Zoa Haight, Mrs. McNeal, Violet McNaughton, and 
Mrs. Flatt of the Saskatchewan Grain Growers' Association, Women's Section
in Moose Jaw, 1914.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan Photo R-B4482

 

Editorial Cartoons


"Votes for Women": editorial cartoon showing Premier Walter Scott
making women beg for the vote, from Grain Growers' Guide,
26 February 1913


Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan
Photo S-B6493

 

 

 


   
 


"The Door Steadily Opens": editorial cartoon showing a woman entering
a room of men (Special Privilege, Drink, Combine, White Slaver, Graft,
Monopoly, and Corrupt Press) with a "Women Suffrage" broom, from
Grain Growers' Guide, 
21 September 1910

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan
Photo R-A369-2

 

    


"The Vote Girl": editorial cartoon from Grain Growers' Guidee, 
8 July 1914, 8.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan 
Photo R-B10754


 

 

Articles


"Women Do Not Want It," by Alice Stone Blackwell, n.d.  

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
File E.18, Equal Franchise League, 1914-1918.

 

 

 

 


   


"Some Women Will Vote Wisely, Some Foolishly, and Some Not At All,"
The Saturday Press & Prairie Farm, 1 May 1915, 6.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
File E.18, Equal Franchise League, 1914-1918.



     
    


"An Appeal to the Men of Canada,"
Montreal Suffrage Association, n.d.


Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
File E.18, Equal Franchise League, 1914-1918.

 

 



   


"Women Receive the Vote from Scott Government at Memorable 
St. Valentine's Day Assembly," Regina Morning Leader,
15 February 1916.

 

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan
Photo S-B6544

 

 



     


"Votes for Women Are Asked in Petition,"
Regina Morning Leader, 30 April 1915, 8.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, Regina Morning Leader,
Microfilm R-1.618, Reel 78.

 

 

 

 



     


"Petition for Women's Votes Presented,"
Regina Morning Leader, 28 May 1915, 12.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, Regina Morning Leader
Microfilm R-1.618, Reel 79.

 

 

 

 




 


"Equal Suffrage in Saskatchewan," 
The Saturday Press & Prairie Farmer, 16 February 1916, 1.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
File E.18, Equal Franchise League, 1914-1918.

 

 

 

 

 



     


News story about the positive reception received by suffrage lobbyists
who presented petitions to the Premier in the Saskatchewan Legislature,
which resulted in changes to Saskatchewan's franchise legislation
and allowing women to vote in provincial elections.


The Saturday Press and Prairie Farm, 19 February 1916, 1.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
file I.9, the Saturday Press & Prairie Farmer, 1915-1919.

 

 




     


Women's Section, including "Suffrage Board Will Meet in October"
and "Eloquent Speeches by Suffragists," The Evening Province &
Standard (Regina), 28 May 1916, 5.


Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
File E.18, Equal Franchise League, 1914-1918.

 

 

  


"Letters from Readers: Votes for Women," 
The Montreal Weekly Witness
, 2 October 1917, 13.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
File E.18, Equal Franchise League, 1914-1918.

 

 


     


"Women and Political Parties," by Mrs. H.H. McKinney,
Saskatoon Star, 13 December 1918

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
File E.18, Equal Franchise League, 1914-1918.


    

Letters


Letter from Lillian B. Thomas, Winnipeg, to
Violet McNaughton, 17 September [ca. 1916-1919?]


Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
File E.18, Equal Franchise League, 1914-1918.

 

 

 

 


     


Letter from Effie Laurie Storer, Battleford, to 
Violet McNaughton, 11 May 1914.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
File E.18, Equal Franchise League, 1914-1918.

 

 

 

 

 

     


"Reasons Why Women Should Be Enfranchised,"
ca. 1914-1916.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
File E.18, Equal Franchise League, 1914-1918.

 

 

 

 

 

 


     


Letter from Premier Walter Scott, Regina, to
Violet McNaughton, 16 February 1916.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
File E.18, Equal Franchise League, 1914-1918.

 

 

 

 


     


Letter from M.A. Lawton, Yorkton, and
Nellie McClung, Edmonton, to

Violet McNaughton, 28 June 1916.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
File E.18, Equal Franchise League, 1914-1918.

 

 

 

 



    


Letter from Lillian B. Thomas, Winnipeg, to
Violet McNaughton, 21 December 1916.

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, S-A1 Violet McNaughton fonds,
File E.18, Equal Franchise League, 1914-1918.