Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Canadian Elections 2011 and before

The proclamation of results for Richmond Wolfe in 1904 Elections. Total eligible voters: 8447 (all men of course): Spoiled ballots 55; ballots rejected 39; ballots for E.W. Tobin 3789; ballots for McGrady 2516. Total votes cast 6305.

Now, one of the excuses I've read for not giving women the vote back then was that polling stations were unseemly. But here's were they voted in the district: at school houses (most often); office of Municipal council; town Hall, stores (where women often went); at private homes. So what was the problem? One commentator I read suggested polling should take place in churches, as voting is a sacred act. (Hmm.) Well, I will likely vote in a school, I usually do.

For this next 2011 Federal election. The Bloc has won for the last little while here, so I am basically disenfranchised anyway.

I am editing the Nicholson Family Letters from May 11 1911 to May 1913, with an eye toward having them published in an academic press.

I am also annotating them, using material I have gathered in my research. Today, I'm on the late 1912 letters. Edith Nicholson is home alone. She had quit her job. Her letters are long and disjointed and gossipy. She is writing to her Mom who is with her sisters in the city. There's not enough room for her, so she is making the best of it at home. Telling her mom she is keeping warm (always a worry) and always sleeping at someone else's house or having someone sleep in with her. I thought about seriously cutting these letters down, but then it hit me: they are as important as the others.

The Nicholson Letters are all about POLITICS. Yes, they discuss the 1911 Federal Election and the 1912 Provincial Election, but they also talk about life, which is politics. And gossip is undoubtedly a form of politics, a female form. So the Days at Home where the women "give the town a good raking" as Edith once put it, is as much a form of politics as the town meetings. It's a way to learn about things and 'control' things by putting your personal stamp, opinion, on them. Interesting thing I didn't notice. Edith attends a sermon with a guess minister from Quebec and the subject is the 1913 budget! So there, more politics.

The Nicholson women were very political. No surprise that Marion went on to become a union leader.

On that note: I found a letter from 1920 where Edith writes that Marion and her family were going to spend a holiday, Christmas or Easter with the Sutherlands. This is likely J.C. Sutherland, the Superintendent of Protestant Schools. So even when she was retired from teaching, as a wife and mother, she kept in touch with the politics of education in Quebec.