The Women’s Suffrage movement in Canada relied on petitions to provincial governments; on lecture tours and speaking engagements; on meetings with politicians; and on public meetings and events.
In 1918 at least 3,865 names on 18 petitions, representing areas from across Nova Scotia, were presented to the House of Assembly and on April 26, 1918, the “The Nova Scotia Franchise Act”1 was passed granting women the right to vote, with certain conditions.
Twenty three individuals from the Hantsport Area have so far been identified on those petitions and their names and further details are listed below.
Qualification of Voters.
Every person (male and female) shall be entitled to be registered in any year upon the list of voters for the proper polling district of any county, if such person –
Is of the full age of twenty-one years and is not by this Chapter, or by any law of the Province of Nova Scotia, disqualified or prevented from voting and has not since the last revision of the lists of voters received aid as a pauper under any law of the Province of Nova Scotia, and
Is a British subject by birth or naturalization, and
(paraphrased) Was assessed of real property to the value of $150 or personal and real property to the value of $300; or was assessed in respect of income to the amount of $250 from some profession, trade, calling of office, or some investment, or was at the time of the last assessment the wife or husband, not otherwise qualified to vote, of a person with property as above or; was the son or daughter not otherwise qualified to vote of a person with property as above. (emphasis added)
It should be noted that a few Nova Scotian women voted prior to 1918:
“two recorded incidents in Nova Scotia make it clear that women voted there. The first involved a disputed election in Amherst Township and the second an 1840 election in Annapolis County, where the Tories made great efforts to use women’s votes to save the riding from a Reform landslide”2
widows who owned, occupied or leased property with a value sufficient to confer the right to vote.
the federal War-time Elections Act of 1917 conferred the right to vote on the spouses, widows, mothers, sisters and daughters of any persons, male or female, living or dead, who were serving or had served in the Canadian forces, provided they met the age, nationality and residency requirements for electors in their respective provinces.
On the 26th of April, 2018 an infographic was unveiled marking the 100th anniversary of “The Nova Scotia Franchise Act”.
The original 1918 petitions are held by The Nova Scotia Archives3 in Halifax.
Women suffrage petition from 475 residents of Windsor, Hantsport and other centres of Hants County
To the Government and Legislature of the Province
of Nova Scotia
We whose names are hereto subscribed, being British subjects of the full age of twenty one years and upwards, and having lived in the province of Nova Scotia one year and upwards, hereby pray that you will introduce and pass at the next session of the Legislature an act granting the provincial franchise to women upon the same terms as those upon which it is granted to men, thus placing us upon a level with the women of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.
|1||Nellie E. Davison||Hantsport||Teacher|
|2||Marcia B. Braine||Hantsport||Daughter of R.T.B.|
|4||Mabel L. Young ◊||Hantsport||House Keeper|
|5||Charlotte E. Lawrence ◊||Hantsport||Wife of Albert Lawrence|
|6||Emma Murray||Hantsport||Wife of D. W. Murray|
|7||Ida M. Blackburn ◊||Hantsport||House Keeper|
|8||L. E. Fish||Hantsport||House Keeper|
|9||Mary E. Perry||Hantsport||House Keeper|
|11||Lucilla Burgess ◊||Hantsport||House Keeper|
|12||Bessie A. Harvey||Hants Border||House Keeper|
|13||Laura B. Graham||Hantsport||Wife of A. O. Graham|
|14||Della S. Lawrence||Hantsport||House Keeper|
|15||Ada J. Sterling||Hantsport||Wife of W. K. Sterling|
|16||Olivia Garrison ◊||Hantsport|
|17||Alice A. Dorman||Hantsport||House Keeper|
|18||Marilla Fuller||Hantsport||Wife of H. N. Fuller|
|19||S. L. Dickie||Hantsport||House Keeper|
◊ Mabel L. Young was the mother of Ethel Young, teacher at Hantsport School.
◊ Charlotte E. Lawrence was the mother of Mary Gladys Lawrence, a graduate of Dalhousie University (BA 1909), and of Leroy Litchfield Lawrence killed in action on 2 May 1918 and whose name is included on the Hantsport Remembrance Day Honour Roll.
◊ Ida M. Blackburn was the mother of Grace Blackburn, teacher at Hantsport School.
◊ Lucilla Burgess was the mother of Grace Oulton, benefactor of the Hantsport Public Library.
◊ Olivia Garrison was the mother of Charles Albert Dickson killed in action on 15 September 1916 and whose name is included on the Hantsport Remembrance Day Honour Roll.
|20 (7)||Edith Francis||Hantsport||Stenographer|
Women suffrage petition from 403 residents of Wolfville, Aylesford, and Canning
|21 (19)||Violet Churchill||Hantsport|
|22 (20)||M. F. Churchill||Hantsport|
|23 (2)||Elmira Borden||Hantsport|
1Nova Scotia Legislative Library http://0-nsleg-edeposit.gov.ns.ca.legcat.gov.ns.ca/deposit/Statutes/1918.pdf
3Nova Scotia Archives: Suffrage in Nova Scotia https://novascotia.ca/archives/suffrage/default.asp