While I exercised my fledgling snowbird wings in Florida this winter, many pals made time to share a little sunshine with me.   On one visit, a friend of nearly 30 years and I somehow got into a gentle debate about when women in Canada got the right to vote.  I said 1918; she was adamant that it wasn’t until 1960.  We hauled our sun-drenched bodies from the lanai to the computer to do a little research.

Turns out we were both right.  But our perspectives were slightly off.

I googled women in Canada and  March 1918 popped up as the year all women who were qualified could vote in federal elections!  I do like being right.

After a long swallow of her frosty, sweet iced tea, and giving me enough time to gloat, she casually suggested I adjust my search parameters to ‘all women in Canada’.  Huh?  Didn’t I just do that?  So I searched again, inserting that little word ‘all’.

She was right … it was 1960! Native women covered by the Indian Act were prohibited from voting in federal elections until 1960. Most women of colour – Chinese women, ‘Hindu’ or East Indian women, Japanese women – were granted the right to vote at the  federal level in the late 1940′s.

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She should have been smug as hell,  but instead she gave a little sigh, the kind of sigh that only a first nation woman, who has struggled against prejudice for a lifetime, has any right to make.

So, we topped up our glasses, returned to the sunshine and continued the conversation about all womens rights in Canada.

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