Women and the Vote in Manitoba - Video Transcript

[The video begins in an animated world, where an empty voting ballot card is resting on top of a desk. Two hands enter the frame from the bottom of the screen to pick up the ballot card.]

Today, all Canadian citizens have the right to vote. But just 100 years ago, about half the population did not have this right.

[The camera pulls back and reveals many characters standing in the frame holding ballots. Many of these characters then fade out and their ballots blow away as they disappear. The camera follows these ballots to the right, where they fly past a group of five women. The women reach out attempting to catch the ballot, but the ballots are out of reach. The frame then fades to show a historical photo featuring four women who were members of a group of women who petitioned for women’s voting rights.]

How did change happen? It wasn’t because of one action. It wasn’t because of one person. It was thanks to the contributions of thousands of women and men.

[The historical photo transitions to a large group of animated characters and the camera begins to zoom in, passing by the crowd of both men and women.]

That change first took root in Manitoba.

[The camera pans to a new scene, where an animated character representing Margaret Benedictsson is sitting in a chair. A thought bubble appears above her head, with the image of a women’s magazine focusing on the topic of voting inside of the thought bubble.]

Many women had been thinking about their right to vote. When those thoughts were put on paper, others took notice.

[The thought bubble pops, and the magazine that was inside falls into Margaret Benedictsson’s hands.]

Their words spread. Women started to gather and take action.

[The Margaret Benedictsson character is walking outside on the sidewalk, passing multiple copies of the magazine to other characters that pass by. Behind her, there are other characters walking within the busy city scenery. The camera pans to the right, where groups of characters are forming.]

They called themselves the Political Equality League, under the leadership of Nellie McClung. This group, which had 1200 members, built support for their cause through talks, advertising and public events. One of these events was the mock parliament of 1914.

[The camera pulls back slightly, and more people begin to appear to form a larger group, meant to represent the large group of members of the Political Equity League. At the front of the group, a character representing Nellie McClung appears. The scene momentarily transitions to a historical photo of Nellie McClung. The photo then fades to another historical photo that contains four other members of the group, followed by a vintage poster of the Mock Parliament event.]

With no political power, women had to get creative. They turned words of exclusion into words of inspiration. “Nice men don’t want the vote”.

[The camera tilts up, where the following quote from Premiere Roblin appears, “Nice women don’t want the vote”. Almost as if being crossed out by a black marker, the w-o is crossed out and the quote now reads as, “Nice men don’t want the vote”, which was a quote spoken by Nellie McClung. The camera pulls back, revealing this new quote is on a sign being held by McClung as she stands triumphantly on stage in front of the large group of supporting viewers.]

But for real change to happen, it had to go all the way to the legislature.

[The frame swipes to a new scene, where a horse and carriage passes by an illustrated Manitoba Legislative Building. A historical photo of the Manitoba Legislative building is placed into the frame by a pair of hands.]

In 1915, Premier Norris made a promise: if he received a petition with 17,000 signatures, he would grant women the right to vote.

[The hands with the Manitoba Legislative building move out of the frame, and move back into frame now holding a historical photo of Premier Norris.]

Instead, the League collected over 40,000 signatures!

[The historical photo leaves the frame, and a paper scroll blows from the wind in front of the Manitoba Legislative building, where it stops in the middle and unravels to reveal multiple signatures on the scroll. The camera pulls back to reveal Premier Norris holding the scroll standing behind a podium.]

On January 28, 1916, after years of women struggling to have a say in their province’s democracy, the bill was passed by the legislature. This made Manitoba the first province to give women voting rights that were equal to men’s.

[The paper flies out of Premier Norris’ hands, and flies into the animated city scene shown previously. In this scene, the camera stops when we see a female character holding a ballot. She drops the ballot into a ballot box. The frame zooms out and we see her holding a scroll that contains an outline of the map of Canada. Manitoba changes to green, and the remainder of the provinces and territories slowly become green as well.]

It was the first step in the journey to achieving voting rights for women across Canada: a journey that took several decades.

[We swipe to a new scene, where the cover of a history photo album is shown. The book opens to reveal and flip through multiple pages of historical photos that were captured during the women’s voting rights movement.]

And it all started with the actions of regular people, like you and me.

[White background. Elections Canada logo and the following words written underneath: This video has been developed by Elections Canada as part of an educational resource for secondary students. Followed by the website and telephone numbers: www.electionsanddemocracy.ca 1-800-463-6868 1-800-361-8935 (TTY)]