By Verna Braden
Today we are going to talk about the Lady Laurier Club of Dawson Creek, and all around good citizenship. First a question. Do you think Canadian women are shirking their responsibilities in political and national affairs? The women of Great Britain and many western European countries have done better politically than we Canadian women.
But now let me tell you about a Women’s political club in Dawson Creek. The Lady Laurier Club of Dawson Creek was formed at a tea held at the home of Mrs. Harry Collins on January 9, 1947. The aim of the Laurier Club is to further Liberalism and to assist the local Liberal Club. The constitution of the club was written by Mrs Rosa Watson and this was set forth in a book of laws by Mrs. W. Bowie.
The first group of officers were Mrs. Glen (Louisa) Braden, President; Mrs H. (Francis) Carlin, Vice President; Mrs W. (Rosa) Watson, Secretary and Mrs Herman (Mildred) Hirscmann, Treasurer. The first meetings were held in the Old Timers Cabin. This building needs a few words of special explanation. The Old Timers Cabin stood on the spot where CJDC Radio stands now. It was built of logs to commemorate the pioneer log cabins by the Old Timers Society and the Women’s Institutes of the district. It was a historical item in the first years, then later [used] as rest rooms for the farm women when they came to town to shop. It was much appreciated for some years, until wash rooms were established in some of the main stores. The cabin is now enclosed in the modern TV and Radio Station owned by CJDC in the centre of Dawson Creek.
Some of the early members of the Lady Laurier Club were among the original Old Timers Society group and were:
|Mrs Wilbur Harper||Mrs Rosa Watson||Mrs Harry Collins|
|Miss Daphne Phillips||Mrs Margaret Bullen||Mrs F. E. Webb|
|Mrs Floyd Wilson||Mrs Jack Fynn||Mrs Alex Cameron|
|Mrs Alan Varco||Mrs Roy Kennedy||Mrs Mellor|
|Mrs A. Michaud||Mrs Glover Lawrence||Mrs Jack Kerr|
|Mrs Glen Braden||Mrs Ross Braden||Mrs Lyle Braden|
Mrs Glen (Louisa) Braden was the first President and carried the presidency through 6-1/2 consecutive years. Through the past eighteen years this club has assisted the local Liberal Club through many elections of one kind or another. They have promoted the “Women’s place in the Liberal Party” as well as to keep their members informed on Women’ place in Canadian politics.
In the early years, this group decided that since our district was an agricultural area that they would award a scholarship to a student from the South Peace High School, so this award was set up and many annual card parties were held to raise the $75 a year. Later it was raised to $100 for each scholarship. One of the early winners was Arlan Dokken who grew up on a farm at North Rolla. In more recent years awards were a musical bursary for a piano student, given through the South Peace Bursary Fund. Another item of interest was when the Laurier Club wrote to the late Senator Turgeon, Cariboo MP, and asked that he use his influence to procure a leave of absence for Mrs Margaret Bullen from her position as Post Mistress in Dawson Creek so she could take a trip to Scotland. Mrs Bullen had not been back to her home in Scotland in some 20 years. The Club soon had a letter back from Senator Turgeon saying he was happy to say that the request had been granted and Mrs Bullen had her trip.
The highlight of each year was the Club’s annual birthday supper, where members and husbands and friends enjoyed a turkey supper with a birthday cake along with an evening of Military Whist and the presentation of flowers to the Lady Laurier Lady-of-the-Year.
As the years went by, many of the members moved to other parts of the country and the club gradually faded out. However, we often wonder why so few women enter the field of politics when there are so many unmarried and widows who could participate actively and yet they do not. Do the Canadian Women deserve the hard won right to vote? Sometimes I wonder if those intrepid, determined Canadian women who struggled to obtain female suffrage for us would be disappointed in our apathy towards the government of our country — Dr Emily Stone, Nellie McClung and Agnes McPhail and the others who fought for Women’s Rights.