March 8, 1955 (22nd Parliament, 2nd Session)


Charles Gavan Power


Hon. C. G. Power (Quebec South):

Mr. Speaker, ladies and gentlemen: It is indeed an honour to participate in this ceremony of tribute to an outstanding parliamentarian, Miss Agnes Campbell Macphail, the first woman member of the House of Commons of Canada.
The very fact that Miss Macphail was the first representative of her sex to sit in this chamber would have placed her in the public eye, irrespective of her personal qualities. But her unique position alone does not explain the respect she won and the influence she played in Canada's national life. Personal qualities of intelligence, courage and unselfish industry were the real factors in her rise to prominence.
At the outset the position of Miss Macphail was difficult indeed. She was at once breaking a tradition and, at the same time, pioneering an advance in the political mores of a nation. Sensational headlines were anticipated: her native dignity precluded the roles of the shrinking violet, the flapper hoyden or the crusading virago.


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