Posted by Nick Aroutzidis on Oct 28, 2018
November 1, 2018: Dr Shelley MacDermid-Wadsworth, “The Legacy of Student Exchange”, Angus or Joan MacDermid will introduce, and Norm Bird will thank our speaker.

Head Table:  Our President Paul Roulston, invites, Angus and Joan MacDermid, Elizabeth Gaffney, Charlene Gordon, Mike Gruszczynski, Bob Gulliford, Katherine Hahn and Sarah Hamza, to join him at the head table.

Today at Rotary:   It seems extraordinary in 2018 that it was only 100 years ago that women gained the right to vote in Canada!  We take the democratic right to vote very seriously and know that it is a right enjoyed by all citizens over the age of 18.  But for women, gaining the vote was a great struggle, carried on by courageous, principled women in the face of patronizing ignorance, which was sometimes violent and always demeaning.  Dr Jean Hewitt, an accomplished and respected author, speaker, historian, advocate and contributor to the community, spoke to Rotary Stratford about the early years of this struggle in Canada, identifying some of the leading figures in what she called “the first wave” – from the 19th C to 1930.
 
 
Program speaker Dr Jean Hewitt discussing a “Celebration of Women”.
 
 
It is interesting that the women whose impact on gaining the vote was so significant were often successful in other parts of their lives.  Mary Ann Shad founded a newspaper in 1840’s Ontario which advocated for both suffrage and the abolition of slavery; Emily Howard Stowe who founded the Toronto Literary Club in 1883 which became the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association was also the first woman doctor in Ontario; in 1874 Letitia Youmans founded the Women’s Temperance Union which was the largest woman’s organization in N.A and was a major advocate for women’s political power.
 
The provincial vote for women in Canada came slowly beginning in 1916 in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta and lastly in Quebec in 1940.   It was WWI that saw the vote extended at the federal level to women by Prime Minister Borden, more because he needed the votes of women to secure his conscription bill than out of a recognition of fairness and equality.  But at least Canada was not as tardy as Switzerland which only enfranchised women in 1984.
 
Other women stand out in the early 20thC – Emily Murphy, Irene Palby, Roberta McAdams, but perhaps one more than the others.  Agnes McPhail was the first woman elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1921 and had another career in Ontario as the first woman provincial MPP in 1945.  And a Stratford connection is her teacher training at the Normal School here.
 
The objections raised by men and society to extending voting rights were many and often ridiculous, at least to us nowadays.  Women might abandon domestic responsibilities and neglect family and husbands; women are foolish and not able to talk of serious matters; women who sought suffrage were most often ugly losers who were unable to “get a man”.  But not only men were necessarily opposed the vote for women – Queen Victoria felt that it was inappropriate (odd given her exercise of political power while married and managing a prominent family). 
 
In Canada, a good deal of the problem was that the 1867 BNA Act did not recognize a woman as a “person”.  It was overcoming that most basic of inequities and the mindset that it engendered before lasting further progress could be possible.   Indeed, there is still some way to go before women reach a true share in the exercise of political and economic power which is based on respect and inclusion.  The #MeToo movement may be the next stage – the next “wave”, and we shall have to wait to see how it unfolds.
 
Dr Hewitt says that she remains an optimist about human cultural progress and that while there are always setbacks, women will reach their goal and society will be stronger for it.
 
 
Scribe – Guy Chadsey
 
Our newest member David Braye ( Salvation Army) introduced by Dan Scarborough and welcomed by president Paul.
 
Results of the Catch the Ace draw which ended last week and netted the club about $45000.
 
 
Our Catch the Ace Grand Winner Hanne Gould winning $37,877.
 
Rotarian Michael Fox announcing the successful completion of the Writers contest last Saturday with thanks to all.
 
 
Winner of the best costume prize at the meeting chick magnet Doug Brown who also thanked the speaker. Hmmm!!.
 
 
Guests:  Today we welcomed April Haggert - Vice-President Rotaract Club of Stratford, Denise Ferguson, David Braye, Hanna Gould - Stratford - Winner of Catch the Ace.
 
Draw: The prize today was donated by Nick Aroutzidis and Patricia Riehl was the winner.
 
Make-ups: No report. 
 
 
Respite House Update
July  1, 2018- Sept 30, 2018
 
Weekends of Respite                      13
Weeknight overnights                      3
Mondays & Wednesdays(4-8pm)     3
Total days of respite                             67
Total children served                          175- since January 16, 2004
 
What’s New:
1. 2 new children began visits to the house since December 1, 2018.
2. We supported 38 children this summer in our Day Camp.     
3. We continue to provide extra overnight respite to a 2 young adults between the ages of 18-21 years of age.
4. We continue to provide extra respite at the house to a high needs child with autism being raised by his grandmother.
 
 
November’s Attendance Committee: Jim Young (I/C), Marcia Matsui, Dave Skinner, Philip Schroeder, Gerry Thuss, Sue Wakelin, Clark Mitchell, Carolyn Blackburn.