Agnes culture by supporting disadvantaged groups. She

AgnesMacphailAgnesMacphail once said, “Do not rely completely on any other human being, howeverdear. We meet all life’s greatest tests alone.” Agnes Macphail was a Canadian Politianand was the first women elected to the House of Commons. Macphail grew up inProton Township, Grey County until she attended school in Stratford to become ateacher. She was born on March 24, 1980, to a Scottish family and passed awayon February 13, 1954 as a result of a heart attack.

Agnes Macphail wasinstrumental in influencing Canadian culture by supporting disadvantagedgroups. She was a women’s rights advocate, an advocate for the poor and shefought for prison reforms.AgnesMacphail influenced Canadian culture by supporting disadvantaged groups as shewas a women’s right advocate who tirelessly fought for women’s equality.Firstly, she overcame many extensive barriers to the democratic participationof women. Macphail became the first women Member of Parliament and was the onlywomen in the House of Commons until 1935.

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In parliament, she fought for therights of many marginalized groups, including women. Agnes Macphail was alsoone of the first two women elected to the Ontario legislature, where she servedas a Member of Provincial Parliament from 1943-1945 and then again from1948-1951. Lastly, Macphail was the first Canadian women delegate to the Leagueof Nations, where she served on the disarmament committee. Author, TabithaMarshall stated that, “she went into politics for what she could do forpolitics, not what politics could do for her.” This quote is explaining how AgnesMacphail chose to fight for groups like women, not for her own benefit, but sothat she may make changes to views of the these groups in parliament. Secondly,she was involved in many programs that assisted women.

Agnes Macphail was thefounder of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Canada. This society was created tosupport women who are in trouble with the law. Today, Elizabeth Fry Societiesare distributed all throughout Canada, and have helped to substantially reducethe number of criminalized women. Macphail was also a member of the Women’sInternational League of Peace and Freedom, where she collectively conversedabout and listened to the political views of women, to determine the solutionfor permanent peace. Lastly, Macphail aimed to end legal discrimination againstwomen.

In 1925, she succeeded in modifying the grounds for divorce. Thismodification allowed men and women to divorce for the same reasons, and madedivorce for women more attainable. Thus, Macphail influenced the Canadianculture by doing astounding things to fight for women’s equality. Not only didshe fight for the rights of women, but also for the poorMacphailinfluenced Canadian culture by supporting disadvantaged groups as a foundingmember of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) and an advocate forthe poor during the depression. Firstly, she fought for injustices againstfarmers as a representative member of the United Farmers of Ontario. During theGreat Depression, the Canadian government put high tariffs on foreign goods,which benefited manufacturers but not farmers.

As a daughter of farmers, andsomeone who grew up around farmers, Macphail felt deep sympathy for them. Shefought to have these high tariffs abolished, giving farmers the ability to buycheaper, American equipment. Secondly, Macphail spoke on behalf of the workingclass. She fought against the poor working conditions many people suffered fromduring the depression. For example, long hours, harmful carcinogens anddangerous machinery. Macphail also campaigned against unequitable pay.

She feltthat everyone, despite race, religion or gender, should receive an equitablesalary. Author, Will Ferguson stated, “Agnes Macphail was funny, took no grufffrom men, but most importantly, she had an immense impact on Canadian politics.”Her willingness to continually fight for the working class led to positive changesin worker treatment. As a result of MacPhail’s impact on politics, Ontario’sfirst equal pay legislation was introduced in 1951. Lastly, Agnes Macphailcampaigned to introduce programs that would support all people during thedepression. She promoted the deprivatization of industries and theestablishment of a welfare state.

The welfare state would see the introductionof health insurance, unemployment insurance and common pensions. Macphailplayed a monumental role in the negotiations that saw the introduction of oldage pensions during 1926. In conclusion, Agnes Macphail Agnes Macphailsupported disadvantaged groups and influenced Canadian culture by fighting forequal rights and fair treatment of prisoners. Firstly, Macphail pushed to haveprograms available for prisoners to help improve their physical and mentalhealth. She promoted education for illiterate prisoners, increased exercise andoutdoor activity. She also promoted the encouragement of communication betweenprisoners.

Secondly, Macphail demanded improvements to the treatment ofprisoners. After witnessing the conditions prisoners endured at prisons sheconcluded that their treatment was completely uncivilized. She witnessedprisoners strapped to walls with huge welts on their skin from leather straps. Macphailcampaigned for reduced corporal punishment, as she felt the methods of torturewere entirely unnecessary. She also encouraged the instigation of prison labour.Participation in prison labour would teach prisoners necessary skills and buildcharacter. The money generated in prison labour would be used by the inmates totransition back into society when they were released.

Lastly, her efforts tomake changes to prison reforms encouraged the establishment of many laws andsystems outlining the rights of prisoners. Macphail said, “Give us a penalsystem which reforms as well as disciples the anti-social members of societyconfined in prisons.” In 1939, when the Penitentiary Bill was passed containingeighty-eight recommendations for changes to the penal system, that fulfilledher goals regarding the treatment of prisoners. For example, her goals ofachieving reduced corporal punishment, prison labour and education forprisoners. Therefore, Agnes Macphail made important changes to prison reforms,which helped to create a civilized and fair penal system.

AgnesMacphail was instrumental in influencing Canadian culture by supportingdisadvantaged groups. She fought for women equality, was an advocate for thepoor, and fought for changes in prison reforms. Agnes Macphail had an immenseimpact on Canadian politics. Her acceptance towards all races, ethnicities,religions, genders and willingness to stand up for these marginalized groups,had a drastic impact on forming the inclusive society Canada has today.


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