The Valiant Nellie McClung: Selected Writings By Canada’s Most Famous Suffragist – Barbara Smith & Nellie McClung (2016)


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Nellie McClung is renowned for being one of Canada’s Famous Five: the five women who petitioned the Government of Canada to have the definition of “persons” in the British North America Act of 1867 expanded to include women. This book is a brief biography on McClung, and a compilation of her columns in the Times- Colonist in Victoria, BC. Ranging from 1936-1942, McClung covers a variety of topics, from the mundane (gardening and dusting) to the political (Nazism and immigration). It is clear that McClung is a Christian Temperate, and those beliefs do not budge throughout the timeline of this book, but what does change is her opinion on the Nazi Regime – while never a fan of it, she is impressed by Hitler’s ability to fire up the youth of Germany; but by the end of the book, she admits that Canada, and herself included, was blind to the evil and destructive nature of Nazi Germany. She calls for acts of Christian charity, argues that accepting Jewish refugees would better Canada, and that if we refused them we would bitterly regret it (which we do), she argued that the rounding up of Japanese people on the west coast was too much like Nazism and that as Canadians we should be ashamed of those acts (which we are). Very much an author of her time, McClung’s views and values would be relevant today. Where this book struggles is in McClung’s tendency to follow a tangent. She begins a column with one thought, but rarely circles back to a sensible conclusion, and more often than not finished with a praise of God or God’s creation. (199 pages)

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