Notes on Emily Murphy


((p. 67))

It was while the first provincial legislatur was sitting that Mrs.
Emily Murphy, born in Cookstown, Ontario, in 1868, was educated at Bishop
Strachan\'s School in Toronto. In 1904 she and her husband moved to
Winnipeg where Mrs. Murphy conducted the literary section of the Winnipeg
Tribune for a few years before moving to Alberta in 1907. In her new home
Mrs. Murphy came very active in civic affairs, especially in the attainment
of las for the betterment of conditions for women and children. On June
13, 1916 she was appointed a police magistrate for the City of Edmonton,
the first woman in the British empire to hold such a post. Under the
[enname "Janey Canuck," Mrs. Murphy wrote many books and articles mirroring
western life, some of which found their way into both British and American
publications.

The Rutherford government was framing a law to give women certain dower
rights, and Mrs. Murphy disapproved of some of its provisions. Single-handed
she went before the (( p. 68 )) committee on legislation and argued with
such success that the bill, when passed, was substantially as she wished.
It was on this occasion that Mrs. Murphy, most hapily married to the
Reverend Arthur Murphy, received a letter from a grateful but misinformed
pioneer woman who wrote:"God bless you, Janey Canuck, I have a troublesome
husband too."

((p. 71))

Not content with vague anticipation of benefits to be conferred in some
shadowy future, Mrs. McClung and Mrs. Murphy joind forces to call upon
Sifton on March 2 and ask that a suffrage bill be introduced at that very
session. Other cabinet members were also interviewed. The local press
account does not reveal how the gentlemen fared at this meeting but the
premier\'s comment upon its conclusion was simply, "Mrs. McClung and Mrs.
Murphy are very determined women."

((p. 74))

The passage of time and the exercise of political power whetted rather
than dulled the appetite of Alberta women. Marshalled by Judge Murphy,
five veterans of the suffrage campaing fced the conservative stonghold of
the Red Chamber at Ottawa, the Supreme Court of Canada, and even the august
Privy Council in London to prove that women are "persons" in the eyes of
the law, and consequently entitled to membership in the federal senate.
The Alberta government, alone of the nine provinces, loyally supported the
women in this eventful struggle, sending its attorney-general, Hon. J. F.
Lymburn, to London to assist Hon. N. W. Rowell in pleading their cause.
For the further emancipation which was an outcome of the successful
termination of the Persons Case, the women of all Canada owe a debt of
gratitude to (( p.75 )) those of this prairie province who wove reality out
of a dream of complete political equality.

- Sifton government appointed Mrs. Murphy and Mrs. Jamieson to act as
police magistrates. (Jamieson was appointed in December, Murphy in June)

- (p. 141) Murphy is fighting to prove that women are "persons" in section
24 British North America Act. "In the minds of most women there never
existed much doubt about whether or not they were persons, legal minds
found this point highly contentious until that day in Oct. 1929 when Lord
Chancellor Sankey, reading the opinion of the highest tribunal in the
British empire, concluded that women are "persons" in the eyes of the law
and hence entitled to be summoned to the Canadian senate.

- (p. 142) Mrs. Murphy was appointed as police magistrate to preside over
the newly created Women\'s Court in Edmonton. The first day she was accused
(by the defendent) of not being a "person" under the British North America
Act and had no right to be holding court anyway. The judge held her peace,
relying upon the provincial government to prove, if necessary, that she was
a "peron."

- (p. 143) the delegates from all eight of the provinces represented
unanimously endorsed a resolution requesting Prime Minister Borden to
appoint a woman to the senate. Many other women\'s organizations soon
followed suit, including the powerful National Council of Women.

- (p. 143) In January 1921 the Montreal Women\'s Club, under the leadership
of Mrs. John Scott, abandoned the vague request for appointment of "a
woman" and asked Prime Minister Arthur Meighen point-blank to name Mrs.
Emily Murphy to the senate as soon as there should be a vacancy. Mr.
Meighen courteously said no, for the law officers of the Crown had advised
him that the nomination of a woman was impossible. Notwithstanding the
rebuff, Mrs. Murphy was pleased that she, a westerne, had been singled out
as the candidate of a