Nellie McClung statue unveiled in MB

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6079_Smith_W
Nellie McClung statue unveiled in MB

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2010/06/18/mb-nellie-mcclung-statue-winnipe...

Glad to see this happen, especially since I know there was some opposition to building a statue to her. I believe this is the only monument in Winnipeg to a specific woman who is not a monarch (there are monuments to women serving in the armed forces, and to the Grey Nuns.

Considering the legislature has long been home to a monument (however deserved) to a male politician who never set foot in Manitoba, McClung's statue is long overdue.

Issues Pages: 
Cytizen H

Personally I'm not in any rush to build statues of people who actively advocated for the sterilization of the differently abled.

Nest you'll tell us we should build an Emily Murphy statue. PASS!

oldgoat

I didn't know that Cytizen H, but here it is!

 

That's pretty disappointing, but I'm inclined to agree with you.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Precisely the reason the ancient Greeks required public statuary of mortals to be made of wood, not stone.

[ETA: and this OP is an excellent candidate for transportation to the Prairies forum and out of introductions]

6079_Smith_W

Yup. That's what I am talking about.

If we want to hold the past up to modern standards we could also talk about Tommy Douglas considering homosexuality a sickness (even if it was in the context of decriminalizing it). Go back a century or more and you'll find that a lot of reformers held values we would find pretty repugnant today.

I think her most important work - standing up for the equal right to vote, and establishing that women are human beings - is well worth honouring and should not be overshadowed by values that we now see are not fair, but may have been meant in a compssionate, not a discriminatory way.

 

And I made a mistake. Taras Shevchenko was a public figure, writer and artist, but not a politician.

 

And bagkitty. Start tearing down the past and we might start thinking we are actually smarter and better than those who came before us, instead of building on their hard work. I assure you, we won't look too modern in 100 years either.

Cytizen H

6079_Smith_W wrote:

If we want to hold the past up to modern standards we could also talk about Tommy Douglas considering homosexuality a sickness (even if it was in the context of decriminalizing it). Go back a century or more and you'll find that a lot of reformers held values we would find pretty repugnant today.

I think her most important work - standing up for the equal right to vote, and establishing that women are human beings - is well worth honouring and should not be overshadowed by values that we now see are not fair, but may have been meant in a compssionate, not a discriminatory way.

 

Mcclung's work on having women recognized as people should of course be honoured. But building a statue to someone whose views , even in a different time, are directly contrary to current standards of decency is not something I can get behind. i wouldn't support a statue of Tommy Douglas, either. Not in public, with public funds. It's hard to give a statue context. It kind of just says "This person's great!" Not this person did great things. If we gotta build statues, I'd rather they be done for women who are doing things now. My vote is a statue of d.bi young. Or, maybe, Libby Davies?

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

6079... yep, that was pretty much my point too... but mine has the fussy reference to classical Greece...

Hey I was in a four year program at a time when the university was focused on churning out degrees in three years... I had time for a minor in Classics.Wink

6079_Smith_W

I hear you all, and respect your opinions, but we'll have to agree to disagree.

If that were the standard required then there would be no monuments to commemorate our history, because only imaginary gods would be worthy enough to be up there.

 

Cytizen H

Bingo!

That's why I prefer storytelling to monuments. Gives a chance for perspective, slant, humour, magic, satire, context, etc. (full disclosure: I am a theatre artist. Bias noted)

vaudree

People are judged, both by the values of their time that they questioned and the values of their time that they didn't question. Nellie McClung was no friend of those with epilepsy but she did believe that those who were not Anglo-Saxon were equal to those who were. She had more respect for the hardy prairie women who often worked the farm than she did the wealthy city woman, whom she compared to hothouse flowers. McClung's eugenic beliefs were most evident in her pacifism in that she argued that war took the strongest men and left behind the weaker ones to reproduce.

McClung saw prostitutes as being the victims of unscrupulous men. On page 77 of In Times Like These she talked of a 13 year old girl whose dying mother sent her to live in Canada with her brother but was kidnapped off the train and forced into prostitution. McClung referred to the girl as "this sweet child" and was calling for stricter laws against those who did this to her. On the next page she said that Christ saw women who would not stick up for the women forced into white slavery (as she called it) as fallen women. Not just the prostitutes were fallen women but also those who refused to help them and refused to go after those who exploited them - the so-called proper ladies who cared about no one but themselves.

In the lesson that comes with McClung's Minute, they quote her saying that she was hushed up - which she was until the very next sentence in the book - and also that she played football with her students at recess when she taught school. Even though McClung never played hockey, our gold medal hockey team owe her a debt of gratitude for making playing sports an acceptable pastime for women.

McClung once debated Clarence Darrow (the lawyer who defended Evolution in the bible belt) about prohibition. Darrow figured that he had come up with an argument that a lady of McClung's upbringing could not dispute - and started talking about the pleasures of alcohol going down - the aroma, the taste. Afterwards, McClung noted that while Darrow spoke very elloquently of the pleasures of alcohol going down, he omitted the pleasures of alcohol coming up - and then gave a large belch.

And let's not forget the Mock Parliament and that Manitoba was the first Province that offered universal suffrage to women (Quebec women with property had it for a while and then lost it because men were marrying First Nation women so they took the right away from all women) - as McClung wrote. I did not word it very well, but I think the point she was trying to make was that all women were in this together, even though she was not able to gain the suffrage for First Nation women.

My two great grandmothers were fans of hers.

 

Cytizen H

vaudree>

thank you for that. says way more than a statue ever could.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Bah. Commemorative statues or so nineteenth century.

Anyway, moving to the Prairies forum.

Unionist

McClung is a hero of our history and deserves a statue as much as any other hero.

If we were to gauge everyone by current standards, we could only erect statues to the as-yet unborn. The economy would take a huge hit.

And Cytizen H, if you're so concerned about Nellie McClung's views on the differently abled, why not Google Tommy Douglas's M.A. thesis and his support for eugenics (in addition to his plea for treating homosexuality as a disease, as mentioned above)?

And then, of course, we all know about Jesus Christ and his draconian and violent attitude to entrepeneurs exercising their freedom of usury expression.

 

vaudree

Thanks!

Nellie McClung played a role in shaping Manitoba's history.  And, as we can all attest, Premier Duff Roblin was a fine improvement over his grandfather Premier Rodmond Roblin who McClung parodied so well in her Mock Parliament.

Tommy Douglas also spent time in Manitoba during the 1919 strike and he would be a fine addition - along with David Orlikow (who doesn't yet have a statue but, in my opinion, deserves one).

The only other female statue that I can remember at the Leg is Queen Victoria.

Considering that there are a lot of people from Ontario on this board, maybe I should mention that the original statue of Louis Riel at the Leg was moved and replaced with a more respectful one.  His mother was Julie Lagimodiere.  Julie Lagimodiere's older sister Riene was the first legitimate white child born in the west.  There are even schools named after Louis Riel's grandmother - Marie-Anne Gaboury.  There were plenty of strong women in his life - trail blazers.

Cytizen H

Unionist wrote:

And Cytizen H, if you're so concerned about Nellie McClung's views on the differently abled, why not Google Tommy Douglas's M.A. thesis and his support for eugenics (in addition to his plea for treating homosexuality as a disease, as mentioned above)?

And then, of course, we all know about Jesus Christ and his draconian and violent attitude to entrepeneurs exercising their freedom of usury expression.

 

What an interesting tactic... have a problem with this thing? well don't look at that, look at THIS! Where have I seen that before...

And I'm fairly certain I've never spoken out publicly in support for either Tommy Douglas or Jesus Christ. As I said above, I think there are bettter ways to commemorate the amazing work of inspiring individuals than statues and memorials. Like I said, I prefer stories.

Star Spangled C...

Outside the building where I work is a statue of Thomas Jefferson. A great thinker and writer, an important statesman and also an owner of slaves. Obviously, slavery was an evil institution but can we judge Jefferson by today's more enlightened standards? I honestly don't know the answer.

No Yards No Yards's picture

I really hope that in 100 years (hopefully sooner) when all humanity is equal, and poverty has disappeared, that they will all look back at us in "the west" and call us extreme barbarians because no matter who we are we decided to work at relatively high paying jobs why others in this century lived in poverty.

In 100 years, the though that anyone would have to live in poverty, or that anyone else would allow that to happen, will probably be unthinkable. Not only that, but they may not care that in this century the common though was that "we still have to make a living" was considered a valid excuse.

So no progressive deeds anyone does, until such time as the world doesn't need people who do progressive deeds, is worthy of recognition?

skdadl

Thanks very much for filling in that much of McClung's history, vaudree. One of my aunts, who became a social worker in Edmonton during WWI, knew and worked with McClung for several years. It's remarkable how many women of that time (Aunt Carrie would have been born in 1892, I think) did make such a social leap, given the oppressive conventions they were trained to, and against which they pretty much had to live out their lives -- I watched some of that, and it started my mind moving when I was a teenager in the fifties and sixties.

When you mentioned your grandmothers, you made me think of Aunt Carrie, and now I'm sitting here sniffling, remembering the several times she said just a few encouraging but unconventional words that reminded me to stiffen my spine and be a woman, eh? *grin*

I don't think Aunt Carrie was ever into eugenics, but I know that it was broadly considered a progressive interest well into the 1930s, Tommy being a well-known example in Canada. The "temperance" movement -- similar phenom, very much a cause of some late C19 / early C20 feminists. Some of these single-issue causes need to be grasped in historical context -- at least, they interest me that way.

Shouldn't this thread be in the feminism forum? The history of the women's movement is complex, given how far back it goes, and feminists for sure don't agree on much of it, even the more recent history, but perhaps ...

Cytizen H

I was originally going to insert a JC joke to lighten the mood of my post, but at the last second thought that it might offend some, and I don't have any Tommy Douglas jokes.... didn't mean to sound upset.

Unionist

Cytizen H wrote:

And I'm fairly certain I've never spoken out publicly in support for either Tommy Douglas or Jesus Christ.

Don't get so upset. I never said you supported them. I was just giving some examples of fairly popular figures, whom a lot of people support for good motives, but who wouldn't pass muster under an a-historical microscope such as the one you are using.

remind remind's picture

 agree with skdadl this should be in the feminist forum.

skdadl

remind wrote:

 agree with skdadl this should be in the feminist forum.

remind, the longer I think about this, the more I agree with both you and myself. ;)

It's called RESPECT, eh?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Cytizen H wrote:

Bingo!

That's why I prefer storytelling to monuments. Gives a chance for perspective, slant, humour, magic, satire, context, etc. (full disclosure: I am a theatre artist. Bias noted)

I'm a storyteller myself, CH, through the media and have a background in theatre - but the world has room for apples and oranges both, yes?  Stories have their value, but they are ephemeral, and the retelling changes with our ages. 

As a writer and doc maker, I've always felt that historical context is incredibly important.  If you're looking for the perfect human for all ages, impervious to the tics, quirks and prejudices of the culture and understanding of his or her era, there will be no stories worth telling - never mind statues to unveil. 

Todrick of Chat...
remind remind's picture

You know they may well be 18th century Catchfire, and I am not big on awards, etc. either....

However, for little girls out there who see nothing but memorial statues of men, there is a reality meant to be perceived, which is that;

"no women are worth having a statue for"

...so it is internalized that we women did/do nothing of note, only that men do...

 

I say; " either take all the statue of men laying about and get rid of them, or start adding women in history to the mix"....

remind remind's picture

skdadl wrote:
remind wrote:

 agree with skdadl this should be in the feminist forum.

remind, the longer I think about this, the more I agree with both you and myself. ;)

It's called RESPECT, eh?

 

definitely as opposed to try and disparage it, and perhaps prevent it from happening.

 

 

was going to go on a rant about this thread earlier, but decided to wait and see what kind of commentary and by whom, occured.

 

..am going to flag your post, :D as I cannot flag my own, to get a mod to move it again.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Of course there are statues... and then there are statues....

Quote:
On 10 October 1877, Custer's remains were buried at West Point. A large number of officials and civilians turned out for the event, as well as the entire cadet brigade. The cadets marched at a slow pace with their rifles carried in reverse. Three volleys were fired over the grave, and the cadets slowly marched away.

Two years later a bronze statue of Custer was erected on a knoll across the road from the Mess hall. More than 3000 visitors attended the dedication. Congress had authorized the use of 20 bronze cannon for making the statue. The statue showed a Custer larger than life in full dress uniform and wearing jackboots and holding with arms stretched outwardly a saber in the right hand and a pistol in the left. General Schoefield learned from Mrs Custer, who was very protective of her husband's image, that she had not been consulted about the sculptor, Wilson MacDonald, whom she thought was not notable enough to be worthy of the task. She felt that the face of the statue was too old looking, the uniform improper, and that the statue displayed her husband as being armed like a desperado. She tried to stop the dedication of the statue, but it was too late. Through her persistent efforts however, she succeeded in having the statue removed in 1884 by order of the then Secretary of War Robert Lincoln. For many years the statue was stored in a shed at West Point. Mrs Custer, still not satisfied, requested that the statue be removed entirely from the premises. The whereabouts of the statue is unknown. Perhaps it was donated as scrap metal during WW II. The stone base of the statue was placed at the head of Custer's grave, and Mrs. Custer had a granite obelisk added in 1905.

 

remind remind's picture

Please could this thread be moved?

 

Bagkitty do you really think that an appropriate anecdotal story for this thread?

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Yes I think it is entirely appropriate.  I think the the debate on building monuments to individuals who history has shown them to be (in some cases - like the little anecdote I tossed in) outright bastards, some of whom are tragically flawed and some of whom are trapped in their own time is a worthwhile one.

Rather than a specific discussion of Nellie McClung, I think the discussion should be about memorials, statues, this whole penchant for trying to establish heroes. And I think for the first 48 hours the thread was in existence, that was what was being talked around. While we could rehash Nellie McClung's personal history (and I don't think such a rehash would be without value) - I would much prefer seeing the discussion branch out.

An excellent example of where I would like to see this discussion go would be an examination of this whole practice of naming public buildings, schools, streets, hell even mountains, after people. Personally, I love the Quebec law that enforces at least a one year wait until after the individual has died before something is named after them... much preferable to my view than the practice here in Alberta (and in most of the anglosphere) of things being named after defeated politicians shortly after they shuffle out of office.

If you want to have a discussion on feminist icons of the early part of the last century and how some of their views are anethema to modern feminism, I think that would be an excellent thread. I just don't think it is this thread.

[ETA: and if such a thread is created, I think it would be valuable to consider the influence of Margaret Sanger too, probably because I think her contributions, in many respects, address concerns that are more contemporary in nature]

skdadl

Wow.

remind, I'll follow your lead. I'm too scared to say more.

remind remind's picture

welllll....I guess we women folk have been told, eh, skdadl.....

remind remind's picture

Breathtaking nerve with overtones, or would it be undertones, of superficiality, is an apt description actually.

 

...guess that is why it is call history as opposed to herstory!

 

 

skdadl

We had some nice male allies though, remind.

It's not just the breathtaking dismissal of Canadian women's history (in a thread whose title starts off with Nellie McClung's name) that bothers me. It's the sudden superficiality about social history too. Nellie McClung reminds anyone of General Custer?!? Those two stories raise the same kinds of historical questions? Not to me, boyz.

Who should be starting a new thread to talk about -- ah, what was the topic? statues? lol.

They gotta lotta noive, eh, remind?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Hum. I made my comment rather tongue in cheek--but my actual position is closer to remind's at #20:

Quote:
I am not big on awards, etc. either....

However, for little girls out there who see nothing but memorial statues of men, there is a reality meant to be perceived, which is that;

"no women are worth having a statue for"

...so it is internalized that we women did/do nothing of note, only that men do...

 I say; " either take all the statue of men laying about and get rid of them, or start adding women in history to the mix"....

I certainly didn't mean to start an existential discussion about statues. I don't want to indict anyone here (least of all myself), but it is telling that a post about a great Canadian feminist hero getting recognized "innocently" leads to a discussion about whether or not statues on the whole should be erected (heh heh heh). It's a wonder such conversations erupt when honouring a woman is involved.

I hold my hand up for contriuting to the drift and not putting on my feminist goggles this morning. For that reason, I am happily moving this thread to the FF, but I also want to acknowledge oldgoat's link @ post#3 to Elizabeth McClung's (no relation) blog "Screw Bronze!", which is hands down my favourite disablity rights blog, and whose feminist credentials are certainly in tact--I can't invalidate her righteous resistance to the canonization of Nellie McClung.

remind remind's picture

Ya, well...on that note, I just wanna to point out that men indicating to such a thing, is equivalent to white people using the "N" word because persons of colour do.

skdadl

Gosh, Catchfire. You make it all sound so ... trivial.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Wow remind. Who needs collegiality, eh? I'll remember that the next time I feel like reaching out.

ETA. Cross-posted with skdadl. Ok, I'm a bit baffled now. What am I missing?

skdadl

There's only one way to apologize, Catchfire, and it doesn't involve having the last word.

remind remind's picture

ya, and I just wanna ask what is with the penis and ejaculation references catchfire, and  your school boy "heh heh heh"? do you really think that is appropriate?

 

and frankly your feminist goggles should always be on.

remind remind's picture

Sorry, forgot 'thank you for moving it anyway'.

 

Oh....and for your "reaching out", I feel so honoured....  :rolleyes:

 

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Hmm. I didn't mean to delegitimize your concerns. I was simply trying to participate in the jocular reparté (perhaps clumsily)in which you were enaged, and which masked how seriously you took this issue. I'm not sure how else I could have highlighted and validated those concerns. I'm sorry you felt I was trivializing them. Of course I don't mean to.

skdadl

Catchfire, you and oldgoat both started out being thoughtless and superficial, as several male allies later pointed out (and bless them for that).

You had a chance to read vaudree's very moving (I thought) first post about McClung, but at that point, the smart-mouthery was still tending to dismissal of something as flimsy as Canadian women's history.

And then when you got called on both -- the sexist smart-mouthery and the superificiality in terms of social history -- you turned to bad jokes and pretension.

I don't like fighting, Catchfire. I'm not used to this level of contention, as I think you know. I think that it is worth noting that all the women who continue to comment at babble are exceptionally strong thinkers and writers. There aren't many of them, but they are bluidy strong. And there's a reason for that.

remind remind's picture

good post skdadl

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Ok, remind. I see how I've been remiss, and where I misunderstood. Thank you. I think this has been about me for long enough, though. Should we get back to the thread topic now?

remind remind's picture

Catchfire wrote:
which masked how seriously you took this issue.

The topic of the thread should have been indication enough on how women  in Canada would take this. How could we take it other than seriously?

Prior to the fight she embodies, we were not people.

 

Just think about that for a minute, eh....

 

My mom was born a non-human, as were my grandmothers and their mothers before them. I experienced everyday of my life, the results of their being chattel property, at one point in their life. In fact, you wanna know what, I still experience it. That level of inequality indoctrination  is hard to get rid of in 1-2 generations.

 

Thankfully, and because of Nellie McClung's actions, and other women like her, my granddaughter does not "feel" this residual effect too much.

 

The silence of  no women participating in such a thread, should have been an even greater indicator. Then it became "all you can do is laugh, because you are so goddamn sick of talking, crying and yelling", especially in this day and age and at this forum. At least for me,  as I do not want to co-opt skdadl's emotions on this.

 

Quote:
I'm not sure how else I could have highlighted and validated those concerns. I'm sorry you felt I was trivializing them. Of course I don't mean to.

 

again, I do not know whether to laugh or cry...but thank you for your apology.Though it makes me pissy that I have to now thank you for your apology

remind remind's picture

OFFS, I take it back, thanks but no thanks......as you obviously have NOT seen.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

remind, I meant what I said in my last post. Your post #43 made it clear to me what I missed, and I sincerely thank you. And I really think I've taken up too much of this thread.

skdadl

Catchfire, as you know, I adore you, as I do oldgoat. I even like Unionist, and No Yards is a total peach. So many such cute men. Gosh, but men are cute.

But I'm going to sleep now. Peace be upon you all, and see you in the morning.

I'm glad we made friends again, remind. I have felt sort of sorry about that for a while. *hugs*

remind remind's picture

Have a good nights sleep skdadl...me too on the sorry... hugzzzz!

Cytizen H

Remind, Skdadl,

I want to start by apologizing if I contributed to anything you found offensive in this thread. Also, apologizing in advance if I offend with the following questions. Please believe that this comes from a genuine place of wanting to understand what's going on here. Honestly, I don't understand quite what the issue is here. The thread title is about the unveiling of a statue of Nellie Mcclung. I was the first to say anything at all disparaging about Ms. Mcclung, but I was quick to add that, of course, the amazing work done by Ms. Mcclung should be honoured and remembered.  I don't think anyone has questioned that. The discussion about the erection of statues and memorials is not a trivial one as I see it. I think it is a very interesting topic. Obviously it is not one for the feminism forum, but that's not where this thread started. So, again, apologies if I am being insensitive. I really don't mean to be. I am making an honest attempt at understanding the issue that has been raised. Any help is greatly appreciated.

remind remind's picture

na thanks, it is quite clear in this thread what  is up,  and I believe you know quite well what you did and are doing.

 

 

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