Search billions of records on

The Register

Wednesday Evening, August 10, 1938

Jubilee of Institutes Observed at Halifax

Mrs. Nellie McClung, Noted Authoress and Honorable Cairine Wilson, Canada's First Woman
Senator, Heard in Stirring Addresses - Practically All Institutes of Province Represented

Twenty-five years of service was celebrated by the Women’s Institutes of Nova Scotia at the Silver Jubilee Convention held at Halifax, August 3rd, and 4th, at which two of Canada’s outstanding women, Mrs. Nellie L. McClung, authoress, and Mrs. Cairine Wilson, only woman Senator, were the chief speakers. Premier John A. McDonald, Minister of Agriculture also addressed the Convention. Mrs. Scott Trenholm of Grand Pre was elected President for the ensuing year.

A letter from Lady Tweedsmuir, expressing regret that she was unable to attend the sessions, and extending good wishes for the success of the convention, was read by Miss Macdougall.

Mayor Walter Mitchell extended an official welcome to the delegates. Mrs. Freeman Lank, retiring president, presided over the business sessions. The reports and addresses of the various officers and conveners gave a broad panorama view of the work of Canadian women in the fields of health, education, agriculture, government, and world events, as well as in their chosen profession of homemaking.

Hon. John A. McDonald, Minister of Agriculture, who presided at Wednesday evening’s session, stated it was the most representative gathering from country districts, ever seen in Halifax and he urged the women to go home from the convention with a fresh stimulus to help all those who without assistance might not be worthy Nova Scotia citizens.

Mrs. Nellie L. McClung

The highlight of Wednesday’s sessions was Mrs. McClung’s address in which she dealt comprehensively and with her customary wit and charm with the subject of modern progress.

"Great forces have been released in the world during the past few years." she said. "Consequently there is need of a higher grade of morality now than was necessary in earlier days for our spiritual forces have not kept pace with our material forces." The speaker made a plea for the members of the Women’s Institute in each community to teach their less fortunate neighbors what she termed the greatest of all arts – that of making the best of their circumstances.

Speaking on the liquor problem, Mrs. McClung said that she was a little disappointed because enfranchised women had not done more to support prohibition.

"Women are too much afraid of criticism," she declared, stating what a wonderful thing it would be if every woman present would declare, "As for me and my house, we’ll have nothing to do with it (liquor)." She pointed out that drunkenness is far more dangerous in this age of motor cars than it was in the horse and buggy era.

Mrs. McClung praised the handicraft exhibit of the W.I.N.S., declaring that such work has an ethical value, in that it satisfied people’s longing for creative achievement.

Hon. Cairine Wilson

The guest speaker at the last session, Thursday afternoon, was Senator Cairine Wilson, of Ottawa, who was introduced by Premier Angus L. Macdonald as a typical Canadian wife and mother, who had shed lustre on all Canadian women since her appointment to the Senate. The Premier, in his address to the women, emphasized the importance of preserving democracy. Too much talk about rights and not enough about responsibilities, neglect of citizens to take an intelligent interest in public affairs, were cited as menaces to democracy.

Senator Wilson pointed out that governments were only able to do what public opinion would support, and it was up to the women, as a united body, to give the government full public support. Women with the franchise should realize that government affects the home vitally, its services being of increasing value to every woman of the community. She expressed the hope that the next parliament would include more women members.

Presents Bouquet

On the conclusion of the Senator’s speech Coleen Macdonald, charming little daughter of Premier and Mrs. Angus Macdonald, presented her with a bouquet of flowers.

Presentations were also made to Miss Helen Macdougall, for the past nineteen years superintendent of the Women’s Institutes of Nova Scotia, and to Mrs. Freeman Lank, the retiring president.