Agnes Campbell Macphail (March 24, 1890 – February 13, 1954) was the first woman to be elected to the Canadian House of Commons, and one of the first two women elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Active throughout her life in progressive Canadian politics, Macphail worked for two separate parties and promoted her ideas through column-writing, activist organizing, and legislation.
Agnes Macphail was born to Dougald McPhail and Henrietta Campbell in Proton Township, Grey County, Ontario on March 24, 1890. (Although her surname was spelled "McPhail" at birth, she discovered during a trip to Scotland that her family's surname had been "Macphail" and changed her name to reflect this.) She was raised in the Methodist Church, but converted to the Reorganized Latter Day Saint church as a teenager, the church of her missionary uncle.
She attended Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute for one year. Even though she did well she transferred to Stratford Normal School so she could board with a relative. She graduated in 1910 with a second class teacher's certificate. She applied for five positions and was accepted at all five. She claimed that this was not due to her competence but due to a scarcity of teachers at the time. She taught in several rural schools in such communities as Port Elgin, Honeywood and Newmarket.
While working in Sharon, Macphail became active politically, joining the United Farmers of Ontario (UFO) and its women's organization, the United Farm Women of Ontario. She also became a columnist for the Farmer's Sun around this time...
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