Category: Municipal Affairs

  • Chronicles

  • Gertrude Émard : A Forgotten Political Pioneer

    It was a female voice, which firmly responded to the roll call of Saint-Lambert’s city clerk, to confirm the presence of the alderman for seat number one. It was May 5, 1947 and the voice belonged to Gertrude Émard, the newly elected city councillor, only the second woman in the province of Quebec to do so. She would serve two terms, first with Mayor C.A. Comeau and then with Mayor N.H. Simms. But these tenures turned out to be no smooth sailing, for a woman, through hitherto unchartered political waters.

    The honour of being the trailblazing politician falls to Kathleen Fisher, who won a seat on Montreal’s City Council as early as December 1940. This is a rather remarkable fact, considering that the right to exercise their franchise was given to women in Quebec only in the spring of that same year. Although women could vote and stand for office in federal elections, a right won nationally in 1918, la Belle Province clung stubbornly to the old ways and treated them as nonpersons, on the same level as chattel, children and imbeciles. It would take another twenty-two year struggle to achieve feminine suffrage.

    Gertrude Émard (tiré du Suburban News, avril 1952)

    Gertrude Émard (from the Suburban News, April 1952)

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    The riddle of our cannons

    Where have all the cannons gone? This is not a new refrain to Pete Seeger’s famous political song, but a real baffling question for many Lambertans who find in their albums photos of family members posing proudly with these relics from wars long past. Comparing pictures in its archives, the Mouillepied Historical Society could establish that at least four cannons of different vintage were prominently displayed in Saint-Lambert till the end of the Thirties. One gun stood guard in front of the old Town Hall, what is now Place du Village, another one was situated in front of the LeRoyer Filtration Plant on Riverside, a third one at the intersection of Logan and Riverside and the fourth one at the corner of Desaulniers and Notre Dame. However we could only trace the destiny of one.

    Children of the Girouard's family proudly showing off on one of our cannons (Source : famille Girouard)

    The Girouard children proudly posing on one of the cannons (Collection SHM – Fonds : famille Girouard)

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