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Lewis, S.P.
Madeira Park (B.C.), Harbour Publishing,1993. 400pp, cloth, $32.95
ISBN 1-55017-094-5. CIP

Subject Headings:
MacInnis, Grace, 1905-1991.
Social reformers-Canada-Biography.

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up

Reviewed by Val K. Lem

Volume 22 Number 4
1994 September

The first-born child of J.S. and Lucy Woodsworth, Grace Woodsworth came to share their zeal for social reform. After abandoning a brief teaching career, she gladly became a volunteer in her father's parliamentary office in 1930. There she met Angus MacInnis, a Labour MP from Vancouver, who soon became her spouse and one of the founders of the CCF.

Maclnnis immersed herself in party politics, delivering speeches, writing articles, organizing youth, serving on the CCF executive, and battling Marxist elements within the party. She was elected to the B.C. legislature in 1941. From 1965 until 1974, when arthritis forced her to retire, she served as an NDP member of the House of Commons. Although she did not consider herself a feminist as the only woman elected in 1968 and one of only a handful of women elected in 1965 and 1972, MacInnis believed it was important to champion what many considered women's issues: abortion law reform, access to day care, and improved protection for consumers.

Lewis has produced a well-researched, detailed biography that doubles as a history of socialism in B.C. and Canada. Extensive use of quotations reflects the author's background in journalism. Respect for privacy may account for her failure to explore the childless aspect of the MacInnis marriage. A number of awkward passages and typographical errors call for sharper editing.

More than a tribute to one woman, Grace contributes significantly to our understanding of the role of women in Canadian politics and is a wealth of information on the evolution of the CCF and NDP.

Val K. Lem is a librarian with the Board of Education for the City of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario

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1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


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