|A.A. MacLeod & Agnes Macphail 1949|
Colleagues & Suitors
Over her lifetime, Agnes Macphail made many long-lasting friendships
with men both at home and on Parliament Hill.
Farquhar Oliver, a young neighbour and friend during childhood,
was a huge supporter during Agnes' early campaigns and, later, her
political protégé. James Palmer from Dundalk, Ontario, became Agnes' campaign manager and good friend. During Agnes Macphail's campaign for penitentiary reform, she began
an association with E.B. Jolliffe that turned into a close relationship with he and his family.
As well, J.S. Woodsworth was a close political ally and friend to Agnes Macphail
throughout her career.
Agnes Macphail was not one to openly discuss her private life, but it is well
known that even though she never married, Agnes had many admirers.
Before the first World War, Agnes is said to have been engaged to Bob
Tucker (the "boyfriend of my youth"). They did not marry, but remained
instead close and loyal friends until his death in 1948. Robert Gardiner
was a significant man in Agnes' life as well, both politically and
personally, and though she refused to marry him, he also remained a
faithful friend until his death.
Agnes' introduction to the House of Commons in 1922
was accompanied by grand displays of chivalry from her male colleagues,
though the messages were mixed: a bouquet of roses on her desk were, she found out later, the result of a lost bet. Being the only woman in the House of Commons at the beginning of her career, Agnes attracted a lot of attention
from men and women. She befriended many men on both sides of the House, but had a few staunch opponents as well: many men resented her invasion into their
sanctified Parliamentary space and it took much effort for the unorthodox Agnes Macphail to be accepted by many women as well.
Colleagues & Suitors...