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Activity in Canada

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Title

Activity in Canada

Subject

Stephan, Alexander Maitland
Sanger, Margaret
Canadian Birth Control League

Description

A brief account of the Birth Control progress in Canada.

Creator

Stephan, Alexander Maitland

Source

Margaret Sanger, ed. International Aspects of Birth Control: Proceedings of the Sixth International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference, vol. 1 (New York, 1925), 133-135.

Publisher

American Birth Control League

Date

1925

Contributor

De Bel, Heather (metadata and transcription)

Rights

The American Birth Control League became Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1939. Contact Planned Parenthood for rights.

Format

JPG

Language

English

Type

Article

Coverage

Winnipeg, Canada
Ottawa, Canada
Vancouver, Canada

Text Item Type Metadata

Text

ACTIVITY IN CANADA
By A. M. Stephen
President of Canadian Birth Control League

In response to your request, I am sending this report of progress in Canada. I am sorry that lack of time prevents me from giving you a better and more adequate idea of the work here and may also say that I deeply regret not being able to present this report in person. We are extremely busy people and unfortunately poor in this world's goods. However, before your next Conference, we undoubtedly will have a membership large enough to defray expenses of a representative.

The Canadian Birth Control League dates from the last visit of Mrs. Sanger to Vancouver, B. C. Her presence was the inspiration which united the little band of pioneers who have been holding the fort since then. Our first meetings, after her departure, were alive with a spirit of enthusiasm and optimism. Then came a period when our work was prejudiced by indiscreet management. The public were estranged by misunderstanding. The League was reorganized and under its present officers enjoys the respectful opposition of those who are still fighting shy of "Birth Control" as something beyond the pale of respectability.

It may seem strange to you of other lands to be told that in Canada we are still in the Dark Ages of Mediaevalism in regard to the great and fundamental problem of sex. In all except the extreme Western provinces, the theology of the Middle Ages is still a force. It is significant that upon the western shores of the Dominion ... the last West...peopled by the hardier and more courageous immigrants from the east, all progressive ideas in Canadian thought are born at the present time. We feel that our League in Canada, fittingly had its inception in Vancouver and, from here, our propaganda will gradually permeate the body of the Canadian public.

While our problem here, superficially, does not seem so pressing as in more densely populated countries, we are constantly in receipt of many calls for help similar to those receive in such overwhelming numbers by Mrs. Sanger. We have also been asked by social workers in Winnipeg and other points East to help them organise. In view of the fact that the Statutes of the Dominion still class contraception under the Section of the Code dealing with obscene things and forbids the physician to give contraceptive advice or materials under penalty of the law, we feel that our League must become Dominion wide in order to bring influence to bear upon the Federal Parliament at Ottawa.

For the present we are confining our efforts to local propaganda and to the task of organising a Canadian Convention. This latter, calling together scientists, medical men and social workers from various parts of the Dominion and for a space placing their opinions before the public through the press would, we feel, do more than anything else to create a wide-spread Canadian movement. Whether this will be possible in 1925 is a problematical, but in the ensuing year it should be a certainty.

I do not desire to take up your valuable time with generalities. Canada reports progress. Here is a young nation just born through the baptism of fire on the battlefields of Europe. We promise you to see incorporates in its laws, at no distant date, some measure of freedom in the matter of Birth Control. This is our task, in which we solicit your assistance and co-operation.

In closing, on behalf of Canada, I have great pleasure in sending greetings to our heroic President and to the assembled delegates from other nations. May the force born of your efforts during the Conference speedily carry the message of the Birth Control movement to all who need it!

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