Madeleine Parent was born into a white middle-class francophone family in Montreal in 1918. She became active in Canada’s first student movement in a struggle for bursaries at McGill University in the years before the Second World War. During the war she became active in the labour movement, which lead to her role as a leader of the massive Dominion Textile Strike of 1946 which is at the centre of one of the chapters in the Gender and Sexuality: Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists. She went on to be a long-time fixture on the left of the Canadian labour movement, particularly as a central organizer of a small labour central called the Council of Canadian Unions. She has also spent decades as a stalwart of the women’s movements in Canada and Quebec, from her key role in the grassroots takeover of an early federally-funded conference on women’s issues that resulted in the founding of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, to her role helping certain organizations of racialized women address barriers to their entry into both NAC and its Quebec equivalent, the Federation des femmes du Quebec. Parent passed away on March 12, 2012.
Material from and about Parent on this site:
- A ten minute audio clip of her talking about organizing textile workers in Montreal in the 1940s:
- A four minute audio clip about the grassroots takeover of a government-sponsored conference which ultimately resulted in the founding of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women:
- Madeleine Parent, Rest in Peace