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TimeLinks: A. Vernon Thomas

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No Photo Available Alfred Vernon Thomas was in many respects representative of the middle class professionals who dominated the Political Equality League, a prominent organization in the fight for women's suffrage between 1912 and 1916.

Like prominent League members E. Cora Hind, Kennethe Haig and Lillian Beynon Thomas of the Manitoba Free Press, Francis Marion Beynon and George Chipman of the Grain Growers Guide, and Anne Anderson (Mrs. W. C. Perry) of the Saturday Post, Thomas was a journalist. His position as legislative reporter for the Free Press did not give him the freedom of editors like Chipman and columnists like the Beynon sisters to actively lobby for social reform, but his columns reflected the Liberal orientation of his paper which was favourable to suffrage and prohibition, the key issues advanced by the League.

Thomas' political views ultimately cost him his job at the Free Press. In 1917, when the debates over conscription and mandatory service were raging at the provincial legislature, Thomas was seen to publicly congratulate MLA Fred Dixon for a particularly impassioned speech opposing mandatory registration. Thomas was fired immediately, and he and Lillian Beynon, to whom he had been married since 1911, moved to New York. They returned to Winnipeg in 1922, where Thomas resumed his journalistic career as a reporter for the Winnipeg Tribune and Beynon embarked on a new career as a playwright and author.

Page revised: 27 August 2009

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