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The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) was one of the first women's rights movements in Canada, and one of the most active. Established in 1873 in Cleveland, Ohio (United States of America) by Frances E. Willard, the W.C.T.U. soon became the largest national (then international) women's movement. The first Canadian W.C.T.U. was founded in Picton, Prince Edward County (Ontario) in 1874 by Letitia Youmans. Soon Unions were organised across Canada, including one in Regina in 1886. The local chapters, called "Unions," enjoyed a great deal of autonomy, even though they maintained very close ties with the national chapter. In the North-West Territories under Union president Mrs. W. W. Andrews, local Unions were established in Qu'Appelle, Wolseley, and Broadview (1887); Moose Jaw (1889); Edmonton (1894); Moosomin, Maple Creek, Innisfail, Red Deer, MacLeod, and Lethbridge (1894).
In 1905, when Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces, the North-West Territories Union was renamed the Alberta and Saskatchewan Union and continued to grow. In 1912 members decided that the Alberta and Saskatchewan Provincial Woman's Christian Temperance Union would be more effective if its efforts were split into two separate provincial Unions. The first Provincial Saskatchewan Woman's Christian Temperance Union annual convention was held in Knox Presbyterian Church in Regina in October, 1913 under the direction of president Mrs. W. W. Andrews.
Local Unions represented by the Saskatchewan Provincial W.C.T.U. were: Antler, Arcola, Balcarres, Bienfait, Bladworth, Bridgeford, Briercrest, Broadview, Caron, Carrievale, Chamberlain, Craik, Creelman, Drinkwater, Estevan, Eyebrow, Glenside, Govan, Grenfell, Heward, Imperial, Indian Head, Kinistino, Kindersley, Kisbey, Lajord, Lanigan, Liberty, Loreburn, Lumsden, Macoun, Maple Creek, Melfort, Melville, Mervin, Moose Jaw, Milestone, Netherill, North Battleford, North Portal, Oxbow, Parkdale, Plumbridge, Prince Albert, Qu'Appelle, Quill Lake, Radisson, Regina Central, Regina Westside, Regina Northside, Rostern, Rouleau, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Cleveland, Sedley, Soo Line, Sintaluta, Strasbourg, Stongfield, Stoughton, Swift Current, Saltcoats, Sheho, Spy Hill, Theodore, Unity, Wapella, Waldeck, Watrous, Welwyn, Weyburn, Whitewood, Wilcox, Wilkie, Yellowgrass, Yorkton, and Zealandia.
The W.C.T.U. was organised into five levels, from broadest in scope to narrowest: world/international Unions; national Unions; provincial Unions; district Unions and local Unions. Each Union was equipped with an executive structure of a president and nine officers, and at the provincial and local levels there was a full executive with the addition of twenty department superintendents. Each union was not able to fill all positions and not all departments were worked by every Union. There were also three different youth organisations, based on age: Little White Ribboners (up to 7 years of age); Loyal Temperance Union (7-14 years or age); and Youth Temperance Council (14 years of age and up).
The goal of the W.C.T.U. was to protect the home from dangerous influences and strengthen family life, but its primary objective was to promote total abstinence from alcohol. As part of its pro-family program, the W.C.T.U. lobbied for prohibition laws (and later anti-tobacco and anti-drug laws), and also supported women's suffrage, social reform legislation, and the abolition of prostitution. It also held a strong interest in marriage licences; citizenship and new immigrants; removing obscene literature from bookstores; as well as causes such as world peace and child welfare. As a Christian movement, the W.C.T.U. encouraged Bible readings and prayer recitation in schools.
In order to achieve the objectives of the W.C.T.U. twenty departments were created and supervised by superintendents. These departments were: Anti-gambling; Archives; Child Welfare; Cinema & Printed Matter; Citizen & Canadianization; Cooperation with Women's Church Groups; Evangelistic; Community Friendship; Legislation & Law Enforcement; Little White Ribboners; Medical Health and Nutrition; Moral Education; Narcotic Drugs; Non-Alcoholic Fruit Products; Out-Post Members; Peace & International Relations; Prisoner's Welfare; Publicity & Society Meetings; School of Methods; Medal & Talent Contests; World & Canadian Missions; and Work Among Soldiers and Sailors.
By the 1970's, the W.C.T.U. in Saskatchewan suffered dwindling interest and enrolment, and the last local chapters seem to have folded in 1979.