One of the two first women elected to the Ontario Legislative Assembly.
Born in Toronto on October 15, 1893.
Died on January 24, 1972.
Political Affiliation: Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
Legislative Career: First elected to the Ontario Legislative Assembly in the 1943 provincial election as member for Bracondale, Toronto. Served until June 4, 1945.
Margarette Rae Luckock grew up on the family farm in Arthur, Ontario and was introduced to political activism early in her life as a result of the activities of her father, James J. Morrison. He was one of the founders of the United Farmers of Ontario party in 1914, and served as general secretary of the party.
In 1914 she married British immigrant and tool and die maker Richard Luckock. When in 1932 the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) was formed, Mrs. Luckock joined and became very active, serving on the executive board in her own district and helping promote the party elsewhere in the province.
She taught Sunday School for six years. From 1938 to 1943 she ran six times for trustee in Ward 5 of the Toronto School Board, finally defeating the incumbent, Harold Menzies, a popular Conservative trustee, in 1943. Then in the August 4, 1943, provincial general election she ran successfully in the Bracondale riding in Toronto and subsequently resigned her school board position.
In the 1943 general election in Ontario, the first women were elected to the legislature, Rae Luckock and Agnes Macphail. New MPPs were usually sworn in by alphabetical order; however, on February 23, 1944, Agnes Macphail was sworn in first, making her the first Ontario woman member, and Rae Luckock was sworn in as the second.
Rae Luckock served as the CCF's education critic, focusing on funding for university scholarships, free university education and improving rural education. She also promoted equal pay for equal work and paying homemakers for the work they do in the home. She predicted that, after the war, women who had been contributing to the war industry would not want to return to pre-war roles, and argued for them to have the right to continue to work. She was also outspoken on environmental issues such as forestry and air pollution.
In the June 4, 1945 provincial election she was defeated along with all but one of her CCF colleagues. She was an active member of the Housewives and Consumers Association (HCA), serving briefly as president in 1943-44 and as an organizer of the HCA's "March of a Million Names" campaign of 1948 in which one million names were signed on a petition to the federal government. A large rally was organized in Ottawa, and Luckock presented the petition to Prime Minister King.
During the 1930s and 1940s, the CCF leadership purged the party of suspected communists. The HCA became labelled by the CCF leadership as a communist front. As a result, in 1948, Rae Luckock had to choose between dropping out of the HCA or being expelled from the CCF; she chose to stay in the HCA and was subsequently not welcome in the CCF.
When the HCA and other women's groups formed the Congress of Canadian Women, Luckock was chosen as its first president. She subsequently travelled the world on peace conferences, including a trip to China in April of 1956. The tinge of accused communist stuck with her during such travels. At one point United States Customs refused to let her cross the border because she was blacklisted, but she argued her case and was let into the country.
Shortly after her 1956 China visit she was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. She spent the last 14 years of her life in hospital.
Dawber, Michael. — After you Agnes: Mrs. Rae Luckock, MPP. — Tweed, Ont: Quinte-Web Press, c1994.
Sangster, Joan. — Dreams of equality: women on the Canadian left, 1920-1950. — Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, c1989.