Smith, Mary Ellen

Mary Ellen Smith, née Spear, politician (b at Tavistock, Eng 11 Oct 1863; d at Vancouver 3 May 1933). Smith was the first woman member of BC's Legislative Assembly and the first woman Cabinet minister in the British Empire. As an independent, she won a Jan 1918 Vancouver by-election called after the death of her husband Ralph SMITH, finance minister in the BC Liberal government. Re-elected as a Liberal in 1920 and 1924, she served as minister without portfolio from Mar to Nov 1921. She was an advocate of BC's first Mothers' Pensions and Female Minimum Wage Acts.