Aleta Elizabeth (Paisley) Clement
Aleta Elizabeth (Paisley) Clement was born January 18, 1876 in Petrolia, Lambton County, Ontario to Melissa Elizabeth Bull (1848-1922) and James Paisley (1843-1908). At the age of ten, she moved with her family to Brandon, Manitoba where she received her early education and later distinguished herself as a public speaker. In 1893 at 17 years of age, she graduated from Alma College in St. Thomas Ontario and later attended the Normal School in Ottawa, Ontario.
In 1894, Aleta returned to Brandon to begin teaching. She taught elocution lessons and grade three for the Brandon School District. On August 30, 1899 at 23 years of age, she married Stephen Emmett Clement Jr (1867-1947) in Brandon, Manitoba . They had four children: Harold Dixon Clement, Ethel Ruth Clement, Robert James Clement and David William Clement.
In the first three decades of the twentieth century, Aleta Clement emerged as a leading first wave feminist, a committed social reformer and an important political activist in Brandon and South Western Manitoba. In her commitment to community social issues, Clement was following in the path of her mother who, in 1892 was the first secretary of the new formed Brandon Hospital Aid Society. Her activism was also shaped by her involvement with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and progressive tendencies within the Methodist Church . Her commitment to social equality grew out of her own personal experiences including family financial hardships and working as an underpaid elementary school teacher.
Aleta Clement was an active member of the Brandon Art Club and the Little Theatre. She was a member of the first YWCA board, the provincial child welfare board, and the First Church United board. She was a member of the organizing committee of the 1908 Wheat City Carnival and president of the 1909 Carnival of Nations.
In 1917, Aleta Clement succeeded president and founding member Jessie Turnbull McEwan as chair of the Brandon Local Council of Women (LCW) . As president of the LCW she was socially and politically active in the community. She was instrumental in the formation of a free Child Welfare Station in 1918, and, in 1920, selected to head a committee, representing various Brandon women’s organizations, to lead the fight against the Spanish flu. Aleta Clement played a prominent role in the 1922 Brandon School Controversy by advocating for equal pay between men and women educators. She was also an active organizer for the Progressive Party in the Brandon constituency in the elections of 1925 and 1926.
Aleta Clement was also involved in national social and political organizations as a convenor for the National Council of Women, and as an executive member of the League of Nations in Canada. Aleta Elizabeth (Paisley) Clement died in Winnipeg, Manitoba on November 9, 1950 and is buried in Brandon Municipal Cemetery.