Canada and the war The War Measures Act (1914) Recruitment Militia Act (1916) Conscription War Voters Act Reaction in Quebec Summary Robert Borden VS Wilfrid Laurier Quebec Premier Henri Bourassa
Dominion: Meaning Robert Borden declared that "when Great Britain is at war, Canada is at war, and there is no difference at all." His Promise, Dec. 1914 Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden
The War Measures Act of 1914 gave the government the authority to do anything necessary or advisable for the security, defence, peace, order and welfare of Canada.
At the beginning of the war Canadian army totaled 3110 regular soldiers. Within two months, it totaled over 32,000 men. Recruitment slogans were initially effective in drawing in recruits. -‘FIGHT FOR THE EMPIRE’ -‘WE’LL BE HOME BY CHRISTMAS!’
Borden introduces conscription in 1917 despite enlistment propaganda. Single men aged 20-45 were required to enlist or face imprisonment. Other nations’ volunteers -Britain: over 2.5 million in the first year. -Germany: approx. 500,000 early -France: nearly 200,000 by wars ends. -What does this tell us?
In order to meet conscription expectations of 100,000 men, Borden introduced Military Service Act. Exceptions to enlistment, however, were common. (farmers) Military Service act Revoked in April, 1917 to prevent exemptions. Farms henceforth were understaffed. Farmers were furious! Ramifications: United Famers of Alberta and soil degradation decades later.
In order to get the votes he needed, Borden passed two new acts: Military Voters Act Law that extended the right to vote to all men and women in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. War-time Elections Act Law which extended the right to vote to the mothers, wives, and sisters of the soldiers serving, while at the same time refusing that right to citizens from enemy countries. Pro Conscription Poster
All 53 Quebec MPs voted against Military Service Act The recruiting effort in Quebec had failed. There was no loyalty to Britain nor France. Ties broken long ago. No room for advancement or to practice French culture Quebec was rural farmland and needed its population Henri Bourassa
opposed conscription from the beginning of the war. Believed conscription would lead Quebec towards a dangerous nationalism under Bourassa and lead to Quebec Separatism. French Canadians were 30% of population, but made up 4% of enlistees. Wilfrid Laurier
PM Borden called a federal election on the issue of Conscription in 1917. In order to get the votes he needed, Borden passed two new acts: Military Voters Act Law that extended the right to vote to all men and women in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. War-time Elections Act Law which extended the right to vote to the mothers, wives, and sisters of the soldiers serving, while at the same time refusing that right to citizens from enemy countries.
Riot in Quebec City, April 1918 – English soldiers from Ottawa kill 4 civilians
100,000? Only 25,000 made it to the front in Europe Bitterly Divided Canada. English thought the French were cowardly. Pressure to enlist greater in English Canada. (white feathers) Legacy of English vs. French Canadian interpretation of WWI (Vimy Vs. Conscription) Conscripted Troops arrive in Europe in 1918 when war ends