1.We are learning about some key social, economic, and political events, trends, and developments in Canada between 1914 and 1929. 2.We are learning to assess the impact of these events, trends and developments in terms of how they affected the lives of people in Canada between 1914 and 1929.
1.We will be able to explain their historical significance. 2.We will be able to take a historical perspective when we explain the historical significance. Historical Significance: When a person, event or object has an important role in our understanding of our past. Something that made a real impact on human history. Historical Perspective: A point of view of a subject or event, taking everything into consideration, in relation to human history.
1.What impact did World War I have on Canadian society and politics and the lives of different people in Canada?
Should Canadian men have the freedom to say NO ?
Mandatory enlistment of citizens for military service.
At the beginning of the war, many Canadians volunteered to fight in Europe. These young men went overseas because they wanted to serve their country (or Great Britain), find adventure, or because many of their friends and family were going to fight in the war. However, numbers started to dwindle when news returned home of the horrible conditions and high death rate.
In 1917, Sam Hughes informed Parliament, that of Canada’s 432,000 soldiers, only 5% were French Canadian. At the time French Canadians made up 28% of the Canadian population. This did not sit well with English speaking Canada. Even though Sam Hughes was right about a low volunteer rate among French Canadians, he failed to mention to Parliament exactly why it was low. Sam Hughes
Canadian soldiers were trained by British officers, and barely any spoke French. It was almost impossible for a French speaking soldier to be properly trained without knowing the language they were being trained in. This was the main reason for low enrollment. However, there were other reasons. Many French Canadians didn’t feel motivated to fight for Britain and France.
Many French Canadians had been living in Canada for hundreds of years and didn’t feel as close to their European ties. Meanwhile, many English speaking Canadians had been born in Britain, or were first generation Canadians. These ties to Britain motivated many Canadians to volunteer early in the war.
After the Battle of the Somme, the Canadian government needed to replace a huge amount of soldiers. Prime Minister Robert Borden invoked The Military Service Bill on May 18 th 1917. This bill made military service mandatory for all Canadian males, aged 20 – 45. This upset many Canadians, and especially infuriated Quebec. Sir Robert Borden
Farmers were angry because it took workers away from the farm, and labour unions threatened to call a general strike in opposition of the bill. Quebec was angry because it forced them into a war many of them wanted no part of. Canada was a deeply divided country and conscription took center stage in the federal elections a few months later.
PM Borden’s government won the 1917 election because of English speaking Canada supporters. This meant conscription was here to stay until the next election. Borden was also popular because he extended voting rights to women whose husbands were fighting over seas. He also accepted votes from soldiers fighting in Europe. These two groups favoured conscription.
After all the political turmoil, only 26,000 conscripts made it to Europe before the war ended in 1918, but the damage was done. Many people from Quebec were so irrate they began to riot. Order was restored quickly, but the point was made. Quebec was not happy about conscription, and it hurt an already weak relationship between English and French Canada.