Military Services Act

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Military Services Act, 1917

Was the Canadian government justified in enacting the Military Services Act in 1917? There were many perspectives on this issue like, Francophone vs. Anglophone, this generation’s view or the generation living in that time or war, age, social status. My opinion is that conscription was a necessary to get people to fight for Canada to get alliance Support, economic gains, and nationalism.

Even though Canada was on the way to becoming an independent county it was still tied closely with Britain. When Britain became under attack by Germany, Canada was called upon to fight on Britain’s behalf. Many Canadians were recent immigrants from Britain and were ready to fight when “Mother England” needed help. Canada was fighting not only for the mother country but civilization itself. When Canada joined many people enlisted because they believed it would be over in just a few weeks. Canada’s Prime Minister Borden had promised to send 500 000 troops which was a huge number considering the entire population of Canada.  Borden agreed to such a higher number because he thought that the war was a way for Canada to “prove itself” to the world. When it did not end as quickly as thought and the troops suffered huge losses the number of people enlisting dropped.  Borden was being pressured to maintain the number of troops he had promised so his government brought in conscription.

 
Although conscription was a debated issue and many Canadians opposed it, WW1 did result in economic gains for Canada.  There was a huge increase in employment. Manufacturing increased and the economy did very well because of it. There were lots of jobs and work to be done relating to the fight, like building bomb shells and ammo for the war. Women saw an increase in employment too as they got to do many of the men’s jobs when they were off to war. Demand for wheat increased and wheat prices went up in Canada. Food production, especially wheat, doubled. WWI had...
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