Social and Economic Issues in Canada throughout the Socials Studies 11 curriculum, which ranges from 1900 to 1991. These include but are not limited to cultural trends, socials phenomenons and economic policies.
Created by ShreyaK on May 19, 2010
Last updated: 06/18/10 at 01:24 PM
Pier 21 located in Halifax, Canada officially opened for immigration in 1942. During this time, many war brides, children and displaced people were flooding into Canada. Approximately 48,000 war brides, 22,000 children and over 500,000 other newcomers were processed from England, Scotland and Wales. Accepting all of these immigrants into Canada showed how much more tolerant the nation had become towards new settlers, and how they were willing to help. Because of this flood of people, and post-war prosperity, Canada experienced a “baby boom” which lasted from 1947 to 1966 impacted Canada’s economy, class system and social roles. An increase in consumers led to an increase in consumer goods, so a bigger supply was being made to accommodate their needs. More consumer goods lead to more factories opening and employing more people. This gave more people a chance to work, and more and more people joined the middle class. After the baby boom, and into the 60s, these baby boomers began to demand improved rights for women. This led to more women being able to work, instead of being at home. During the 60s when both parents were working, these babies became teenagers, and a teen culture developed, and they looked to change outdated traditions. These baby boom babies were in school much longer, had my to spend, and more independence than any other young peoples before. But this decade was also known as the “protest era”, with more free time on their hands, teenagers were able to speak their minds. These teenagers promoted a “counterculture” against the government, and began to challenge authority in schools and universities. Protests began to rise over social issues such as inequality towards Aboriginals and Black North Americans, nuclear weapons, civil rights and the Vietnam War. Student Workbook: Pg. 113,128 Counterpoints: Pg. 165 http://geography.about.com/od/populationgeography/a/babyboom.htm
While keeping his promise to not force conscription on his citizens, Prime Minister King felt a growing demand for more soldiers overseas. As a solution on April 24 1942, he called for a national Plebiscite for whether or not citizens thought conscription should be introduced. This plebiscite reopened the English-French tension of conscription. Most English-Canadians still felt strong ties to Britain, so they strongly supported conscription. Meanwhile, French-Canadians felt was if they did not owe the Canadian government anything, and felt that they had always been mistreated, so they voted against conscription. In the end, conscription sent 13,000 men overseas, with only 2,000 reaching the front lines. This plebiscite was a very important social issue that divided the nation, but was handled the best that it could’ve been for that time. And although King’s decision did not please everyone, he managed to avoid a huge French and English-Canadian conflict. Counterpoints: Pg.108 http://archives.cbc.ca/war_conflict/second_world_war/clips/9260/
Women’s roles in both the home and in the workforce had many firsts between the years of 1941 to 1944. Traditionally when women were supposed to stay at home and be homemakers, in 1941 for the first time in Canadian history, official women’s branches in the Canadian defence opened. The army (The Canadian Women’s Corps (CWAC), air force (the RCAF-Women’s Division), and navy (the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service-called “Wrens”) were created. Although they were not allowed to serve on the front lines, they made major contributions behind the scenes. A total of 46,000 women served as cooks, pilots, nurses, mechanics, and as radar operators overseas. During these years of war, many women also became employed at home while most of the men were shipped overseas. Although women were not paid as much for doing the same work that men did, the number of women in the Canadian workforce during this time reached over a million. Benefits that women received while working such as daycare and tax breaks were taken away along with their new jobs as soon as the men came back from fighting overseas. These firsts in both the workforces demonstrated how women could do anything that men could do including jobs that brought them overseas. Even though women’s jobs were taken away as soon as the men came back, they made a lasting impression that has carried through to today. Student Workbook: Pg. 106
The American lend-lease act initiated a program that would provide goods and services to all its allies in the fight against the Axis Powers. Under the lend-lease act, the Allies would take the supply and services and pay the Americans later. Since the Americans had technology more sophisticated, and in greater numbers than any other country, this act quickly gained popularity. But with all the Allies buying products and supplies from the U.S, Canada lost many of its consumers. In good American-Canadian relation, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister King signed the Hyde Park Declaration. This declaration stated that the U.S would buy all their raw materials to make all of their supplies from Canada. And the Americans would also supply Canada with American parts for productions. Both of pieces of legislations lend to a better American-Canadian relation, and strengthened Canada’s economy. Student Workbook: Pg. 107 http://www.lexum.umontreal.ca/ca_us/en/cts.1948.01.en.html http://www.enotes.com/major-acts-congress/lend-lease-act
With tension already present between the Japanese and Canadians over the pass decades, World War Two did not make matters any better. Even before the wars had even begun, Canadians resented Japanese immigrants for taking their jobs, and working for lower wages. And before the second World War, they were denied the right to vote and immigration was severely restricted. By the time WWII had rolled around, these Canadians were denied any involvement in the Canadian Armed Forces, because of the public's strong opinions against them. After the attacks on Pearl Harbour, and knowing well that Japan had plans to take over North America as a whole, the Canadian population began to fear that the Japanese-Canadians would supply Japan secret information. In response to this fear, the War Measures Act was introduced. This policy forced all Canadians with a Japanese background or were naturalized after 1922 to be striped of their rights, fingerprinted, photographed and registered with the RCMP, as a Enemy Alien. They also had to chose between being deported, or to be relocated away from the West Coast of Canada. During this time, Internment Camps also began to emerge in Canada. Many families were separated and were sent away to live in isolated internment camps in the interior of British Colombia. Some families chose to move to Alberta or Manitoba where they labored on beet farms, although it was farther away from home, they were allowed to stay together. Many were detained only on suspicion until the end of the war. On January 1943, the Custodian of Alien Act was introduced. This gave the government power to seize and sell Japanese-owned property to fund whatever they wanted to. People who were relocated lost everything: their houses, boats, cars, shops, and other possessions. These possessions were sold at reduced prices to be sold quickly, so that it could be used towards funding the upkeep of the internment camps. Persecution of the Japanese did not end until the war ended, but the poor treatment did not end there. An apology from the Federal government was not issued until 46 years later in 1988, where a formal apology and a "compensation" of $21,000 dollars was given to each of the 1400 living survivors from the Second World War. Counterpoints: Pgs. 126-127 http://www.japanesecanadianhistory.net/reference_timeline.htm
With Prime Minister King’s promise to not introduce conscription, he instead implemented the National Resource Mobilization Act; which required everyone to help with the war effort, in other ways if not going overseas. This policy gave the government control over all human and material resources to use towards the war effort. Although Canadians in general were not thrilled to be involved in yet another war, many still volunteered. In September alone, over 58,330 men volunteered for service overseas. Even many non-European Canadians volunteered, but were initially rejected. But as the war went on, more and more African-Canadians and Aboriginals were being enlisted, and went on to become some of the most decorated soldiers. During this war effort, women were recruited to do jobs that men traditionally did, such as working in factories, even though they were paid less, and were not rewarded benefits like many men were. In another big step for women, they were branches in the military that were specifically for women, such as the CWAC, Wrens, and RCAF: Women’s division. And although women were not allowed to fight in the front lines, they were able to fly supply planes, work on Navel bases and become spies. The policy also required both men and women over the age of 16 to register under the act. Information gained from the registration was used to place citizens that were too young to fight overseas and conscientious objectors in shell-making factories, airports, and in other facilities that produced other military supplies. Many farmers stayed farmers, but were told to produce more crops and livestock in order to keep up with the demands of the war. During this time, Canada was socially unified; where men, women, minority groups, and every other citizen with no regards of religion or race were all joined together in one cohesive effort to win the war. Student Workbook: Pg.108 Counterpoints: Pg.103-104 http://vital-record-resources.suite101.com/article.cfm/national_registration_file_of_1940 TAM. H
Summer of 1939 In a world-wide era of anti-Semitism, Jews escaping from Europe had virtually nowhere to run. Lack of money, and toughened immigration laws around the world left the Jews hopeless and abandoned. Of the 600,000 Germans that were of Jewish decent, approximately 907 women, men and children were able to escape Germany on board the St. Louis ocean liner bound to Cuba. There the Jews would wait for their quota number to enter the United States. To the Jews, this seemed like the last chance at survival. But when the Jews had reached Cuba, the liner was told to anchor, but not to allow anyone off of the boat. Negotiations followed, where landing permits the Jews had purchased were declined, and anti-Semitism spread by the NAZI Minister of Propaganda convinced Cubans that the Jews were a threat. In conclusion, the Jews were turned away from entering the country. After an attempt at entering Florida failed the St. Louis liner landed on Canada’s East Coast. Being influenced by the wide spread of anti-Semitism, the Canadian government determined that Jewish refugees would make horrible settlers. In spite of some Canadian citizens’ opinions that the Jews should be allowed in, the Canadian government refused to listen, and carried on their decision. The liner was once again turned away, and had no other choice other than to return back to Europe, where more than likely, the passengers were later killed at concentration camps. This world-wide display of anti-Semitism showcased how one person from one country can influence a whole world, and convince everyone of a certain belief. With Canada’s contribution to the St. Louis incident, it caused many innocent lives to be killed, where they all could have been saved. Student Workbook: Pgs. 110-111 http://www.bibletopics.com/biblestudy/148.htm http://worldw2.tripod.com/id8.html
Much like the First World War, during the second, the Canadian government required Canadians with a certain ancestries to register as an enemy alien. Fear of enemy spies and acts of sabotage encouraged the government to do so. Groups that were refugees from Europe were always under suspicion, particularly Jews since anti-Semitism was so widely accepted. Even before WWII had stated, there was a strong sense of anti-Semitism in Canada. Some people would refuse to employ anyone who was Jewish, in any profession, from lawyers to teachers. In 1939 when the Canadian League of Nations met with P.M King to appeal to the government to accept Jewish refugees into Canada, government officials did not agree with the idea, and declared: “None is too many”. Many Canadians with Asian decent were also targeted. From the Chinese to the Japanese, Asians have always had a hard time gaining equality with the majority. During this time, those with Japanese decent were treated the worst; many second and third generation citizens were being accused of being spies for the Japanese government and were forced into Internment Camps, paid by their own liquidized assets. Their mistreatment did not end until after the end of the Second World War. Black Canadians were also discriminated against until 1942. But as time went on, black and white Canadians were able to serve alongside one another during the war. After the war, black Canadians began to demand more equality, similarly to the Aboriginals who thought that if they were willing to risk their lives for this country, then they should be able to have the same rights as everyone else. Lastly, many religious groups such as the Jehovah Witnesses, Quakers, Mennonites, and the Hutterites who all practiced pacifism were also met with hostility. These acts of discrimination by the government to these minority groups were big lessons, and thought the government and the country as a whole to be more tolerate towards those were are different. Counterpoints: Pgs. 108-109
After Prime Minister Mackenzie King made his famous “five-cent” speech and refused to give any financial help in regards to the Great Depression, he was defeated by R.B. Bennett in the federal election of 1930. Although R.B. Bennett set up Unemployment Relief Camps for unemployed men, many people still felt that his efforts were inadequate. In 1935, R.B. Bennett created his own Canadian version of President Roosevelt’s “New Deal”. Bennett’s version included many aspects of our modern “social safety net” including introduction to minimum wage, unemployment insurance, heath and accident insurance and a revised old age pension plan. Bennett’s New Deal also introduced progressive taxation, which meant that tax would depend on income, resulting in the wealthier having to pay higher taxes then the poor. There was also stronger regulation of working conditions, agricultural support and a board to regulate wheat prices as part of the New Deal. Many of the benefits implemented in 1935 are still helping Canadian citizens today. However, people felt that Bennett’s response was initiated too late, which led to great resent from the many suffering during the Great Depression. Many people began to use Bennett as a nickname in association to anything negative. For example, abandoned prairie farms were called “Bennett barnyards”, a newspaper was named “Bennett blanket” and roasted wheat was called “Bennett coffee”. A new source of transportation called a “Bennett buggy” was also introduced after Bennett’s New Deal. The Bennett buggy was basically a broken car that was drawn by horses since it no longer ran efficiently. The resent after Bennett’s New Deal led to the On-to Ottawa Trek and the Regina Riot. R.B Bennet lost the federal election later in 1935.
Many people during the Great Depression became frustrated with the governments lack of support. Although the government set up relief camps in 1932, for unemployed men, the camps did not provide sufficient income. Relief camp workers were paid 20 cents per day for 44 hours of public work per week. Angered at their grim conditions, many men began to feel ignored by the Canadian government. In April 1935, many workers began a strike in Vancouver. However, Mayor McGeer declared that the municipal government did not have much power in the matter, and suggested they finance to send a delegation to Ottawa. Instead of McGeer’s plan, the workers decided to march to Ottawa in what became known as the On-to-Ottawa trek. They felt that by all going to Ottawa, they would meet Prime Minister Bennett face to face, and hence voice their concerns. In June 1935 thousands of relief camp workers from Vancouver boarded trains to Ottawa. The protest gathered strength as it made its way across the country, for more and more workers began to join; all of which demanding “real jobs with real wages”. Despite the fact that the protest was getting stronger, all the relief camp workers were stopped by RCMP in Regina. On July 1st, 1935 over 300 RCMP officers used baseball bats, billy clubs and tear gas to fight the crowd for more than three hours. This riot became known as the Regina Riot. Dozens were injured, and one officer was even beaten to death during the riot. After the Regina Riot, Bennett sent a decree to the protesters, denying them access to train cars. While the rest of the “trekkers” remained in Saskatchewan, eight of the protesters made their way to Ottawa by other means. Only one striker ended up meeting with the Prime Minister, but unfortunately the meeting did not achieve the worker’s goals. Although the On-to-Ottawa trek essentially failed, it brought the governments attention to the suffering and horrible conditions that Canadian citizens were facing.
On May 28th 1934, the world’s first surviving quintuplets were born in Corbeil, Ontario. Just outside of Northbay Ontario, Annette, Emilie, Yvonne, Cecile and Marie became a miracle at birth; for the chance of having a set of identical quintuplets was 1 in 57 million. They were born 2 months premature and weighed less than 40 pounds all together. Many doubted that the quintuplets would survive. The girls were even placed in front of a stove for warmth, and were not given much attention at birth, as many did not think they would even live for a few days. A hospital was later built for the Quints near their family home and a road was built to the nursery in the hospital so that others could see the phenomenon. The Ontario government removed the quintuplets from their parents Olivia and Elzire, and kept them in the special built hospital with Dr. Allan Roy who was the doctor that delivered the girls. Here, the Quints were kept as a tourist attraction. People from all over the world traveled to Canada to see the Dionne Quintuplets playing from behind a one-way screen. The entire area became known as "Quintland". The Ontario government profited $500 million off the Quintuplet phenomenon. The Quints not only became a distraction during the Great Depression, but a sign of hope. Unfortunately, the girls barely saw their parents or their five older siblings. There mother Olivia Dionne had to fight a nine year custody battle with the government in order to receive full custody on her daughters again. In March 1998, the government gave compensation payments to the Dionne Quintuplets. Although two of the five sisters had passed away, the three remaining Quints were given $4 million payments in an attempt to make up for the 9 years that were taken away from them. The Dionne Quintuplets are still the world's only set of identical quintuplets.
Many of the social security nets and welfare systems we have today were not present during the Great Depression. However, the Canadian government did introduce “Pogey” which actually gave rise to our modern day welfare system. Pogey provided vouchers that could be exchanged for food and other bare essentials. Unfortunately, pogey was only offered to those that qualified. Many requirements had to be met before receiving pogey, to ensure that it was only given to those that were as underprivileged as possible. In this sense, “pogey” actually became a huge embarrassment. It was purposely kept lower than the lowest paying jobs in order to repel as many people as it could. However, this welfare system proved inefficient since many people ended up starving. Many Canadians were suffering during the Great Depression, without the sufficient help of our government.
Although the Stock Market officially crashed on October 29th, 1929 it did not independently cause the Great Depression. Many underlying causes including overproduction, debt after WW1, economic protectionism and Canada’s reliance on staple products triggered what became known as “Black Tuesday”. On Tuesday, October 29th, 1929 the stock market suffered a major decline. It had been dropping drastically for a few years, however on Black Tuesday several key shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange dropped by $1 million a minute. Although many economists still debate about what happened on Black Tuesday, many believe it was the cause of a spiral effect of buying stocks on margin. Because many people in the 1920’s began purchasing stocks with borrowed money (in hopes that they would gain profit in the booming economy), the market began to lose more and more value. As the economy was reaching a bust, investors feared for their stocks and all at once began to sell them. Because so many investors were trying to sell their stocks out of panic so quickly, the stocks began to lose their value, leading to the crash in 1929. In the US, more than 2000 investments went out of business. Although the Toronto Stock Exchange did not suffer numbers as great as the United States, the Stock Market Crash affected the lives of millions of Canadians.
One of the underlying causes of the Great Depression was the “Dust Bowl of the 1930’s”. During WW1, because production was on a rise, prairie farmers in Canada had more of a demand. Crops were being planted rapidly and farming was progressing quickly. Although this high demand was beneficial at the time, farmers did not realize that their immense production was destroying their farmland. Because of the rapid farming, crucial top soil became loose. In the early 1930’s heavy droughts struck several summers in a row. The drought caused heavy windstorms, which destroyed what was left of the top soil. The combination of extreme drought and windstorms led to the failure of many crops. A large grasshopper and locust infestation also crippled crops even further. Many flour mills and railways began to lose business for no wheat was being produced. Because wheat was a product that the Canadian economy depended heavily on (staple product), the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s destroyed Canada’s main export. Because the US also suffered the major droughts and windstorms, their economy became negatively affected as well. Unfortunately, Canada depended on the United States greatly during this time, so any downfall in the American economy meant a downfall in Canada’s economy as well. The prairie drought of the 1930’s began a negative chain reaction that contributed to the Great Depression.
The Famous Five were a group of 5 women that fought vigorously for human rights. They composed of five Albertan women: Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby. Emily Murphy became the first women judge in the entire British Empire in 1916. Because women were not declared as “persons” under the BNA Act of 1867, many challenged her right to ordain. After many petitions and discussions, the Supreme Court of Alberta finally ruled in Emily Murphy’s favour and claimed that women were persons. However, this ruling was not good enough for the Famous Five, as they desire equality on a federal level as well. Emily Murphy then put her name forward as a candidate for the Senate, but she was turned down by Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden because women were still not considered “persons” according to the BNA Act. In April 1928, the Famous Five appealed the “person’s case” to the Supreme Court of Canada. On April 24,1928 The Supreme Court of Canada ruled against the Famous Five, and stated that the Fathers of Confederation had not meant for “persons” to include women. Later that year, the Person’s Case was appealed to the British Privy Council which was the highest court in Canada at the time. On October 18, 1929 the British Privy Council ruled that the word “person” in the BNA Act did in fact include women. The court stated that "the exclusion of women from all public offices is a relic of days more barbarous than ours. And to those who would ask why the word ‘persons’ should include females, the obvious answer is, why should it not?" In 1930, Cairine Wilson became the first women appointed to the Senate. Evidently, the Famous Five paved the way for women’s rights, and these feminists truly did not let any obstacle stop them.
The Group of Seven was a group of commercial painters that were extremely popular during the 1920’s. This group consisted of Lawren Harris, A.Y Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H MacDonald, Fredrick Varley, and Franklin Carmichael. Tom Thompson was another commercial artist that was included in the friend circle. Although he was the major force behind the group he died in 1917, and because of this Tom Thompson is not considered an official member of the Group of Seven. However, being an avid outdoorsman, Thompson did spark the Group of Seven’s interest in painting landscapes. The group came together out of frustration at the typical European and conservative style of Canadian art, and sought to produce something different. The Group of Seven used heavy strokes, contrasting colours and bold shapes to portray their realistic paintings of the Canadian landscape. Many of their paintings depicted the North. The Group of Seven had their first art exhibition at the Art Gallery of Toronto in May 1920. After their first art exhibition, they finally began to establish themselves as a landscape art school. Rhetorically, they identified themselves as Canada’s national school of painters, which gained them much hatred from other artists. However, despite this hatred, the director of the National Gallery of Canada, Eric Brown, always supported the seven painters. In 1921, Frank Johnston left the group to pursue a career in Winnipeg, and five years later he was replaced by A.J Canon. Because of their new “national art school” image, the group sought for a more painters from different parts of Canada. That way the Group of Seven would not merely be concentrated around Toronto. In 1930 Edwin Holgate from Montreal joined the group of painters, followed by L.L Fitzgerald from Winnipeg. The Group of Seven had their final exhibition in 1931 and disbanded in 1933. They are still accredited for creating strong Canadian identity through their amazing painting of our landscape.
On May 15th, 1919 the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council called for a great general strike. Declaring decent wages of $0.85 an hour, shorter 8 hour workdays and the right to collective bargaining, 30,000 workers walked off their jobs. Collective bargaining was a major issue at this time, for labour law in Canada did not constrain employers to bargain with the employee representatives of trade unions. Workers felt that they could force employers to meet their demands by all “walking of the job”. The Winnipeg General Strike shut down the city, which was the financial capital of Canada at the time. The strike spread from industry to industry and many services began shutting down including postal services, fire-fighters, stores, telephone operators and public transportation. The entire city of Winnipeg was left at a stand-still. The Citizens committee of 1000 was created to oppose the strikers. They claimed that the Winnipeg General Strike was the beginning of a communist revolution, which further spread the Red Scare in Canada. The Canadian government responded to the strike by banning public parades and demonstrations and adjusting the Criminal Code, so that they were able to arrest or deport any immigrant they felt was suspect of starting a revolution without trial. Fearing that the strike would spread to other cities in the country, the government also sent troops with machine guns to patrol the city and arrested 10 strike leaders. The arrest of these leaders led to Bloody Saturday. On June 21st 1919, violence began at a parade protesting the arrest of the strike leaders. The protest became completely unrestrained when the RCMP made attempts to stop it. A street car was set on fire, 30 people were injured, 1 was killed and hundreds were arrested. Shortly after Bloody Saturday, the Central Strike Committee ordered everyone back to work. Although many lost their jobs permanently because of the strike, and others suffered financial losses, the Winnipeg General Strike raised attention to the economic issues that citizens were facing after WW1.
Despite the fact that the First World War ended when Germany surrendered in 1918, many soldiers still found themselves facing deplorable conditions. Because transportation was inadequate, many WW1 soldiers had to wait years in Europe before they could return to Canada. Many felt discontent at the fact that they could not return home after the war because of insufficient shipping resources. As the ww1 veterans finally returned from Europe, they also brought with them the ‘Spanish Flu’. This crazed epidemic was brought to North America by soldiers returning from Germany, and killed 50,000 people in Canada alone. Even after returning, WW1 veterans were still unhappy at their poor treatment. Many soldiers felt that they deserved to receive pension payments to compensate for all the pain and suffering they went through during the war. Those who had suffered injuries from the war also lacked compensation payments and adequate healthcare. This led to extreme difficulties in finding a job. Even soldiers who did not suffer any physical handicaps found it hard to return to a job since most veterans were suffering emotionally as well. Because no therapy, counselling or support systems were put in place by the government, soldiers returning from the First World War found it difficult to adjust to normal life. However the discontent of the soldiers returning from WW1 led to efficient pension payments and support systems for the veterans of WW2 in 1945.
During World War I a single German pilot stood out from the rest, “The Red Baron”. The Red Baron was considered the greatest war pilot of all time. He was credited with over 80 air combat victories. The famed pilot flew in hundreds of massive battles, constantly being feared by the Allied countries Air Forces. During his rise to fame the Red Baron wrote many books about his journeys as a pilot. Along with his many books came T.V shows and movie. He was a household name in Germany and was know as a famed Hero. In the early mornings of April 21 The Red Baron was pursuing novice Canadian pilot Wilfred May. While doing so at such low latitude The Red Baron was struck by a single bullet fired from the ground. The Red Baron crashed and died soon after of his injuries. The Red Baron was the enemy the Allied home front needed to hate and the Axis side to revere. None the less The Red Baron will always be known as the most famous fighter pilot.
Early in the morning on December 6, 1917 a French ship called the SS Mont-Blanc collides with a Norwegian ship called the Imo. The SS Mont-Blanc carrying 35 tons of benzol, 300 rounds of ammunition, 10 tons of gun cotton, 2,300 tons of picric acid, and 400,000 pounds of TNT catches fire. Massive numbers of curious citizens gather around the burning ship. Sailors and workers on the ship try to warn the citizens of the pending explosion, but its too late. The thousands of tons of explosives rock the city of Halifax. All buildings in a 2-kilometer radius are completely and utterly obliterated. The explosion is comparable to that of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs dropped on Japan in World War II. Once the ship exploded a firebomb approximately 2 kilometers high shot into the sky sending debris and ash tens of kilometers away. Also massive tsunamis were created and swept many of the injured and dying out into the cold Halifax harbor. The tsunami washed many injured citizens into the shore where they met their demise. In the end 2,000 people were killed and another 9,000 were estimated with injuries. This horrible incident brought the horrors of war to the home front. After the explosion global aid was enormous and allied countries showed tremendous amounts of support.
On September 20, 1917 the Canadian government decides to pass the wartime election act. The act granted wives, mothers and sisters of soldiers fighting over seas the right to vote. Also women serving in the armed forces were allowed to vote. They were the first women to ever vote in a Canadian federal election.This was the first big step forward in womens rights
Lack of soldiers caused the Canadian government to pass the Military Service Act in hopes it would raise their on going drought of men willing to fight. The Canadian Corps thought that if they hadn’t put conscription in then there efforts in the War would soon be over. In July of 1917 Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden introduced the Military Service Act. Made conscription mandatory for men ages 20-35. Many men through out Canada used religious and cultural obligations to try and prevent going to war. Also if you were a man who played a vital role in the wartime effort at home or were sick you were not forced to join. Any man young and fit who wasn’t fighting was treated with hostility and ridicule from neighbors and family members. The overall project was a general failure with only 24,000 solders going to war due to conscription. The Military Service Act created even more tension between the French and British Canadians. The British Canadians strongly supported fighting along side Britain. On the other side was the French who rioted through out Quebec and fought strongly against any support for the War effort. The bill only worsened a already horrible situation between the French and English Canadians.
The No. 2 Construction Battalion was formed on May 7, 1916. I t was the first ever only Black Battalion created during World War I and only Battalion led by a Black soldier, Lieutenant Colonel D.H Sutherland. After many Black soldiers tried to enlist but were only refused the denied applicants started a petition to allow them to fight. After much consideration was made by the Canadian Expeditionary Force an all black Battalion was formed. At first only a couple of hundred of men signed up. But by the time the Battalion shipped out they were over 600 men strong. Once they arrived only a few men got to actually fight and the rest were down graded to lower positions of authority. In the end the Battalion was shipped back to Canada in 1919 and there they were disbanded.
Many women were adamantly against the sale of alcohol long before the First World War. They believed that alcohol caused poverty, depression, diseases, family abuse, accidents and even death. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union in the United States began to convince governments to ban the production and sale of alcohol. Although prohibition was present as a temporary war measure during the War of 1812 and the Canada Temperance Act of 1878 gave local governments the right to prohibit the sale of alcohol, prohibition became popular after WW1. Whereas P.E.I banned alcohol before all other provinces in 1901, Saskatchewan soon followed suit in 1915. By 1916, Saskatchewan not only closed every bar, but even had a majority referendum to close all alcohol producing dispensaries. In June 1916, prohibition began in Manitoba and in July of the same year Alberta also banned any sale or production of alcohol. British Columbia had a referendum in September 1916 and prohibition won. However, this question was given to the people of British Columbia again in 1920, and they all voted against it. Ontario on the other hand became a part of prohibition in 1916 also. By 1921 all provinces and territories in Canada were for prohibition except for BC and Quebec. However, despite the fact that alcohol was banned in most of the country, it was still sold through the government for scientific and medical uses. Many citizens even began asking seeking prescribed liquor as a loophole through prohibition. Finally by 1930, all provinces voted against prohibition. This did exclude P.E.I of course, for they stayed dry until 1948. Although there was a dramatic drop in crime and poverty rates during the period of prohibition, there was an increase in organized crime all over Canada and the US. Many gangsters in the US were illegally supplying alcohol in secret places called “Speakeasies”. Because alcohol was banned in the United States until 1933-long after prohibition was over in Canada- many Canadians began to supply alcohol to the Americans. These “bootleggers” would deliver liquor to American “rum-runners” at the border that smuggled it into the USA. While prohibition ended a long time ago, it did leave a long lasting impact, for alcohol is still sold through the government today.
On May 3 after witnessing his close friends death the day before, Lieutenant John McCrae wrote arguably the most famous war poem “Flanders Fields”. The poppies referenced in the poem talk about the red flowers that grew in abundance and ended up covering up the graves of the soldiers lost in Flanders. At first John McCrae rejected his poem and ended up throwing it out. Francis Scrimger saw that the poem had potential and sent it in into the London Magazine “Punch” and was successfully published. The poem years after is still seen as the perfect representation and symbol of remembrance day and all the fallen soldiers lost.
War measures act: The War measures act of 1914 gave the government emergency power to take away citizens political and legal rights as Canadians. It imprisoned nearly 500,000 Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Turkey immigrants living in Canada. The European immigrants other wise known as ‘enemy aliens’ had to make nearly daily visits to police departments to reports their progress and status. Ukrainians suffered the worst treatment of all minorities. They were forced to give up their land, homes and possessions to go and work at labor camps Ukrainians suffered the worst treatment of all minorities. 8597 aliens were sent and of them 6000 were Ukrainians.