Security of Canada • Even though the war was fought in Europe, Canadians were afraidthat Germany might attack Canada. • The Premier of BC even bought 2 submarines to protect our coast from attack. • Disasters like the Halifax explosion were blamed on German agents. • In reality, Germany did not attack Canada directly at all.
Economy • Canada’s economy benefitted greatly from the war! • Britain was desperate for resources, ammunitions and armaments, and Canada was the perfect place to get these. • Why? It was safe from German attack. • By 1917, over 250,000 Canadians in over 600 factories were busy building weapons for the war. • The lumber, mining, and farming industries also benefitted. • Unemployment was eliminated!
Government Spending • The difficulty of paying for the war brought changes to the Canadian government: • Spending went from $185 million in 1913 to $573 million in 1917 ($344 million of that was for the war). • Income tax was introduced as a temporary measure to help pay for the war. • The government also decided to borrow money from Canadians by selling “Victory Bonds”.
Position of Women • Because 500,000 men had gone to Europe, it became necessary for many women to work outside the home. • Many women began to run farms and work in munitions factories. • Now that women had a more important role, they began to get involved in issues that interested them: • Suffrage • Prohibition
By 1918, nation wide prohibition was introduced. • In 1917, the Wartime Elections Act gave women with relatives in the military the right to vote. • Also in 1917, the Military Voters Act gave women who were serving overseas the right to vote. • By the end of the war, all women had earned the right to vote.
Canadians at War • Approximately 450,000 Canadians served in the armed forces overseas. • Of these, approximately 60,000 never returned. • Canadians fought very well in the war and won the admiration of their allies and their enemies. • In the beginning of the war, volunteers rushed to go into the army. • By 1917, fewer people were volunteering as news of what the war was really like was scaring them away.
Conscription Crisis • Because of the high casualty rate, Canada needed about 80,000 new soldiers every year. • By 1917, this number was not being met. • Result: Prime Minister Borden felt that conscription was necessary. • Problem: The French Canadians in Quebec were against conscription. • They were upset because the Canadian military had no French speaking units and very few French officers. • They were also upset because French schools in Manitoba were being closed down.
Conscription Crisis • Problem: The English Canadians in the rest of the country felt that the French werebetraying Canada. • Result: In late 1917, the Conscription Act was passed. • This was opposed in Quebec, and resulted in a riot in Quebec City that caused 4 deaths. • In the end, 130,000 soldiers were drafted, but only 25,000 reached Europe before the end of the war.