Previous Index Next

 

34   DAYS OF PREPARATION

and somewhat acrimonious controversy, this was done. The matter was submitted to a popular vote ; the advocates of the change of name won by a small majority, and in August, 1916, the name was changed to Kitchener.

In the first winter of the war there was an agitation in Toronto over the position of several professors of German birth on the staff of the University of Toronto. Various statements were made as to these professors having German sympathies. It was not alleged that they were endeavouring to inoculate students with these views. But the position was uncomfortable, and finally the connection was severed. Later on Canada had the novel experience of a trial for treason. Mr. Emil Nerlich, head of an old established firm of importers of fancy goods, was charged with high treason; specifically, with aiding Arthur Zirzow, once a lieutenant in the German army, to escape from the city. Mr. Nerlich and his wife were afterwards charged with the same offence of aiding Zirzow and also with giving information to and trading with the enemy. Mrs. Nerlich was acquitted upon the ground that nothing had been proved against her except sympathy with the enemy, which was not an indictable offence. Mr. Nerlich was acquitted on the charges of giving information and trading with the enemy, and found guilty on the charge of helping Zirzow. But the conviction was quashed by a higher court, and a second trial resulted in an acquittal.

Papers whose German proclivities were pronounced and unmistakeable, such as the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung and Fatherland, were excluded from Canada. A more complicated question arose in the case of journals which endeavoured to give both sides of the question for the benefit of their readers, .the bulk of whom were American citizens. When an article had a German complexion an outcry would arise in Canada for the exclusion of the paper from the mails. Nothing was done, and eventually the agitation regarding these papers died out.


Previous Index Next