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90   DAYS OF PREPARATION

Alberta, 10'2 per cent.; and British Columbia, 137 per cent. The same critic figured that had Quebec done as well as Ontario the Canadian army in the spring of 1917 would have amounted to 508,805 men. Another example of the figures with relation to Quebec is seen in March of the same year, when the Montreal military district produced 292 recruits and the Quc'_b^c district 81, bringing the totals to 36,282 and 8,141, respectively. The combined total of these two districts was not half the number obtained in the Toronto district alone, and fell far short of the total in the Kingston-Ottawa district. Military experts early in the year figured that Canada needed at once 70,000 men to keep four divisions in the field, and for five divisions which had been planned 84,000 men were required.

On Thursday, January 18th, 1917, Parliament assembled for what proved to be the most momentous session in the half-century of Confederation. Little did the members realize that before the House dissolved parties would be split asunder and men who had hereto-fore been held up as examples of extreme partisanship would be joined in a Union Government. The session started with very little display of party feeling or the slightest indication of the political transformation that was to come. Though conscription became the main theme of debate, not a hint of it was given in the Speech from the Throne. The Speech simply recited the fact that during 1916 the enlistments had numbered 165,000 and that the aggregate of the enlistments since the beginning of the war was nearly 400,000. Mention was also made that the First Ministers of the Dominions were to attend a series of special and continuous meetings of the War Cabinet in London " to consider urgent questions affecting the prosecution of the war." The debate in reply to the Address was not spectacular, and few references were made to conscription. J. A. Descarries, member for Jacques Cartier, speaking from the Government side in seconding the motion for the adoption of


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