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CONSCRIPTION IN CANADA   105

order the Prime Minister stated that up to then Canada had sent 364,750 men overseas; the total Canadian casualties had been 150,188, with 40,477 dead. Further he stated that the Military Service Act had been worked out "with a great deal of inequality and sometimes with very marked injustice." In solemn sentences Sir Robert told the House of the determination of the Government to back up the men at the Front. Considerable debate ensued, but the Order-in-Council was approved by a vote of 114 to 65, a majority of 49, which by the way was the initial test of voting strength for the new Government in the Commons.

The first men called were those of the ages of 20, 21, and 22. The inequalities were wiped out together with all exemption claims. Even a huge delegation of farmers who stormed the Capital to wait on the Prime Minister, pleading the need of young men in the cause of production, could not budge Sir Robert a hair's breadth from the position he had taken. Only in cases of extreme hardship, which were comparatively few, was there any excuse for the physically fit unmarried men of the ages indicated not being in khaki. Then and only then did Canada have real conscription. Men were called upon as soon as places and uniforms could be found for them. The name "conscript" was dropped, and "draftee" substituted. City streets were frequently used as drill grounds. The appearance of the "draftees" excited favourable comment. Quebec's response was so gratifying that laudatory Press opinion appeared in those journals which had hitherto bitterly assailed the young men of that province. One day in Quebec City, where a few weeks before there had been rioting, sixty men were called and sixty responded. Students in Quebec colleges, instead of waiting for the draft, formed battalions of their own. There was ample evidence that Canada's army would be reinforced. From the Front came reassuring news that our troops were encouraged and ready. Canada was in the war to the finish.


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