Previous Index Next

 

148   DAYS OF PREPARATION

acts of hostility, though refusal was made punishable by internment under the Militia of Canada. At a later date, certain German and Austro-Hungarian nationals having become apprehensive for their safety—more particularly lest some action on the part of the Government should deprive them of their freedom to hold property or to carry on business—they were assured by speci 1 proclamation that their fears were quite unfounded and that so long as they respected the law they were entitled to its protection. They were at the same time, however, prohibited from having firearms or explosives in their possession, under penalty of fine and imprisonment, the sale or transfer of firearms or explosives to them being also forbidden. This prohibition was later withdrawn in the case of farmers or homesteaders in remote parts of the country who might require firearms for protection against wild animals or for the shooting of game.

Up to this point the demands upon the resident alien enemy were virtually of a negative character, namely, that they refrain from hostile participation in the war. A certain number had been apprehended and interned, but the ordinary machinery of the Dominion Police and of the Militia had proved sufficient. By the month of October, 1914, however, more specific supervision and control were found expedient. As the war progressed, realization of the ramifications of enemy intrigue and of the menace inherent in the presence of large numbers of his nationals in Canada intensified. But the immediate spur to action was the growing unemployment and resulting destitution and unrest among the aliens them-selves. It will be remembered that the first effect of the war upon Canadian industry was to deepen a depression already widespread as a result of the cessation, in 1913, of the almost continuous expansion and "boom" through which Canada had for a decade been passing. Ultimately the heavy orders for munitions which the war brought to Canadian manufacturers transformed the situation into one of renewed and intense activity. But,


Previous Index Next