Conscription was an extremely divisive issue in Canada during the First World War. As the numbers of men enlisting in the Canadian Expeditionary Force dropped, the government began to seriously consider non-voluntary enlistment, also known as Conscription. The issue created deep wedges in Canadian society, pitting families, friends, neighbours, and community members against one another. In this assignment, you will discuss whether Conscription should have been instituted as a wartime measure. You will be placed into small groups, asked to take a position on the issue, and directed towards resources to help you conduct research that supports your position. You will also converse/debate with your group members about their arguments and supporting research.
Select Groups from the Tools dropdown menu on the navbar to find the group you have been assigned to.
Choose one of the following statements: “The Conscription Bill should have been instituted by the Canadian government in 1917 because….” OR “The Conscription Bill should not have been instituted by the Canadian government in 1917 because….” It is recommended that you do a bit of reading about Conscription first so that you understand what the debate was about. When choosing which side to support, think about how you would have felt at the time and place yourself in the shoes of a Canadian living in 1917 — would you have wanted Conscription to be enforced?
Part I: Gather Information and Prepare/Post Your Argument
You will then consolidate the relevant research into a concise report that clearly addresses the question of whether Conscription should have been instituted by the Canadian government.
Examples of possible sources:
A. M. Willms, “Conscription, 1917: A Brief for the Defence,” The Canadian Historical Review 37 (4) (1956): 338-351.
W. R. Young, “Conscription, Rural Depopulation, and the Farmers of Ontario, 1917-19,” The Canadian Historical Review 53 (3) (September 1972): 289-320.
M. Djebabla, “Fight or farm”: Canadian Farmers and the Dilemma of the War Effort in World War I (1914-1918),” Canadian Military Journal 13 (2) (Spring 2013): 57.
Desmond Morton, “Did the French Canadians Cause the Conscription Crisis of 1917?” Canadian Military History, 24 (1): 89
Gordon L. Heath, “The Protestant Denominational Press and the Conscription Crisis in Canada, 1917-1918,” Historical Studies 78 (Annual 2012): 27.
Andrew Theobald, “Une Loi Extraordinaire: New Brunswick Acadians and the Conscription Crisis of the First World War,” Acadiensis 34 (1) (Autumn/Automne 2004): 80-95.
- Again, you are strongly encouraged to look beyond these sources for others that will also help support your argument.