Conscription Crisis

May 23, 2017

Anti-conscription parade in Montréal

Anti-conscription parade at Victoria Square, Montréal, May 24, 1917. Library and Archives Canada, C-006859


In the face of mass casualties on the Western Front, Sir Robert Borden’s government enacted the Military Service Act in 1917. It made conscription, or compulsory military enlistment, the law. Opposition leader Sir Wilfrid Laurier was firmly against the act. A number of his Liberal MPs agreed with him, but not all: the party was divided. Conscription was bitterly resented in many quarters, especially in Quebec.

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