Conscription should not have been used in Canada during the first World War. Not only was it unnecessary, it had an undesirable outcome for all. Conscription has also raised controversy between the people in the country itself. Conscription during the first world war was very much unnecessary.
Around four-hundred thousand people volunteered to fight for Canada, but only a small fraction made it to the front lines before the war had ended. Conscription was one thing, but transferring the conscripted soldiers overseas was another. Only fifty thousand out of the one-hundred thousand of them successfully made it overseas. These numbers show that conscription did not benefit the war as much as the people thought it would.
With conscription, more money also had to be spent on the transportation and supplies for the thousands of soldiers. These efforts clearly have been wasted on volunteers that barely managed to fight in the actual war itself which shows how insignificant conscription was. Canada has faced many unpleasant consequences brought in by conscription. One of which was the significant amount of debt Canada owed due to the number of soldiers that participated in war. Canada’s debt ascended from four-hundred and sixty-three million dollars to two point four six billion dollars in the time span of five years. Because of this, the government had decided raise the income tax as a “temporary measure necessary to win victory.
” Through this we can see that conscription in Canada has caused many unnecessary issues to not only the government, but to the canadians as well. Workers in Canada spent countless hours producing food and general war materials under extreme conditions to have a big chunk of their salary taken away from the government. These are just a fraction of the numerous consequences that are encountered by the canadians. One of the greatest concerns of conscription was the conflict between the French speakers and the English speakers. Canada’s Prime Minister at the time, Robert Borden believed that conscription would help the Canadian Expeditionary Force and bring victory to Canada.
His plan was to start a Union government that was mainly made up of English speakers. The Military Service Act became a law in nineteen seventeen which meant conscription was mandatory in Canada. The French Canadians opposed this as well as the entire province of Québec. Protests and riots were carried about by the French speakers regarding the newly made law. They were also accused of rooting for the enemies. In the Khaki Election, the Union government had gained one hundred and fifty-three votes, however, only three of them were from French speakers.
On the other hand, the liberalists gained eighty-six votes, sixty-two of them being from French speakers. This shows that the tension was very high during this time and that conscription was not something everyone in Canada agreed about. The French canadians were very much against conscription which lead to the friendship and bond between the English speakers and the French speakers to be broken. Conscription has proven that a single idea has a large effect on everyone. It shows that people within the same country can also disagree on something so greatly. Conscription has provided many troubles and was a useless way of trying to win war which is why Canada should not have used conscription in the first World War.