Conscription Crisis Position Paper
I have recently read your editorial on the conscription crisis examining the multi-faceted perspectives that Canada faced during World War 1. This letter is in response to your position outlined in the editorial as pro conscription. However, one could argue against conscription in that it has exacerbated the state of Canada in terms of its domestic relations between the French-Canadian and English-Canadian people. Those who oppose your editorial could counter that The Military Service Act of 1917 which first enforced conscription in Canada suppressed French-Canadian culture. The Conscription Act forced Canadian men into the military service, which was predominantly English-speaking, this began to create language barriers, specifically for French-Canadians. Communication barriers and the absence of French-Canadian Regimens caused French-Canadian men to feel as though they were being attacked and involuntarily assimilated. French-Canadians were also denied the opportunity to move up the ranks as they had limited English language skills. The Manitoba Schools Act also restricted the amount of French learned in French-Canadian schools and was considered an aim towards assimilation from the Anglophones. Additionally, the conscription act was not democratic and stripped the French-Canadians of their basic needs and rights. Canada used the French-Canadians as a replacement for the English soldiers. When the English- Canadian soldiers came back home, they took over the French-Canadian’s jobs, political positions and especially their voters voice. Conscientious objectors, many of whom were French-Canadians and recent immigrants from enemy countries, were denied from voting. It further violated fundamental human rights as it forced men to essentially give up their lives and make the ultimate sacrifice for a country they lacked connection to. These French-Canadians felt little Canadian nationalism as a colony, and instead were nationalistic in their own French-Canadian heritage. Conscription asked these French-Canadian men to fight for Britain as Canada remained a British colony. However, these men had little ties to Britain and hence felt a disconnect in their motivation to fight. French-Canadians had lived generations in Canada and considered themselves as their own nation, described as Canadien. Historically, they had been independent from both Britain and France and did not feel the need to protect their sovereignty as Canadians but more specifically French-Canadians. They felt as though going to war would do little in the pursuit of what was important to them, their French-Canadian culture and heritage.
Conversely, upon examining your editorial, the arguments for conscription are strongly supported. The positive aspect of conscription is seen in how the call for enlistment fortified Canada and Britain in their war efforts during World War 1. Conscription was necessary for Canadians as it was...