How the First World War Upended Canada's Political, Social and Economic Norms

By Berthiaume, Lee | The Canadian Press, November 4, 2018 | Go to article overview

How the First World War Upended Canada's Political, Social and Economic Norms


Berthiaume, Lee, The Canadian Press


How the First World War defined modern Canada

--

OTTAWA - The legacy of the First World War will be omnipresent when Canadians stop on Sunday -- the 100th anniversary of the end of the War to End All Wars -- to pay tribute to those who sacrificed for the country and its way of life.

There will be the red poppies pinned to lapels, and the haunting words of In Flanders Field, penned by Lt.-Col. John McCrae after the Second Battle of Ypres.

There will be the National War Memorial, originally built to commemorate the 60,000 Canadians who died during the war, and Remembrance Day itself, which has been recognized every Nov. 11 -- the day the Great War ended -- since 1931.

Yet the enduring impact is felt in countless other ways as well, many of them subtle -- and not all of them positive, despite the popular refrain that Canada came into its own as a country during the First World War.

That's because while the war ushered in many changes as the country pulled together during those four bloody years in a way it never had before, it also created deep divides and challenges -- some of which remain today.

"The war enhances divisions between French and English, between east and west, between rural and urban. It tends to exacerbate and divide based on income and inequality," says historian Mark Humphries of Wilfrid Laurier University.

"So these are kind of the lasting legacies for Canadians."

No event was more divisive -- or politically transformative -- than the introduction of conscription. It was the issue upon which the December 1917 federal election was fought and broke the country along both linguistic and geographic lines.

French-Canadians were deeply angry at being forced to fight a war they didn't believe in, while many rural Canadians and union workers felt betrayed after the government broke its promise during the election to exempt them and their sons.

Mixed into the equation was a great deal of disillusionment as companies made huge profits off the war, even as average workers struggled with low pay and returning veterans faced difficulty finding work or accessing services and benefits.

The result was a rise in Quebec nationalism -- the first independence motion was introduced in Quebec's national assembly in 1919 -- and the death of the two-party system as new federal and provincial parties espousing progressive agendas were born.

"You had class parties, regional parties, left-wing and right-wing parties, separatist parties," says military author and historian Jack Granatstein, who recently co-curated a new exhibit on the last 100 days of the war at the Canadian War Museum.

"They all took form as a result of the events that took place in the First World War, and we live with them still. There are five or six parties in the House of Commons and we will never again, I suspect, have a two-party system."

The emergence of new political parties was only one change in Ottawa as the federal government also took on a more prominent role in Canadians' lives than ever before -- and in ways that continue today. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

How the First World War Upended Canada's Political, Social and Economic Norms
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.