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Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War
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  - Politics and Government
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  - William Lyon Mackenzie King
  - Conscription
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  - C.D. Howe
  - Agriculture
  - Wage and Price Controls
  - Life on the Homefront
  - Women and the War on the Home Front
  - The Family Allowances
  - Salvage
  - Veterans and Veterans' Programmes
  - Hamilton, Ont.; a City at War
  - Montréal, Quebec; a City at War
  - Axis Prisoners in Canada
  - The Canadian Armed Forces
  - The Royal Canadian Navy
  - The Canadian Army
  - The Royal Canadian Air Force
  -Francophone Units
  - The Air Training Plan
  - Casualties
  - Canadian Prisoners of the Axis Powers
  - Demobilization
  - VE Day
  - The Halifax Riots

Post-War Planning

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Canada and the War

Politics and Government

The national Liberal Party, elected in 1935, was approaching the end of its first mandate in 1939. Cautious, solid, a master of political timing, Prime Minister Mackenzie King had skilfully led Canadians into a war he had always known they would have to fight. He had by then almost fifteen years experience as the country's leader.

King's first wartime political challenge came almost immediately, from Quebec. Premier Maurice Duplessis called a Quebec election in September 1939. His Union nationale party claimed that Ottawa's war policies would take power away from Quebec and turn it into just another English province. King's ministers from Quebec declared that they would resign if Duplessis won, leaving the province to face a federal government dominated by English ministers who would not have francophone Canada's interests at heart. This ploy worked: Duplessis was defeated.

Then, soon thereafter, another challenge. Ontario was governed by Mitchell Hepburn, a Liberal like King but a bitter adversary of the Prime Minister. A resolution by Hepburn's legislature condemned the national war effort as too little and too late. King's response was to call a snap election in March 1940, and he was returned with an increased majority in the federal House of Commons. King's re-election freed the Liberals from having to go to the voters through the darkest days of the war.

By 1943, Hepburn and the Liberals had lost power in Ontario. The Conservatives took power and the Liberals had fallen to third place. The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) had formed the official opposition there. They also had won several federal by-elections and were leading both the Liberals and Conservatives in national opinion polls. Confronted by this turn to the left, the wily King grabbed some of the CCF's social policies designed to ensure a better and more secure life for the people. ( see Post-War Planning ). In the new session of Parliament which began in January 1944, the Liberals brought in family allowances, a massive housing programme and gave employees the right to join unions. When the next federal election was held in June 1945, between the end of the war in Europe and the end of the Pacific war, the Liberals won again.

The government grew in size and complexity. In March 1940, the Clerk of the Privy Council took on the additional task of Secretary to the Cabinet. In that role, he quickly became the country's chief paper-keeper and a key advisor to the Prime Minister. Mackenzie King's small wartime team, the Cabinet War Committee, replaced the full Cabinet as Canada's most important decision-making body.

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