Canadian Wartime Propaganda
First World War Wartime Photo
The 1917 federal election was one of Canada's most bitter. At the time, heavy casualties overseas and declining voluntary enlistment at home threatened to erode Canada's fighting power and weaken its international standing. For many, this predicament required a greater national effort, perhaps one that would force Canadians to serve overseas; for others, it highlighted the futility of the struggle itself, and the domestic risks inherent in pursuing it with such a vast expenditure of blood and money. The winning party, a coalition (or Union) government, enacted conscription (compulsory military service) to ensure a steady stream of reinforcements.
Soldiers overseas, responding in part to bold claims like the one shown here, voted heavily for the Union side. Wives and widows at home, entitled by special legislation to vote federally for the first time, did the same. Additional legislation disenfranchised many recent immigrants, who would almost certainly have voted against the conscriptionist side.
Library and Archives Canada