Talk:Conscription Crisis of 1944

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Does anyone think that maybe it would be better to re-title this article as something along the lines of Conscription in Canda During WWII? Because although the situation came to a head during the 1944 crisis, it was a prominently debated and discussed topic from the very beginning of the war (with in fact Trudeau campaigning against it in 1942). Something this article already reflects. The title infers that consciption was only a problem in 1944.

True or false: this article can go in Category:1944. 00:11, 8 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Apparently it can, since it has been added there. Whether or not it is appropriate, I don't know, I suppose it fits. Adam Bishop 07:21, 8 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I don't know much about this, I know more about the conscription crisis in WWI, but I was wondering if it might be possible to add a section comparing the two including why there weren't as many or as large of protests and why some French-Canadians werent as heavily opposed to this.say1988 June 30, 2005 17:45 (UTC)

I would agree with the above. Despite its title, this article only gives two paragraphs to the actual crisis that gripped the King government between October-December 1944, when the Army badly needed new men owning to heavy losses in Italy, Normandy and the Scheldt, and was desperately pressing the government to sent the Zombies overseas. It might be better to note that the King government actually tried to cover up the extent of the losses that the Army had taken in 1944 to avoid having to make a decision on sending the Zombies overseas. This article might also be better if it examined the rather tense relationship between King and the Canadian Army generals (King had rather paranoid views about the Army leadership) , and between King and Ralston. Ralston had resigned from the Cabinet in spring of 1942 when King decided not to sent the "Zombies" overseas despite winning the referendum on 27 April 1942 giving him the mandate to do so, but King had refused to accept his resignation. At the height of the crisis in 1944, King suddenly decided to accept Ralston's resignation that had submitted two years before; technically Ralston was not fired, but to all intents and purposes, King did sack his defense minister in 1944. It might be better to note that many of the Zombies tried to resist going overseas in 1944, which certainly confirmed the image that the volunteers fighting overseas had of them as cowards. I have always maintained that the past does not change, but the memory of the past does change. The memory that Canadians have of World War II is of a "good war" where the Canadian people all united to rid the world of fascism. In fact, the war badly divided Canadian public opinion, and many Canadians, especially in Quebec were completely opposed to Canada fighting in another "British war"; in other words, a great many Canadians did not care about what Nazi Germany was doing, and only wanted to avoid fighting in a war for the British empire again. For an example, the father of Jean Chretien, Welly Chretien campaigned for the yes side in the 1942 referendum, and as the Chretien family were outcasts in Shawinigan for decades afterward. It is not true that the Canadian people all united around the goal of ridding the world of Hitler as many Canadians like to pretend today. A great many Canadians took the view that as far they were concerned Hitler could have all of Europe to do with whatever he pleased with it, and Canada had utterly no business in trying to stop him. It should be noted the most Canadians at the time did not know about the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question", knowledge of which only become widespread after V-E day. However, the Canadian people were savagely unsympathetic on the subject of accepting Jewish refugees at the time, of whom the vast majority of Canadians did not want to see accepted out of the belief that they were all criminals and terrorists; Maurice Duplessis won the 1944 election in Quebec by claiming that his opponent was going to allow 100, 000 Jewish refugees to be settled in Quebec after the war. Mackenzie King was the sort of politician who gives politics a bad name, a man who only did what was popular, never what was right, and the reason why Mackenzie King tried so hard to keep Jewish refugees out of Canada was because that was popular with the Canadian people. If the Canadian people wanted to accept Jewish refugees, King who was a weather-vane politician who only followed public opinion instead of leading it would have been all for accepting Jewish refugees. To use an example; in the 1920s most Canadians were opposed to Asian immigration and in 1923, King banned all Asian immigration to Canada with the Chinese Exclusion Act. In 1942, King interned all of the Japanese-Canadians because that was the popular thing to do. During the war, a number of Chinese-Canadians enlisted in the military despite the fact that they were not allowed to vote or hold office, and some of them were killed for fighting for a nation that did not allow them to vote. So that got enough people upset by the injustice of it all that in 1947 King gave Chinese-Canadians the right to vote, which was followed up by giving all Asian-Canadians the right to vote next year. Note that King was Prime Minister from 1921-26, 1926-30 and from 1935-1948; the fact there was a 1895 law saying that Asian-Canadians may not vote or hold office only become an issue for him in the 1940s when it become an issue for the Canadian people. As one can see on King's changing positions on Asian-Canadians, he was only following public opinion as he was an opportunist devoid of principles or beliefs, and his only desire to hold power by doing the popular thing, never the right thing. Anyone who thinks I am been unfair to King should try reading one of his books or speeches; it is impossible to find out where he stood on the issues. After the 1942 referendum, King told the press his policy from now on was "Conscription if necessary, but not necessarily conscription". So maybe he is for conscription or maybe he is not. Perhaps his dead dog that King used to get advice from his dead mother told him to say that. Getting back to the main topic, it is true that in objective terms, that the Canadians were fighting to end the Holocaust, but subjectively that is not how most Canadians saw the war at the time. This idea that the war was a struggle between a tolerant, multi-cultural Canada vs. aggressively intolerance of Nazi Germany is really a post-war myth as Canadians today project the values of modern Canada onto the Canada that existed 70 years ago. Most of the servicemen who fought in the war, especially those from English-Canada tended to see themselves as fighting for the British Empire, though not to quite the same extent as in World War One. The memory of the war has been changed to fit into it acceptable for modern Canadians. A very difficult aspect of World War II for Canadians today is that those Canadians who really identified with the British Empire were the ones most keen on going all-out against the Third Reich and sending the Zombies overseas while those Canadians who were hostile to the British Empire tended to take anti-war positions. It was the latter group who helped to shape modern Canada, not the former. To use one example, Pierre Trudeau was completely against the war, in which he pointedly did not serve in, and in 1942 he secretly joined an anti-war nationalist group in Montreal committed to a fascistic revolution in Quebec (the group was long on talk and short on action and Trudeau later disassociated himself from his flirtation with fascism). Today, almost all Canadians do not identify with the British Empire as it the definition of Canada proposed by Trudeau and company in the 1960s-70s that has prevailed. The memory of the war in Canada is quite wrong, which explains why the crisis of 1944 does not fit in well to Canadian memory of World War Two today. Now that everybody knows about the Shoah, everybody wants to be against Nazi Germany, and the extent in which French Canada opposed the war as a "British war" that did not concern them has to swept under the carpet. During the conscription crisis of 1944, Mackenzie King in his usual way waffled and waived, never certain about just what to do, consulted his dead dog to talk to his dead mother for advice, blamed everybody but himself for his problems, and tried to delay the inevitable for as long as possible; it was not dignified, but he manged to muddle though just like what he always did. Just as aside; why does this article pay such attention to the role of Canadian Communists in campaigning for yes side in the 1942 referendum? It is true that Tim Buck and the CCP did campaign for a yes vote, but it is really unlikely that the yes side won because of the Communists. That is an absurd exaggeration of the amount of influence wielded by the Communists in Canada. That really seems to be violating the rules regarding undue weight. The Conservatives also campaigned for the yes side, and surely they had more influence on the voters than did the Communists, and yet they had not mentioned at all. Just my thoughts. --A.S. Brown (talk) 23:05, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Date of British Empire's entry[edit]

As originally written, the article said that Canada, along with the rest of the British Empire declared war on Germany on September 10, 1939. In fact, Great Britain declared war on the 3rd, as did Australia and New Zealand. South Africa declared war on the 6th.--Ggbroad 12:06, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Rewrite Needed[edit]

This article is rather erratic, jumping around chronologically, and it contains several factual errors. For instance, King never agreed to conscription. He agreed to a one-time levy of 17,000 NRMA men in November 1944. Moreover, it's not clear what much of the discussion in the first section has to do with the conscription crisis of 1944. --Ggbroad 15:37, 10 June 2006 (UTC)


I found two related images, if someone wants to upload and include them. one and two -- TheMightyQuill 19:34, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Be careful about phrasing[edit]

We need to be careful about phrasing such as this: "English Canadians voted 83% in favour, but the proposal received hardly any support from French Canadians, especially in Quebec, where anti-conscription groups (including one led by Henri Bourassa, the most vocal opponent of conscription in 1917) helped 76% of the population vote against the plebiscite". National voter turnout for the plebiscite was 63%. --Ggbroad 16:14, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Can you provide a source? According to this [1] 63% was the national yes vote (no turnout figure is given) Sixth Estate 17:36, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

A slight error on my part - I got the tallies mixed up as you suggest. Voter turnout was 71%. See: [2]

It would be a simple matter to figure it out province-by-province. There's a breakdown of results for the vote on Wikipedia, and Historical Statistics of Canada, which is now on-line, would tell us the number of eligible voters per province. We should say that 83% of English-Canadian voters and 76% of Quebec voters to be more accurate and factual. --Ggbroad 22:30, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

69 or 79?[edit]

Intro says 69 conscripts died; later the article says 79. Probably a typo. Which is correct? (talk) 15:34, 13 May 2010 (UTC)


I would appreciate a list of authors and contributors to both this article and others.

thanks, Roguexeno — Preceding unsigned comment added by Roguexeno (talkcontribs) 16:22, 27 November 2015 (UTC)

Making minor edits changed

reelected, with the threat that they


re-elected, with the threat that there

- adding white space for readability Netscr1be (talk) 18:08, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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