How the Great War up­ended Canada’s po­lit­i­cal, so­cial, eco­nomic norms

Coun­try pulled to­gether dur­ing First World War, but di­vi­sions en­hanced by con­scrip­tion LEARN MORE ABOUT VOTE AT THES­TAR.COM/WORLD One per­son dead af­ter mid-air crash be­tween two planes Post­media can­cels print de­liv­er­ies to schools over pot ads

StarMetro Calgary - - CANADA & WORLD - Lee Berthi­aume Alanna Rizza

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 made sac­ri­fices 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,” said 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 it 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. A tablet com­puter dis­plays a dig­i­tal poppy dur­ing a cer­e­mony mark­ing the start of the Cana­dian Le­gion’s Re­mem­brance Day cam­paign. Post­media Net­work Inc. will no longer be de­liv­er­ing news­pa­pers to schools across Canada in or­der to com­ply with fed­eral laws that re­strict how cannabis is ad­ver­tised to mi­nors, the com­pany said Sun­day.

A spokesper­son for the Cana­dian news me­dia com­pany said print de­liv­er­ies have been can­celled to el­e­men­tary and high schools across the coun­try that take part in the News­pa­pers in Ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram.

ADRIAN WYLD/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.