Canadian Conscription Crisis

By Madeline

Voluntary recruitment was failing to maintain troop numbers and Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden believed in military value, potential post-war influence and strong Canadian contributions to war. In 1917, the federal government decided to conscript young men overseas to military service.


In World War I during the year 1917, conscription took place in Canada. There weren't enough soldiers fighting in Europe at the time. Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden conscripted all male citizens aged 20 to 45. This meant every man who was between those ages had to fight with the military service for the duration of the war.

The conscription crisis in 1917 made French Canadians more isolated than ever towards Canada. French Canadians opposed conscription and felt no loyalty towards Britain or France. English Canadians thought that the French were not doing their duty. Even though Québec had one third of the national population, the French only contributed five percent for enlisted men.

Conscription affected the election, made provinces, ethnic and linguistic groups, communities and families turn against one another. Conscription was important and necessary to failing war effort.