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Documents in Quebec History


Last revised:
20 September 2000

Quebec and World War One



1. That in this world war, we are fighting for the defence of our property, our liberties and our lives, for the protection of Canada, for the maintenance of the British Empire, and for the preservation of civilization;

2. That at the beginning of the war the Parliament of Canada, speaking for our entire people, unanimously declared it to be our determination to fight to the finish and to put forth our utmost effort to win;

3. That 350,000 men, the bravest and best among our fellow-citizens, have voluntarily gone overseas to redeem this pledge, confidently expecting that those who remained at home would not fail in rendering them full support;

4. That the voluntary system of securing recruits, by which hitherto magnificent results have been secured, can no longer be made effectual to obtain much needed reinforcements;

5. That it is, and, ever has been, a fundamental principle of organized society that each man who enjoys the privileges of self-government is in duty bound to take his share of responsibility in the nation's defence;

6. That the only method whereby additional men can be today secured for overseas service, is by the exercise on the part of the State of its undoubted right to call to the colours such of its citizens as may be required;

7. That the selective draft system, as set forth in the Military Service Act, recently passed by Parliament, carefully discriminates between those who are especially needed in Canada and those who can still be spared from home duties, retaining the former classes here and selecting only the latter-classes for service overseas;

8. That this Act will be applied throughout the Dominion with fairness to all and favour to none;

9. That the needs are urgent and that no other solution of the problem, adequate to secure results, has been proposed by any responsible statesman.

10. That the only alternative to the adoption of the system of securing reinforcements by selective draft is to abandon our brave men at the front and to allow those battalions, we so proudly sent forth, to dwindle and finally fade away.

11. That it is unthinkable that Canada should abandon at the last, those living and dead, who have sacrificed their all for her honor and the world's freedom.

Because I believe the above statement to set forth indisputable facts in the present situation, I endorse unreservedly the policy set forth in the Military Service Act of 1917, and I confidently appeal to all those who share these views to give me their support and active assistance in this electoral contest.


Kingston, Nov. 19, 1917.

Source: from an electoral post card issued during the elections of 1917.

[ * Note from the Editor: Successively an alderman, the Mayor and eventually the member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for Kingston, W. F. Nickle was chosen as the Conservative candidate for Kingston in 1911. He sat in the House of Commons as a Conservative member between 1911 and 1917. In 1917, he was elected under the banner of the Union Government. He resigned his seat in July of 1919. He returned to the Provincial Legislature of Ontario between 1923 and 1926 and served as the Attorney-General of Ontario for the same period. He was defeated in 1926 when he ran as a Prohibition candidate]

© 2000 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College