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Canada on the Eve of World War I


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A review of Canada in the years leading up to World War One.

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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Canada on the Eve of World War I

  1. 2. <ul><li>Wilfred Laurier and the Liberal Party had formed a government from 1869 – 1911. </li></ul><ul><li>The Liberals lost the </li></ul><ul><li>election of 1911 over </li></ul><ul><li>the issue of reciprocity </li></ul><ul><li>(free trade with the U.S.) </li></ul><ul><li>Robert Borden and the </li></ul><ul><li>Conservative Party won </li></ul><ul><li>the 1911 election. </li></ul>
  2. 3. <ul><li>Britain controlled: </li></ul><ul><li>- our Constitution, the British North American Act . (BNA Act) </li></ul><ul><li>- our foreign policy (relations with other countries such as trade treaties </li></ul><ul><li>and declaring war). </li></ul><ul><li>Governor-General was a British </li></ul><ul><li>aristocrat sent over from Britain. </li></ul><ul><li>(e.g. Lord Stanley ) </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>Governing Canada was made difficult by the opposing views English-Canadians and French-Canadians usually had on important issues. </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>Overall, Canada was a rich nation, but there were important weaknesses in the economy: </li></ul><ul><li>Dependence on foreign investment (British investment dominated, but U.S. foreign investment was rapidly increasing.) </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>Dependence on trade </li></ul><ul><li>( exports – good ships </li></ul><ul><li>to other countries for </li></ul><ul><li>sale). </li></ul><ul><li>Too many regions depended on one economic activity which caused economic limitations. </li></ul><ul><li>Industries: forestry, fishing, wheat, </li></ul><ul><li> one industry mining towns . </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>Economic disparity (differences in economic prosperity was creating regionalism ) </li></ul><ul><li>Uneven distribution of income and wealth throughout the country was creating social problems and conflict </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>Between 1896-1914, more than 3 million immigrants had come to Canada. </li></ul><ul><li>Almost one-half were neither British nor American. They had mainly come from East Europe and Scandinavia. </li></ul>
  8. 9. Union Station c.1910
  9. 10. <ul><li>Non –whites suffered from racism. </li></ul>YWCA Boarding House, Toronto, c.1910 A Hindu cremation, B.C. c. 1912
  10. 11. <ul><li>In the cities, the income gap between the rich and the poor was very wide. </li></ul><ul><li>Elizabeth Street Jarvis Street, </li></ul><ul><li>housing, c.1910 c.1910 </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>There was no income tax to spread the wealth more evenly and provide social services for everyone. </li></ul><ul><li>Social assistance was seen as the responsibility of relatives or charities. </li></ul><ul><li>The poor, which included most factory workers, lived in overcrowded tenements (slums), where a family often lived in one room. </li></ul><ul><li>The lack of hygiene resulted in the spread of disease and a high infant mortality rate. </li></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>Both sexes generally accepted that the role of a woman was to be a housewife and mother. </li></ul><ul><li>The man was the ‘King of his Castle’. </li></ul><ul><li>Women had the status of a child and were treated this way by men. </li></ul>Home Economics Class c.1910
  13. 14. <ul><li>A woman from a better off family could work as a teacher or secretary, until she got married. </li></ul><ul><li>Poor women could work in factories, as long as they did ‘women’s work’, such as sewing in a clothing factory. </li></ul>
  14. 15. <ul><li>Some women did struggle and won greater equality, such as the right to attend university and become doctors. </li></ul><ul><li>Other women organized to become social activists. The Women’s Christian Temperance Movement fought for </li></ul><ul><li>prohibiltion (to make </li></ul><ul><li>alcohol illegal because </li></ul><ul><li>of the family problems </li></ul><ul><li>it caused). </li></ul>
  15. 16. <ul><li>Some of women became part of the Women’s Suffrage Movement to fight for a woman’s right to vote. </li></ul><ul><li>They were unsuccessful at this time, but the struggle for female equality would become one of the dominant themes of our history. </li></ul>