The Wartime Election Act

Cause and consequence: What were the causes and most important aspects of your chosen event related to the guiding question? [5Ws]

Who: Robert Borden, Canadian soldiers, women related to soldiers serving overseas, immigrants and citizens of ‘enemy’ countries, Liberal party, Conservative party, Union Party, English Canadians, French Canadians

What: The wartime election act of 1917 gave the right to vote to female relatives of soldiers serving overseas during world war 1. It also took the vote away from many Canadians who had immigrated from “enemy” countries. The Act was passed by Prime Minister Robert Borden’s Conservative government in an attempt to gain votes in the 1917 election.

When: September 1917

Where: Canada

Why: Robert Borden’s Conservative government had introduced conscription in May 1917, to strengthen and reinforce Canadian fighting forces in the First World War. Conscription deeply divided the country — English-speaking Canadians were largely in favour, while French-speaking Canadians and others not of British descent were opposed. The Conservatives feared that opponents of conscription, including the opposition Liberal Party, would join forces to defeat the Conservatives in the upcoming general election, which would be held in December. Borden made several political moves to strengthen his position ahead of the election. He convinced many pro-conscription Liberals and other opposition MPs to join the Conservatives in a Union government to push for conscription and steer the Canadian war effort. He also changed the rules about who could and couldn’t vote in the coming election by introducing the Wartime Elections Act. The Act was designed to create legions of new voters who were likely to support the Unionists, and to disenfranchise voters who would likely be opposed to conscription. On 20 September, after an angry debate, Parliament passed the Act. The new law disenfranchised Canadian citizens who had been born in “enemy” nations after March 1902, unless those citizens had a son, grandson or brother on active duty in the Canadian military. Meanwhile the Act granted the vote to the wives, mothers and sisters of serving soldiers, as well as to women serving in the military. Canadian women had previously been denied the right to vote in federal elections. Canadians, most of whom supported conscription and the war effort, also supported the Act.

Historical Perspective: How was your researched event viewed by Canadians at the time? How do you know?

Many women were unhappy with the act because it segregated women with relatives in combat and those without any. On top of that, all women in certain provinces were allowed to vote in provincial elections but weren’t allowed to vote in the upcoming federal election. This meant only a certain population of women could vote. However, Canadians, most of whom supported conscription and the war effort, also supported the Act. The voices of those who could no longer vote are not heard or seen in the newspapers.

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Continuity and Change: To what extent did this event or idea affect Canadian social, political, or economic norms or values?

The act undoubtedly increased support for Borden’s party, but was not ultimately a major factor in the 1917 election, which the Unionists won. For decades afterwards, Conservative support in Quebec and among some ethnic and immigrant groups, was badly damaged. In the vote on 17 December 1917, some 500,000 Canadian women participated for the first time in a federal election. The Act was repealed at the end of the war, although by 1918 all women born in Canada over the age of 21 would permanently gain the right to vote in federal elections. The Act’s legacy is contentious, as it both provided many women with the vote for the first time, while also legitimizing in law many widely-held anti-immigrant fears.

Historical Significance: In what ways, specifically, did your event contribute to Canada’s social, political, or economic autonomy? Provide evidence from primary and secondary sources.

Canada became the 8th country to allow women to vote and certain provinces allowed them to vote before 1917 as well. The act was passed before America allowed their female citizen to vote. This shows that Canada isn’t a headless follower of the USA like some people south of the border believe. Canada is the most notable country trying to create equality and break barriers between groups in the country and around the world. Our values are always changing and are flexible to the norms of sociality today. Back then., many men were hesitant to let women vote but nowadays, not letting women vote seems unusual and unfair. This is how we are autonomous as a country and a society.

The Roaring Twenties

Roaring?

quite.

5 W’s / Historical Perspective

This was a time of rapid development and learning. A time of class and elegance, prestige and poverty, adventures and realizations. And this all followed right after a horrid event of blood and gore–World War 1. WW1 was initiated in 1914 and finally came to an end in 1918. Since this was not long after Canada’s confederation in 1867, Canadians most likely felt very unsafe in the new and developing country. However, as the 1920’s approached and the violence completely subdued, Canadians finally felt more at peace. They began to learn and develop the ways of being a Canadian, and secured their identities as one. The 1920’s was decisively their time to focus on things other than politics and war. This meant art, movies, technology, music, and social justice.

http://canadacitizen.blogspot.com/2010/03/roaring-twenties.html

Canadians were full of excitement

 

 

April 23rd, 1945

My dearest Michael,

I am writing this letter with the deepest and most solemn intentions. What I wish to tell you cannot be confined into words, and I hope you take my words, but most importantly my feelings to heart. I wish to tell you a bit about my life, and the cause that I fought for, and with all my mind I hope I can live through tomorrow to see you at home.

It is now the April of 1945, and we have been at war for the past 5 years. I serve now in the RCN, on HMCS Brantford, and I know firsthand the perilous conditions we face every single day on the Atlantic. What a miserable, rotten hopeless life, an Atlantic so rough it seems impossible that a sailor can continue to take this unending pounding and still remain in one piece. Over the course of the battle so far, more than 3,600 Canadian sailors lost their lives in the seas, and more than 752 air men passed away. Canada and our allies, the USN, RN and FFN, stand together in the fight, but no one is safe from the U-boats, and nowhere can we find refuge. Stretching from the cold water of Labrador Sea or the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the waters sailed by the Home Fleet, the allies have been racing to transport materials to Europe, escorting convoys of more than a dozen ships. In the longest battle of the War, the Battle of the Atlantic, we have suffered more than 4000 allied ship loses so far, and millions of tonnages of goods. The imminent victory to the Allied Forces did not come at a small cost.

Canadians are peacekeepers and non-aggressors for the most part, but we are also loyalists to our allies. I have said this in disregard for the French, which you know I am not a part of. I believe that they have made a mistake by going against our war efforts like conscription, and their recalcitrant attitude hinders our support to the rightful cause. Anglophones like me cannot understand their decisions now, but at least they cheer with us when we secure a U-boat kill. The success of the Navy and Air Force united Canada for short bursts, but looking back at the Great War, I doubt its longevity. I do hope that in your time the French Canadians will stand at the same front as the English, and Canada can stand united in a time of global conflict.

The war is affecting Canada on many fronts, many dear to your own family’s lives. Your parents, who are young children at this time, live conservatively with limited supplies. Even the dress of women changed to a simpler outfit. As result of millions willingly contributing to the war effort, Canada has built more than a million tonnages of cargo ships, and more than 200 worships. This has been called “remarkable,” “astonishing” and “magnificent” by an English official, and Canadian strength and economic stability is just starting to shine through the horizon. Canadians are also starting to get together to hear the news and bond with their neighbors, and new job opportunities industrialized many towns. Through the French may realize that their voices are not being considered in this country, bringing some degree of political separation, the war so far has changed Canada’s economy and social identities for the better. This, in no way, mean that the War is beneficial to us, and you must remember that one life lost is one too many. We can only look back blessed that we were not hit as hard as others are.

The Battle of the Atlantic is the turning point of the entire War, even if you take my personal bias out. Without the support of hundreds of Canadian warships, Britain and the Soviet Union could not have continued fighting, and we would have lost the war in Europe. Canadians entered the War with less than twenty serviceable warships, and the number now exceeds three hundred. Canadians are now respected worldwide for their valiant fighting and their industrial power, and we are gaining speed economically and politically. The industries that were built up will continue to power Canada, and our international relations are never stronger. I see a bright future for Canada, one in which it is considered an equal to other world powers.

This is both a testament and a memoir from a sailor, documenting the experiences of the terrible War. I write in a perilous situation, facing a last stand from a Wolfsrudel of 15. I write this so that you will know how War changes everything, from the perspective of one who has gone through it all. I hope you now know about

 

Independant Investigation #2

 

How is Hannah Ingraham a microcosm of a refugee’s experiences during war?

 

Historical Significance

Outline the focus of your inquiry and provide background knowledge. Why is this an important and significant question to ask about the past? Provide evidence from primary to secondary.

 

The focus of my inquiry is to evaluate the POV of a Loyalist refugee during the war of 1812, and evaluating how it serves as a microcosm for other war refugees. It is important to consider the perspectives of an everyday person, including families with women and children. When studying history, we focus on important figures or large scale events without considering its impacts on a normal, everyday family. A Loyalist family had ideals that differed from revolutionaries, making them susceptible to violent attacks and humiliations due to the revolutionaries’ rash and dauntless behavior. Loyalists supported Britain holding a more dominant role in the governing of the colonies, were against expansion and were more reluctant to embrace the ideals of democracy. Their sustained idea was regarded as a crime, so many Loyalists were forced to become refugees and flee to Canada, which eventually led to the division of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada in 1971.

Hannah Ingraham was mentioned in the video we watched. It details how her family was separated when she was only 11, and presents a narrative that essentially serves as a microcosm for the struggles many Loyalist families endured as well. Hannah also represents a side of history’s story that we don’t commonly encounter: she speaks from the perspective of a young girl in the war of 1812, a demographic that isn’t as well represented as Caucasian men who participated on the frontlines of the battles and wars that raged.
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Ingraham was born in 1772 in New Concord, New York.  Her father was part of the “King’s American Regime”, a militia of Loyalists that fought for England during the American revolution. She was no stranger to the hostile treatment her family faced; she witnessed a group of rebels roundup suspected Loyalists and condemn her father to imprisonment. Even after her father served jail time, the family’s land was taken away, and they were left with very little resources. Their family left New York for New Brunswick in September 1784, and settled in modern-day Fredericton.

There are various primary sources of Hannah’s diary entries and writings, from her childhood perspective. I will be re-writing those in my own words, and also writing a diary entry from the perspective of a Syrian refugee (continuity and change).

 

(Historical Perspective)

1776

I remember how much sheep we used to have on our farm. We had cows and I had my own sheep, and I’d often go into the fields to play with them in the evenings. But then the rebels (mother calls them Patriots) took all our things and sold them. Father was taken prisoner. Mother and I don’t know where he is. They do bad things to us if we try to send letters, and they already took grandfather away on a prisoner ship. Mother and I pray daily for Father to come home safe. Mother has to pay rent for our home, and they only gave us a few of our sheep back.

1783

When Father came home, it was an abrupt greeting, because he told us we were going on a ship to Nova Scotia in three days. I didn’t know where Nova Scotia was, but Father told me that was to be our new home.  I helped mother and grandmother pack up our butter, wheat, and potatoes. Uncle helped us pack our things.

Suddenly our house was surrounded by screaming voices, and I cried and cried for hours, but mother told me they were the Patriots. They kicked our door down and took Father away. Mother and I didn’t know if he would come back. Uncle spoke to the Patriots and made some sort of deal, so the next morning, Father was back. I have spent too many nights wondering where Father was and what was happening to him.

When we boarded the ship the next day, I clung on to him tightly. The ship was alright, but the rocking on the waves made me feel very sick. We ran into a horrible storm in the Bay of Fundy, but some kind Frenchmen then took us in their canoes.

I remember hearing babies crying on the ships. Mother told me no one died, but I know that many babies were born. Once we got to St. Anne’s, a stern looking man escorted us to our tents. We were to eat a specific amount each day, and the snow would seep through the frail tent’s edges and make mother and I very cold.

1785

Father worked hard for shillings, and eventually we could build our own little hut and crops. Sometimes I would see Indians trading fur with Captain Clements, and I would run into them. I was scared of them, because of the stories I would hear, and how big and strong they were. Father assured me they would not harm us. We sold cream and butter to make money for groceries and were part of the Loyalist gentry. My brother and I used to run down by the river and pick berries for mother. The ground was new so plants grew well, and we had corn and beans and seeds.

 

(Continuity and change)

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2012 – Syria

The war has been raging for two years now. Our neighbours are crouched together in our house, squatting, squished together, as if our intertwined hands will somehow protect us from the bombs that are hitting us. Other neighbors are running wildly around the streets. We know that running will do nothing, and I don’t like being out there anyway. I didn’t want to be with the screaming and crying. I thought our little house would comfort me.

Dad found us a smuggler. We hid underneath the seats of the car. Everytime we passed a checkpoint, we would hold our breaths and pray that they wouldn’t see us. We got to our camp in Jordan, but we had to walk a long way through the mountains. The sound of a plane or helicopter struck panic and fear every time I heard it, and I ducked down with Dad when we thought someone was coming to capture us.

2013

13 of us live in a tent. We have to pay for everything here, even things like water. There is nothing to do all day. We cannot work, or go to school, so the most we can do is talk to each other. Boredom reigns our daily schedules. We are urging for something to do. ‘The most we can do is help out with cooking or cleaning.

2016 – Canada

We live in Canada now. Mom and Dad always say how grateful they are. A worker from the UN helped us get here. We went to the U.S. first, and then came to Canada, because everyone speaks well about Canada. We don’t understand the language everyone speaks. We have a small house, with a single air mattress, but I don’t have to worry about the bombs or the yelling men again. Dad is worried because we are living off donations, and he wants a job. He volunteers at a food bank, but he said he wants to do more. Mom argues that he can’t get a good job because his English is poor, and no one will hire him. We can’t find opportunity to participate, and Mom and Dad are frustrated. Sometimes I feel a bit lost, as we don’t have many friends, and people don’t talk to us. Mom and Dad tell me to be grateful, as Dad’s mom is still in Syria, and many of our friends are in a far worse state than we are.

 

Social Studies Inquiry Process

What conclusions can you reach about your question, based on the research you conducted?

It is evident that every war or conflict of loyalties within a nation creates refugees. Refugees are people who are displaced, due to political dissent, that are forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. Often, refugees are innocent children who are victimized due to their parent or friend’s affiliations.

By learning about Hannah Ingraham’s story and comparing it to modern day war refugees, we can see that her narrative is an effective microcosm of a refugee’s life and struggles. Refugees live in fear and uncertainty. A key struggle they deal with is displacement and the prospect of completely starting their life over in an unfamiliar place. The issue of Syrian refugees is highly relevant to Canada, as it shapes our diversity and identity. Refugees still deal with a lack of resources and material when arriving at a new place, so it is laborious for them to ignite their new life. This parallels with the war of 1812, as the plethora of Loyalist immigrants fleeing to Canada also molded Canadian identity. 

The Liberal Party of Canada accepts 25 000 refugees through both government and private sponsors. It is a highly controversial topic and is often a defining question in an individual’s political stance and belief.

Hannah Ingraham’s story allows us to look at major events and wars from the perspective of an innocent child or individual that is impacted by disparities in ideas and power. She herself is a microcosm of a byproduct of war and conflict and the increasing prevalence of immigrants and refugees in our society.

 

***disclaimer – the struggles and privileges of British Loyalists and a Syrian refugee are vastly different. We cannot compare them in terms of which demographic struggle(d) more, but we can draw similarities in order to better understand refugees and the idea of a displaced people.

Confederation DOL

Dear Mr. George Brown,

I am terribly sorry to inform you that I’m no longer a member of the Clear Grit party and can’t write for your newspaper anymore. I still believe and fully support Confederation but my views on certain policies have changed over these past weeks. My opinions align with the ideology of the Tories and I am hoping to work with them especially Mr. John A. Macdonald to achieve a new, unified Canada. It’s quite funny actually, they have started calling me “Wondering Willy” for this switch between parties. However, on a more serious note, I do support your movement to create the Great Coalition. If all three parties, The Parti Bleu, The Tories, and the Clear Grits, can join together, we can bring an end to the political deadlock in Legislative Assembly. I firmly believe that this is the answer to Confederation as well. As of right now, the citizens on the Maritimes don’t believe that this is needed but if the Coalition can bring light on the benefits, then I’m sure we can convince them to back the right horse. We need them to understand that as a nation, each province will economically benefit. We can also explain how unity can also protect us from the Americans showing up at our doors every time they want to fight the British. So, with political and economic stability as well as protection from outside attacks, I think it’s time we moved towards creating the country of Canada.

 

Sincerely,

William McDougall

THE DAILY SUN – JUNE 5, 1866

Dear citizens and voters of New Brunswick,

As your Premier for the greater part of the past 5 years, I would like to thank you, the hardworking and steadfast people along the banks of St. John, for supporting me with your voices and ideas. I stand firmly behind the ideas of a confederation, a union of the British North American colonies, and a Dominion of Canada. As I stand as Premier with a majority, I will represent New Brunswick in the conferences to come that will determine our place in the Dominion. A strong nation in the North has been a part of my dreams for almost 20 years now, and hopefully, it will be yours as well.

I believe that you are all well aware of the benefits of a united nation, that of increased trades, better defences, and most of all, a great railway that will connect all of the previously separated provinces. Our beloved home is, unfortunately, not the best in terms of financial debt, but a union can bring new trade and work opportunities to a deprived economy. Our trade deal with the Americans had ended and Britain had long resorted to free trade, so the only and best option left to us would be to look around us. We have all of our colonies, each with different wants and fears, which a mutual trade relationship could satisfy. And any commercial union will inevitably lead to some kind of political union, one in which I now support. With the trans-colonial railway, we will have an influx of new cultures and produces, and we may freely travel to a place of our choosing. Our industrial settlements will boom from the construction of the railway and the resultant effects, and New Brunswick can then lift itself up as a powerful and responsible province.

The recent Fenian raids on the Indian Island may have hit most of you as an alarming call to get our defences up. For those who are blissfully ignorant, the civil war has just ended in the South, and the States are eying us with pity and dominance. Their “Manifest Destiny” threatens to annex our lands. Fenians are small threats compared to the armies of the Union States, and Great Britain is unable to defend us over such great a border. Only the combined power and statue of a united Canada can stop us from being robbed of our beliefs and cultures. United, we are stronger than any single province fighting on its own. It is necessary, therefore, to bind together the Atlantic and Pacific by a continuous chain of settlements and line of communications, for that was the destiny of this country and the race which inhabited it.

I had owned a pharmacy and I know firsthand the needs of the people and the province. I promise to fight for financial security and the great railway with all of my power. You need not worry about the position of New Brunswick in the new union, as I myself am a loyal citizen of this great province. I have and will advocate for strong provincial governments and equitable distribution of federal money, and the rights and autonomy of the citizens. You know me as one who speaks with logic and numbers, and I will not fail you in ensuring Maritime rights. Our independence is inevitable and nodded on by Her Majesty Queen Victoria, and it will only serve to strengthen our relationship with the Great Empire as more of a friend and less of a servant. Therefore, support me and my government, and we will build a strong country together.

I will soon depart for London to negotiate the terms for the first great country to be on this land, one proclaimed to be “inhabited by barbarians, bears and beavers” only, and in a few months time, we might finally call ourselves with the proudness of one belonging to a free and mighty nation – Canadians. Once again, I wish to thank you deeply for your support, and I will continue to uphold a responsible government serving its people.

 

Yours sincerely,

S. L. Tilley

1866

“He shall have Dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” -Psalms 72:8


Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 7 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Wallace, C. M. “Biography – TILLEY, Sir SAMUEL LEONARD – Volume XII (1891-1900) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography.” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. 12, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 1990, www.biographi.ca/en/bio/tilley_samuel_leonard_12E.html.

“Quebec History.” Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley Father of Confederation, Marianopolis College, faculty.marianopolis.edu/c.belanger/quebechistory/encyclopedia/SirSamuelLeonardTilley-CanadianHistory.htm.

 

Document of Learning – The Schuyler Sisters

A:

The Schuyler sisters introduces Peggy, Eliza, and Angelica Schuyler, daughters of Philip Schuyler. They come from a wealthy family with high level connections and influence in New York. The sisters are downtown, examining the drive and excitement of the revolution, and observing how common, poorer people are living their lives. They introduce themselves and voice their admiration for New York, a hub of change and progress. Burr flirts with the sisters, and as they turn him down, the Schuyler sisters demonstrate their own desire to ‘work’, and establish their roles as influential female figures in the revolution and in the presence of women during the time. The song’s upbeat tempo and fast lyrics embody the joy and anticipation of the revolution, and captures the essence of a fast-paced, changing society in which more individuals are fighting for what they believe in, and are moving towards the idea of equality.

The song’s three main characters are interestingly representative of contrasting mindsets and emerging ideas of the revolution. Peggy is the youngest of the Schuyler sisters. She is less involved in politics and is cautious about their adventure, showing her tendency to be more of rule-follower. Her concern with her father’s expectations can be interpreted as a metaphor for loyalists, or people who are reluctant to become an independent nation without Britain’s guidance. Eliza is the second youngest. Her personality is determined and impulsive. Though she doesn’t have solo lines in the song, we can infer that she is also basking in the aura of the revolution. Lastly, the central character is Angelica. She is the elder sister. Angelica is intellectually driven, ambitious, excited and enthusiastic about the revolution. Angelica is the image of a revolutionary; she prides herself on strengthening her moral compass and intellectual prowess in order to contribute as much as she can to her cause.

Aaron Burr provides somewhat of comedic relief. He flirts with the sisters, and pokes fun at their social status. He playfully points out their rebellious behavior: leaving their father to have fun in the city with the common people.

 

B:

“I’ve been reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine”

Common Sense was written in 1776 and was a text advocating for the thirteen colonies’ independence from Britain. He argued for American independence. Common Sense appealed to the common American with its use of straightforward language. It discussed themes like warfare, injustice, social class, freedom, and  patriotism, especially emphasizing how American should be free of Britain’s imposed taxes and unjust laws, such as the Stamp Act. The book was a bestseller and helped involve more colonists in the revolution. Whereas in past times, education and influence was exclusive to solely the upper class, now common people were receiving emoluments for their effort and could easily access inspirational and groundbreaking literature.

In a sense, the entire song revolves around the idea of revolution and a united cause. With lines showcasing scenes such as people shouting in the square, and minds hard at work, we can observe how an idea can affect both the rich and the common people, awakening an ambitious drive.

A demographic that is also connected to the dynamics of privIlege is women. Women during this time were expected to be caregivers who resided at home. However, since the Schuylers were notoriously wealthy, the sisters could involve themselves as much as possible by listening to their father’s conversations or exchanging letters with political figures. Interestingly, Angelica Schuyler had an exchange with Jefferson in which he implied that she was not suitable to participate in political affairs. The song directly references this historical exchange, saying:

“I’m a compel him to include women in the sequel!”

In terms of the setting, historically, New York was a hub for initial progress during the revolution. The Stamp Act faced tremendous backlash specifically from New York, due to its reputation of being a center for commerce. The Stamp Act Congress was formed in New York as a sign of protest, with the Battle of Long Island ensuing.

Relating to New York, the big idea I’ve chosen is:

The physical environment influences the nature of political, social, and economic change.

The song is upbeat and most lyrics concern the joy of living in New York, often considered the epicenter of revolution. Its upbeat tempo, glorifying vocals and repeated mantras synthesize to create a love letter to New York and the joy of living in a fast-paced, influential city. The influence of environment also incorporates your social environment and how it interacts with physical environments. The Schuyler sisters purposely visit downtown New York to watch “minds at work”, or people who are working relentlessly and are sparking new ideas in order to persevere and achieve a common goal. In contrast to their privileged environment, it is inspiring to observe people of lower social class come together and rise up over their obstacles. This is an idea central to the revolution. Anyone, regardless of background, can work hard and make their ideas part of a legacy. Essentially, Alexander Hamilton also reflects this idea.

 

C:

What initially propelled me to chose this song was its focus primarily on female characters and its playful nature. I also particularly enjoyed the dynamic that’s mentioned between people of different social class and status.

“We’re looking for a mind at work” is a line that resonates with me deeply because it encompasses a large theme of the revolution; the idea that ambitious and education can unite a people to rise up against a larger power. Initially, this line can be viewed as a line sung to the men, but after deeper analysis it spans more than simple attraction or desire for a man. The sisters want someone who can help include them in the revolution, which foreshadows the relationship between Eliza and Alexander.

Another line that struck me significantly was Angelica’s revelation on the Declaration of Independence. She sings about the idea of equality and equity, and how people can be self regulated and dictated if given equal opportunity. Angelica to her core is the image of a feminist character, being self driven and seeking to further her own education despite her father’s control or societal limitations.

We can look at “The Schuyler Sisters” as a source of inspiration to our lives. The song’s upbeat tempo and repeated mantra of “Work!” tells us to keep pushing towards our goals with passion guiding us, and the Schuyler sisters are role models to girls who wish to make their own impact on the world in a fashion that is exclusive and special to your own strengths and personality.

Tommy Douglas: Check In

“At that time Saskatchewan had the fewest hospital beds per capita in Canada. The ultimate goal should be kept in mind, said Sigerist: “to provide complete medical services to all the people of the province, irrespective of their economic status, and irrespective of whether they live in town or country.” [… Soon,] within seven years Saskatchewan had the most hospital beds per capita in Canada.”

The world changing public health care program started from a vision, that everyone regardless of their class can receive world-class medical services, born from the visionary that is Tommy Douglas. Douglas’s family had always been part of the working class, and when he was young, he had not the resources to find a doctor to perform surgery on his infected legs. His legs would have been amputated if a renowned orthopedic surgeon hadn’t passed by and offered his service free of charge. Since then, the seed grew so that when Douglas had the power to change the world, he did so for the people. Douglas was all about the socialist movements, aimed at the workers who are not respected and protected by rights. Worker’s lives in the early 20th century is hard, as they have not the money to provide for themselves even the basic necessities of life. Their lives are in the hand of big corporations, which benefit from tariff and price control. Nowadays, Canadians can all receive decent health care regardless of class and race, a feat that even in the present world is scarcely seen.

“workers in the building trades had become increasingly frustrated. The cost of living had jumped by 73 % since the beginning of the war, while their wages had risen only 13%. They wanted better wages and the right to form unions and bargain collectively. […] Business leaders spread the baseless rumour that Bolsheviks were behind the action, and the Winnipeg Citizen reported that the strike constituted a “determined attempt to establish Bolshevism and the rule of the Soviet.” (23)

This passage strikes me as significant since workers are unequally treated, and that they are also not allowed to protest. They are not given a voice. To protect their interests, corporations would spread fake news and later, strikers are silenced by force, resulting in death and blood. Voices supporting the protest are arrested soon after. It is a very different society from our own now, and once again, we see that workers have no rights. If they are not being treated fairly and are struggling to make ends come, especially later in the 1930’s, why are they still not allowed to voice their concerns? Do they even have a voice then? The answer would be no. The society was focused on the upper classes and the corporations, and the workers are not respected. A couple more steps and we would arrive at fascism. Today, it is different and at least everyone is given a voice and a right to peacefully demonstrate. We have a society that is built on its people, and Canada is still developing to support and equalize its peoples. Without many of the CCP’s or NDP’s early policies (worker’s rights, old age pension, health care, co-op), this process would be significantly delayed and perhaps our society will be a lot more racist and unequal for our citizens.

“I recognized then that if you came to a choice between losing freedom of speech, religion, association, thought, and all the things that make life worth living, and resorting to force, you’d use force” – Tommy Douglas (89)

This is a conclusion that Douglas drew during the onset of World War 2. The party leader of the CCP then was a pacifist, who opposed all military activities. Douglas argued that the basis of Canadian society is the values that we possess, and if fascism from the Axis powers takes over, we would cease to be ourselves and the values that we had held would evaporate under force. Pacifism would not matter if we do not use force, as there would be no means for anyone to act or speak anymore. There were many with this idea, but not many had expressed it as elegantly as Douglas did. This was an occasion when Douglas develops as a mature politician and realizes that his ideas are important and valid, and that ideas and values should never yield to authority.

One of the great legislative advances of the government was the passage in 1947 of the Saskatchewan Bill of Rights. It protected freedom of conscience, opinion, religion, expression, and […] preceded the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by a year and came a full thirteen years before the Canadian Bill of Rights. […] Even prior to the end of the Second World War, the CCF invited Japanese-Canadian internees to resettle in Saskatchewan, at a time when most parts of Canada were trying to keep [them away].” (143)

Many of the innovative ideas by the CCF had Douglas, and most importantly, the people behind it. These new concepts that aimed to equalize Canadians and improve life for most of Canadians would not have been possible without leaders who care about the people. Saskatchewan was turned from a province loaded with debt and unhappy citizens to a booming, front-facing multicultural world. Canada had led the world towards universal human rights, and Douglas is the pioneer behind the wheel. It shows how Canada is a country built by people who are different, yet the same when they unite as a nation.