HIST 261: Canada 1920’s 1
February 26th 2014
Canada in the 1920’s
The War had not “fixed” society, Canada had not improved, many things were worse. Social Scientists
began to play a significant role in social reform, people had begun to move away from religion.
● By 1925: The protestant churches decided that Protestantism need reinvigorating
● 1925: United Church was formed (Methodists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians)
● Conservative Church members saw Canada as WhiteAngloSaxon, protested this union of
Prior to the War, women had lobbied for prohibition of alcohol (Women’s Christian Temperance
● Won fight for temperance in WWI, by 1916 all provinces (except Quebec) had banned it.
● When inspectors tried to stop people who had were drinking/making alcohol violence would
● By 1920: ProAlcohol enlisted the help of veterans to push their ideas
● In 1922: 40% of Alberta’s pool halls, 30% of cafe’s were selling Alcohol
● Voters began to listen to Moderation groups (government control, limited alcohol)
○ Liquor stores were monitored, liquor licences were given out to hotels.
○ Very strict rules: had to sit, separate area for women and escorts.
● American Booze Trade: there was a lot of business in alcohol trade now.
Agnes Macphail was the first women elected to House of Commons. Reporters often focused on her
lack of gloves and hat in public, and the fact that she was single.
● Women expressed their new liberation through what they were wearing.
● Emily Murphy: First woman appointed magistrate in the British Empire
○ Challenged as not a person in BNA Act
● Nellie McClung
○ rejected as senator because of BNA Act
● 5 people could petition supreme court for an interpretation of BNA Act.
○ Supreme court ruled that women were not persons in BNA Act.
○ Persons in “matters of pain and penalty but not in rights and privileges”
○ Went to the Privy Council of England, Highest Court of Appeal. In Oct. 1929, Lord
Sankey said that persons did include women.
Women wouldn’t get the vote in Quebec until 1940
● mostly cause of influence of Catholic Church
● Isolated and Isolating itself. HIST 261: Canada 1920’s 2
New Nationalism began to develop in Quebec, a mix of Catholicism, Traditionalism, an French
● L’Action Francaise: Newspaper founded after conscription crisis
● Abbe Lionel Groulx: self taught historian, very important to Quebecer till WWII
○ offered people solace in the traditional ways of Quebec
○ offered people different ways of looking at self
○ had a near elitist view
● no longer would subordination of Quebec by british leaders be accepted.
● During 1920’s: Groulx worked towards a strong economy, preparing for a future in which
confederation would fail
The West (Ontario and Prairies)
● Farmer were no longer the majority, felt they were being left out/ignored
● Farmer’s movement started in west before WWI. Views were expressed through Grain
● Wanted to do away with the middlemen
● Provincial governments listened to Farmer’s demanded, but federal didn’t
● Questioned two party system: In Nov. 1918, Canadian Council of Farmers called for free
trade, nationalization of railways, and direct democracy.
● In June 19 1918: Thomas Crerar resigned in protest of high Tariffs, nine other