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University of British Columbia
HIST 325
Jonathan Newell

Review: The Devastation of Halifax in Wartime, 1917  Halifax City and Harbour ◦ city: in 1917, pop 50000: waned as a city after Confederation industrial & residential expansion with WWI; pivotal point for Canadian and British navy; troops, wounded neutral ships to register. Etc. ◦ Harbour: Canada's equivalent to a war zone fortified; filled with ships coming and going; convoy formations; blackouts; anti-submarine nets; deteriorating management of harbour by 3 different authorities (haphazardous, several minor ship wrecks  The Devastation at a Low point in the War ◦ morning of December 1917 two ships collide; one filled with explosives, one a relief vessel filled with supplies for Europe ◦ in succession: fire, mile-high explosion, wind storm, tsunami, and worst blizzard of the decade destroys ships in harbour, most of Halifax and other towns in the harbour area, 2000 dead and missing; major casualties; homes and industries destroyed, rescue operations hampered by storm  “Out of theAshes” ◦ Halifax relief commission: Hydrostone district a national historic site ◦ Barometer Rising (1941) by the celebrated Canadian writer Hugh MacLennan (1907-1990), is set in Halifax at the time of the explosion; includes a researched and first-hand (in childhood) description of its impact on the city; a contribution to a distinctly Canadian literature ◦ a memory of wartime years filled with disaster at home; but a chance to start again Lecture: Votes & 1917 Election  Votes and Women and Temperance/ Prohibition in Wartime: The Country and the Regions ◦ The Topics: ▪ Canadian Wartime ElectionsAct, Military VotersAct, Military ServiceAct (Conscription) of 1917 ▪ women's suffrage campaigns: “Votes for Women” and WWI ▪ Temperance—starting well before WWI- and eventually, prohibition, in wartime ▪ Quebec being out of sync with rest of Canada ▪ political fallout of Canada  Some Big Questions: ◦ we have looked at nothing that on the surface was not also part of the history of other countries ◦ suffrage and temperance and votes for women were not exclusive to Canada. Usually, everything we've focused on has started outside Canada, with Britain and sometimes the US as the leadership ◦ what makes these movements, ideas, policies, philosophies, discriminations, etc., Canada? What makes them aspects of Canadian History? -- unique as to HOW Canada dealt with it  Wartime ElectionsAct, September 1917 ◦ repealed at the end of the war: ▪ disenfranchised (stripped of the vote) a broadly defined group who came from “enemy” countries after March 31, 1902 ▪ enfranchised (Given the vote) the female immediate relatives (wives, widows, mothers, sisters, daughtsts of voting age) of soldiers serving (included aboriginal women). 1 women voting federally in Canada (Union government: all conservatives and most liberals-except Quebec)  Military VotersAct, 1917 (October) ◦ gave the vote to all Canadian military personnel at home and abroad and nurses in the war, regardless of their period of residency in the country or it a ratepayer (property owner) ◦ they simply voted for the current government or for the opposition; the votes could be assigned to specific ridings by the governing party  Borden's Electoral Promises ◦ those two pieces of electoral legislation 1917 plus Borden's: ▪ promise that farmers' sons would be exempt from Conscription (deemed essential workers, though this was rescinded in the spring of 1918) ▪ pledge 1917 to enfranchise women; (AnAct to confer the Electoral Franchise upon Women, 1918) ▪ formation of a coalition governmen
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