Canada History

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Prehistory | 2 Worlds Meet | New France | England Arrives | Clash of Empires | Revolution | British America | Reform/Revolt | Responsible Government | Confederation | Nation Building | Laurier | The Great War | Roaring 20's | Great Depression | WWII | The Peace | Cold War | Trudeau | PC's in Power | Modern Canada

Golden Summer | European Powder Keg | Sarajavo | Canada Goes to War | Building an Army | Union Government | Nationalism | Women Get the Vote | Conscription Act | The Home Front | Victory | Aftermath

The suffragette movement struggled in Canada as it did in other countries and it was only because of political expediency during the First World War that a breakthrough was made.

Women in Ontario were granted the right to vote in municipal elections in 1884 and provincially in Manitoba in 1916. In Federal elections the resistance to the vote only crumbled when the Conservatives determined that they had an issue which could be used to gain the women's vole for their party.

When the First World War began the Conservative of Robert Borden decided to ask Wilfred Laurier and his party to support them for the sake f winning the war. As the war ground on and the issue of conscription began to become a device to fill the ranks of the faltering Canadian military units, by Borden, the unity of the country began to split along French and English lines.

Borden formed a union government with support from English Canadian Liberal MP's who also supported the idea of conscription. The Conservatives had been elected in 1911 and their mandate extended with the support of the Liberals but as conscription came to the fore, Laurier refused to allow any additional extensions of Parliament without an election.

Borden realized that a large number of women in the country who had sons or brothers fighting already, supported conscription and if faced with a choice between the Liberals who opposed it and the Conservatives who were in favour of it, they would vote Conservatives (or Unionist).

The Conservatives passed a Bill referred to as the Military Voters Act which gave the vote to just the bloc that would support them, the military wives and sisters and when election day came the Conservatives did indeed gain the major of the new women's vote and won the election. After the limited franchise was extended it was difficult to make the argument against all women voting  and in 1919 the "Act to Confer the Electoral Franchise upon Women" was passed. All of the provinces followed in quick order except for Quebec which did not give women he vote until 1940.