The issue of conscription for overseas service was a hugely contentious issue in both Australia and Canada during the First World War, and the repercussions of it were felt for many decades. With a focus on the political rhetoric of the parliamentary conscription debates in the two countries, this article shows how this reflected the way Australians and Canadians saw themselves as peoples. The conflicting positions between English-speaking Canadian and French-Canadian parliamentarians on the issue highlights the bicultural nature of that country - as a criticism often made by the latter was that the former were British rather than Canadian. In contrast, in Australia there was no question about assisting the "mother-country"; the differences arose over which method: volunteerism or conscription would be the most effective tool to do this. In terms of the impact that the parliamentary debates had on broader society, conscription led to Labour organisations being in battle against business and industry over the issue.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Political Science and International Relations