This Friday, we pay tribute to the soldiers who fought overseas and the workers here at home who helped keep Canada safe through the first World War. Though it’s been over 100 years since the beginning of WW1, we look back at the incredible things we can be thankful for in Canada, this Remembrance Day.
Women’s Right to Vote
Women’s right to vote was rolled out in stages, starting in 1917 with the passing of the Military Voters Act, allowing women directly involved in Canada’s war effort to vote. This right was then granted to wives, widows, mothers, daughters and sisters of Canadian veterans. By the end of 1918, all women in Canada were granted the right to vote.
Canada Recognized as an Individual Nation
Though Canada’s history begins in 1867, it was due to its contributions in WW1 that Canada solidified its individuality from Great Britain. Canada had earned itself a seat at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and by 1931, the Statute of Westminster was passed by the British government, treating Canada as its own country with equal status to Britain and the ability to write its own laws. The only exception was that Canada’s constitution and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council would remain under British rule until 1949.
Canada’s involvement in the war started with small colony of civilian soldiers – a mere extension of the British army, under their command – but ended with a heavyweight military arm under the guidance of Canadian leadership. The taking of Vimy Ridge in April of 1917 was what solidified Canada as a reputable force as for the two years prior, neither British or French troops were able to secure this critical vantage point.
Though war is never something we wish for, at least Canada’s economy thrived through war time and beyond as we built shells, ships and airplanes – over 66 million shells alone were produced in our factories. Resources like lead, lumber, nickel and copper were in high demand and created plenty of job opportunities – especially for unemployed women who were able to take over for the men fighting overseas.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields is an iconic war poem, written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae who was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of his friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. The poem remains one of the most popular wartime poems and one of Canada’s best known-literary works.