Nova Scotia and the Conscription Election of 1917
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This study traces the course of .federal politics in Nova Scotia from the time of the federal government's announcement of a policy of military conscription in early 1917, through the period of the formation of Union Government, to the federal election in the fall of 1917. The study attempts to explain why the Liberal Party received substantial support in the 1917 election in predominantly English-speaking .Nova Scotia, when it was soundly defeated in English-speaking Canada west of Quebec. The study suggests that constituency organizations of both parties were unwilling to renounce party loyalty in 1917, even in the face of such important national questions as conscription and Union Government, and that, as a consequence, the election in. much of t he province became, to all intents and purposes, a traditional 'Grit-Tory' contest. Moreover, the effectiveness of conscription as an election issue was largely neutralized during the campaign by the tactics of both parties: Liberal candidates were for conscription, in some areas, and against it elsewhere depending upon the mood of the electorate, and Unionists watered down their party's pro-conscription stand by promising substantial exemptions from conscription. The result was a re-assertion of the traditional voting pattern in the province: the Liberal Party received a majority of the civilian votes, as in previous elections, and was defeated only by pro-Union soldiers votes.