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War Measures Act

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All around the world, there are times when governments need more power to run, maintain and protect their countries. In these times of peril an act or declaration may be needed. In Canada, this act is known as the War Measures Act. The War Measures Act was a federal statute that gave more control to the Canadian government such as repurposing factories, enforcing harsher laws on immigration and immigrants, and the ability to perform searches or arrest without due process to maintain security and order during times of crisis. This act was enacted three-times; during World War I, World War II, and most controversially during the October Crisis. There are many ways that the War Measures Act affected World War I. On June 28th, 1914, the Archduke…show more content…
In September of 1939, World War II had officially begun. Before the war started, Germany, lead by Adolf Hitler had begun to take over many other countries around Europe including Austria and Czechoslovakia while also allying themselves with other countries such as Russia and Japan(Sharpe 6). When Germany sought after Poland, Britain gave them un ultimatum to pull out of the country and when they did not do so Britain was at war. In December the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor which is when the United States declared war against the Japanese. Due to our close relations with the U.S at this time, it also created a huge hatred for the Japanese in Canada(Sharpe 8). Canada did not join the war until September 10th 1939 and around this time Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King re-invoked the War Measures Act. No changes were made to this act since the use of it during World War I. The most enacted part of this act forced any Canadians of Japanese descent, who were mostly the ones affected by the act, to attend concentration camps while also having their property and items taken from them by the government(Montgomery par 5). The act also sent the Mayor of Montreal, Camillien Houde, who spoke to his citizens against conscription to a concentration camp (Belanger par 14). On top of this the act outlawed the communist party and other organizations such as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The positive outcome of this…show more content…
On October 5th, 1970 the British trade commissioner, James Cross, was kidnapped from his home in Montreal and this started the October Crisis. This kidnapping was done by a French Canadian Terrorist group known as the Front de Libération du Québec who wanted Quebec to be separate from Canada(Tetley 1). Three days later the Minister of Labour who was seen to be very involved in the Quebec government was also kidnapped on his front lawn(Tetley 1). During that time there were many supporters of the FLQ including politicians, workers of the press, and leaders of labor unions. All these people wanted to exchange the two hostages for members of the FLQ who had committed things such as bombings or murders. The federal government lead by Pierre Elliot Trudeau and the Quebec government lead by Robert Bourassa both refused to release any prisoners for a hostage trade and because of this, many people felt scared. Quebec then requested to Trudeau to send in the army on the 15th of October and the next day the two government joined together to bring the War Measures Act back into effect. Due to the act, 497 citizens were jailed without warrants including strike leaders as well as people who could be perceived as a threat (Tetley 1). During this time there was a huge backlash when the act was brought up because it was a time of peace. However, this time only a limited number of powers from the act were
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