Canada in the Twentieth Century A Different Canada 1900-1914 A Different Canada Society and Manners In the early 1900’s most Canadians lived in villages or on farms. It was an English speaking minority that set the standard for society and manners. These people were middle and upper class. They were greatly influenced by the behaviors, tastes, and values Victorian Era. Moral strictness was a common trait, and there was high value placed on modesty and seriousness in life. It was expected that one would attend church regularly. People supported Britain and the monarch. People believed in honor, virtue, and duty. The ideas of right and wrong, and good and evil were clearly outlined. Society and Manners Society and Manners Poverty was thought to be a sign of laziness. If one was poor they must not be pulling their own weight in society. It was expected of families to take care of their own, and to do so without the help of the government or anyone else. Those who cold not do so looked towards charity for help in food and clothing. There was no welfare system in place like in today's society. Because of values and attitudes there was little tolerance for those who did not obey the laws. Punishment for breaking the law was normally harsh. 1914, 27 men were sentenced to death for murder, and 11 of them were carried out. It has only been since 1976 that there has been no death penalty. Society and Manners Courtship in the early 1900’s was a formal affair. It happened under the watchful eyes of the surrounding community. Women possessed few rights once they were married. Women were not considered persons by law unless they committed a crime. Rights over property and children were limited. A women's wages were legally her husbands. Most worked as servants or factory workers outside of the home, and few were teachers, nurses, and the occasional doctor. Divorce was something that was rare and unheard of. Society and Manners Women's suffrage began to arise in Canada as a result of the lack of rights that women had during this time frame. Women wanted the right to vote. There believed they could influence the government if they had the right to vote. They wanted to address social issues such as child labor, pollution, poverty, and one they believed was the cause of many problems, the sale of alcohol. Nelly McClung was a well know suffragist. Campaigned for women’s rights. Was instrumental in the famous ‘Person's Case’ which saw Canadian women declared persons in 1929. She helped put on a play called ‘The Women's Parliament,’ a satire which turned the tables and poked fun at the dangers of giving men the right to vote. This was instrumental in getting women the right to vote in Manitoba first. Arts and Leisure Art and literature of the time was sentimental to the preference for rural life. This was happening as the urban population grew. Lucy Maud Montgomery published the Anne of Green Gables rural romance in 1908. Artists painted pictures of rural farm scenes and landscapes. The outdoors occupied much of peoples leisure time. Running, cycling, rowing, and swimming were favorite pastimes. In the summers people enjoyed trips to the beach, while in the winter tobogganing took the place of swimming. Arts and Leisure Still A British Nation Still A British Nation Even though Canada had its own government during this period in time, it was still considered a British protectorate and part of the British Empire. Britain still had the responsibility of solving issues that took place between Canada and other countries. Because of this some Canadians were disappointed from time to time in the way Britain dealt with issues. Britain did not always have Canada’s best interest in mind when making decisions for them. Case in point is the ‘Alaskan panhandle’ dispute. Still A British Nation Alaskan Panhandle Dispute. Britain negotiated and deal that favored the United States and not Canada. They did so to avoid conflict because of there involvement in the Boar War. The dispute was over the border of the Alaskan panhandle. In particular was the concern for ownership of the Lynn Canal because this provided access to the Yukon. The Yukon was in the middle of the gold rush. Some believe Britain sold-out to the United States. Still A British Nation Laurier in the political cartoon is seen bowing to Uncle Sam during the Alaska Boundary dispute. Still A British Nation Most English speaking Canadians were still proud to be British subjects under the crown. This being the case they were glad to help Britain out when needed. Boar War. People shared in the idea of expanding the British empire through imperialist ways. Most French speaking Canadians did not care for the British Empire. Many were descendents of New France and the people who settled it 200 years earlier. They saw themselves as Canadiens, and not British subjects. The French tended to be nationalists and not loyal to the crown. They were disappointed in the decision to send troops to the Boar War. Still A British Nation Canadian cavalry fighting in South Africa during the Boer War. Many nationalists disagreed, and French speaking Canadians were very disappointed with Laurier’s decision to send troops to South Africa – it’s not our war! Still A British Nation Language rights continued to be an issue in Canada. The French lost the right to French instruction in Manitoba, and then Alberta and Saskatchewan. Henri Bourassa stated that maybe Canadiens would be better off without Canada because their rights as a minority were not being protected as promised at confederation. Sir Wilfrid Laurier 7th Prime Minister of Canada 1896-1911 French-Canadien “Golden Age of Laurier” Canada’s Changing Population Laurier realized after he become Prime Minister that Canada needed to grow in population if it were to prosper. Particularly the West. Laurier and his government circulated posters in northern and eastern Europe, and the United States to try and persuade people to come to Canada. ‘Last Best West’ is what the posters described Canada as. The efforts of the government resulted in big population increases through immigration. Canada’s Changing Population Entry to Canada was easy if you had money and were health. The government offered 160 acres of land for $10. You had to build a house and homestead the land within three years of buying it. The prairies were often harsh and lonely, and conditions drove some people to more urban centers. Canada’s Changing Population Those who stayed found social lives in community dances and picnics, and church concerts and suppers. Cooperation was common in work and play on the prairies. Not Everyone Welcome Many Canadians did not want change in the ethnic composition of Canada. Outsiders were feared. Canadians were ethnocentric. French speaking Canadians were concerned they would become less of a minority and reduce their percentage of the population more. Many Ukrainians and Poles settled in the prairies. They become targets for ethnic prejudice. This included everything from their language to their dress. Many Chinese, Japanese, and East Indians settles in BC. They too suffered from racial and ethnic discrimination. Not Everyone Welcome R.B. Bennett stated that “BC must remain a white man’s country.” Many immigrants (especially Asians) did work that Canadians considered unpleasant. Hauling coal, packing fish, washing dishes, etc. Soon people felt fear and challenged that they immigrants might take there jobs. Special laws were passed to discourage the unwanted coming into Canada and limit immigration from Asia. Chinese Immigration Act Placed a head tax on all those entering Canada. 81,000 paid the head tax; 1885 - $50 dollar head tax, 1903 – increased to $500 dollars. Not Everyone Welcome 1907 there were race riots in Vancouver as a result of Chinese and Japanese immigration. Several restrictions on Japanese immigration resulted because of this. 1908 East Indian immigration was banned. 1914 the Komagata Maru was forced to return to India full of mostly Sikhs trying to enter Canada in BC. Not Everyone Welcome Aboriginal Peoples As immigration grew in the west, more natives began to get displaced from there lands. Their movement and lives was regulated by the Indian Act of 1876. By the 1880’s many Indians were living on reserves. The purpose of the reserves was to open the land up for the settlers and immigrants, as well as, to avoid any conflict like what happened when the US west was settled. On the reserves the natives were to farm and not take part in their traditional lifestyles of hunting. The ;land they were given often had soil that was poor or unusable, and equipment was often limited or of poor quality. Many went hungry as a result. Aboriginal Peoples As more land was needed, some of the reserve land was taken by the government for settlers and company’s to mine. Native populations declined because of disease. Tuberculosis was a major cause. Population as declined due to poor diet and housing conditions. Residential school run by the churches separated families from their children, and caused irreversible amounts of psychological damage. In most cases they had overcrowded dormitories and unsanitary conditions. Aboriginal Peoples Residential schools, reserves, and forced farming were all a part of the federal government policy of assimilation started in 1871. This was to make aboriginal people abandon there traditions and take on a more European lifestyle. Although First Nations soldiers were commended for their performance on the battlefield, they often faced racism in the barracks and rarely rose to the rank of officer. Their contributions to the war were largely unrecognized and it was not until 1992 that First Nations veterans were permitted to place a wreath at the cenotaph during the official memorial service. Aboriginal Peoples Urbanization Thousands of immigrants settled in the cities while the rest still settled on farms. Jews in particular chose to settle in cities because this was more common to them as they could not own land in Europe. Urban populations grew dramatically. The populations contrasted from the rich to the poor. The wealthy lived in luxury – with servants, electricity, hot water heating and running water. The working class lived in overcrowded shacks. Urbanization For the poor, lack of clean water, pollution from neighboring industry, and proper sewers resulted in health problems. Pneumonia, diphtheria, tuberculosis, and typhoid fever were common. Jobs and cultural and social opportunities are what attracted the people to the urban center and not the rural life. Urbanization An Economy Transformed With populations increases in Canada that economy started to grow. Export of natural resources become extremely important to the economy. Timber, wheat, and minerals were key. Canadian export was able to benefit from the cheap cost of shipping across the Atlantic, and the Panama Canal opening in 1914 created shorter shipping routes for west coast products going to Europe. The boom of the Yukon and BC gold rushes helped to contribute to the economic boom from a mining perspective. Gold was discovered on the Klondike River in 1896. An Economy Transformed Electricity in factories was created booms within the industrial growth of Canada. Electricity brought bigger and better machines that could produce more and make more different goods. With industrial grow come more jobs for people to work. With more people having jobs, and the economy booming, an increased demand for consumer goods developed. Canada Dry, Shredded Wheat, Palmolive soap, Heinz, and others all become household names in Canada. 1914 wireless radios were used on many ships, and the 1911 census showed 300,000 telephones being used in Canada. It was now that automobiles were beginning to appear on Canadian streets. Corporate Giants With economic grow come growth of the big corporations. A few key company’s controlled a majority of the industry. i.e. Maple Leaf Milling, Dominion Steel, Massey Harris, and Imperial Oil. With so few business’s controlling the industry, employers were able to set high pieces for good and pay works a minimal wage. Corporate Giants Workers began to create trade union because of the low wages and poor working conditions that they were forced to work in for long hours. Some unions went out on strike when the employers refused to grant their demands. Some strikes got very violent, and police and military were called in in some cases to dissolve the situations. Coal miners in Nanaimo were involved in a 2 year strike over unsafe working conditions and low pay. Recession had set in in Canada by 1914 after two decades of rapid growth. Industries cut back on production, and layoffs began to rise. Farmers lost out because the demand for wheat had dropped. Resources and the Environment Environmental safety was not of big importance in the early 1900’s. Even though this was the case, there was still some concern in certain situations. Rockslide at Hell’s Gate. Happened when the Grand Trunk Railway was blasting in the Fraser Cannon creating a new railway line. The rock slide had effects on the spawning beds of sockeye salmon. It blocked the river increasing the current and preventing salmon from swimming up stream. It was 30 years before the rock were moved. Resources and the Environment The Hell’s Gate incident created problems for First Nations people who depended on the fishing in the Fraser River. Sto:lo First Nations. Commercial fisheries were given right to fish to make up for losses in the money from the slide. The salmon would never reach the numbers they were before the slide. Federal and Provincial governments began to set aside land for provincial and national parks. War and Change Laurier predicted it would be the century of Canadian development, but had no idea that war was around the corner. WWI started in 1914, and was the most devastating thing the world had seen.
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