Did you know that there were more than 10,000 conscientious objectors in Canada during the Second World War?
Did you know that there were more than 10,000 conscientious objectors in Canada during the Second World War? Conscientious objectors are those people who refuse to participate in military service for personal, political or religious reasons. In Canada, over 80% of conscientious objectors do so for religious reasons. Canadian Mennonites, for example, are one of the largest communities of conscientious objectors.
At the time of conscription, many people were forced to enlist in the army. Tensions were high and in Quebec this naturally translated into the conscription crisis.
To avoid a national crisis, the Canadian Army gave them the choice of working in one of the auxiliary services: in construction, in industry or in medical services. In many areas, the work was difficult and probably many people would have preferred to do something else! But at least the war was avoided for them.
Cover photo: Conscientious objectors continued to work in camps until World War II. This photo shows a group of Mennonites working on a road in Jasper National Park, Alberta (source: Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission).
A video edited and narrated by Aglaé Pinsonnault, and researched and written by Julien Lehoux for Je Me Souviens.