Laurier House National Historic Site of Canada

V: Putting it All Together: Activities for Students

This section may be used as a basis for topical or linked projects. It may be done via the Internet, over the course of one or two class periods. Alternately, teachers may choose to assign each group a different project, to be done at school, and at home, using the resources of both school and public libraries and the Internet. Or teachers may choose to assign the same project to each group.

1. Research and compare

Using the "Supplementary Resources" section of this website, research and find an account of the Conscription crisis of 1917 by an English-Canadian historian and another one written by a French-Canadian historian. You may want to read more than just one paragraph of each account. Using the knowledge you acquired through research, in class, and through this lesson, evaluate each account. In each case, submit the account to the following questions. Does it seem true? What events or people does it focus on? Use your pencil to underline the sentences that ring true. Use a red or green pencil to circle the sentences that appear rooted in a particular linguistic or cultural perspective. Now compare both accounts. How do they differ in their presentation of the Conscription Crisis? In your opinion, does one seem more accurate than the other? Why do you feel this way?

2. Debate and discuss

Read the 1917 editorial as a group. Now divide your group into two sub-groups. One group adopts the position of French-Canadians with regards to conscription. One group will adopt the perspective of English-Canadians. Once the research is done, hold a debate, which you will present to the class. Have one of your classmates play the role of the mediator. What would you think of this war if you had grown up in Quebec? If you had grown up in English-Canada?

3. War letters

Research old war letters. Both the National Archives of Canada at www.archives.ca (choose your language, then click on the box called "War" or the Department of Veteran's Affairs, at www.vac-acc.gc.ca are good places to start. You might also seek out war letters written by your own relatives. Ask your parents if any members of your family participated in World War I or World War II. (Please be sensitive if they do not wish to speak of this topic. Experience of war may leave the person concerned with very painful memories.) Alternately, search your local library for compilations of war letters in book form. Read at least four war letters from soldiers, nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers or other people present at the Front. Research the War Art of Alex Colville and other artists sent by the government to capture their impressions of war. Based on this research, write a description of life at the Front, and present it to the class. Did this research change your opinion on the issue of Conscription?

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