DEALING WITH ENEMY ALIENS IN 1914

Tuesday, December 8, 1914

In Camp, West Down South, Salisbury Plains

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Duty Battalion. Rifle inspection.”  [1]

08 Dec 14_ATHIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: “During the First World War, national security fears and wartime prejudice drove the policy of internment, which lasted until 1920.  During this time, Canada interned 8,579 people identified as “enemy aliens,” mainly Ukrainian and German immigrants, across a network of 24 camps.”   [i]

“Ottawa, December 10. – It is understood that it has been decided by the Government to utilize many of the alien enemies who have been interned in Ontario and in Quebec to clear sites for experimental farms in northern Ontario and northern Quebec, along the lines of the National Transcontinental Railway.

The Government has had under consideration for some time the question of such farms along the route of the N.T.R. to demonstrate the value of these lands for agricultural purposes.  The illness of Hon. Martin Burrell has delayed the carrying the scheme into operation.

08 Dec 14_BActive steps will be taken at once in selecting the sites and in preparatory work of clearing.  The alien enemies may be utilized for this purpose, as under the rules of the international law provision must be made for their maintenance as long as they are detained in this country.

Some eight hundred are being sent to Petawawa Military Camp to clear roads.”   [i]

* Enemy aliens: A term commonly used to describe citizens of states legally at war with Canada who resided in Canada during the war.

 

[1]    War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Dec 8, 1914.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089681.jpg
[2]    City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 867A as found at  http://www.warmuseum.ca/files/2014/09/German-prisoners-CNE.jpg
[3]  http://www.warmuseum.ca/files/2014/09/German-prisoners-CNE.jpg
[4]   “Alien Enemies To Clear Farm Sites,” The Montreal Daily Mail, Montreal, Quebec, Friday, December 11, 1914, pg. 3, col. 3
[5]   Ibid

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