"There is considerable consternation": Lunenburg's quiet riot and other minority responses to the 1917 Military Service Act in the maritime provinces

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University of New Brunswick


Resistance to the imposition of the Military Service Act during the Great War took many forms in the seemingly compliant Maritime Provinces. Notable areas of resistance include the minority Acadian and African-Canadian populations of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and somewhat surprisingly in the minority-German township of Lunenburg Nova Scotia. Heavy-handed actions by the Dominion Police imposing conscription on this fisher-dependent town threatened to disrupt the deployment of the fleet to the Gran Banks, resulting in a 1918 confrontation. Still, they resisted: these generally mild Maritimers protested in spite of the very real potential economic consequences to the entire community. The is the legacy of this under explored event in our historical narrative, and that is why the people of Lunenburg's "quiet riot" and the subtle opposition shown by Maritime minority populations should be written back in to the history of resistance to the Conscription Act in the Maritime Provinces.