The National Resources Mobilization Act was passed 21 June 1940 by Parliament. It represented the government's response to the public clamour for a more effective Canadian war effort that arose in the wake of the stunning German victories in Belgium and France. The Act enabled the government to requisition the property and services of Canadians for home defence. An earlier promise made by PM Mackenzie King in 1939 not to introduce CONSCRIPTION
for overseas service was honoured, but it was reversed in August 1942 following the national plebiscite of April 1942. The amended NRMA permitted the sending of conscripts overseas in addition to the existing regular volunteer forces. The NRMA was important politically as it attested to the government's determination to intensify the war effort. It tended to appease the conscriptionists without antagonizing the anti-conscriptionists. In military affairs the Act created a duality in Canada's military that was to last until the war's end. It also resulted in the training of a large body of men for military duty. From 1940 to 1944 close to 60 000 NRMA soldiers ("zombies") volunteered for general service, and several thousand more were sent to the front after the use of conscripts for overseas service actually began late in 1944.
Links to Other Sites
The Archives of Ontario Remembers the Home Front
In honour of the 60th anniversary of D-Day, the Archives of Ontario presents this stirring retrospective of Ontario’s extraordinary Home Front contribution to the war effort. Check out the personal stories, photographs, posters, video clips and other multimedia.
The Memory Project: Conscription
Listen to an interview with Canadian veteran Jacques Catudal who recounts his experience with conscription during the Second World War. Also check out related interviews and digitized artefacts and memorabilia at this extensive website from the Historica-Dominion Institute.