Wartime Elections Act
The Wartime Elections Act was a bill passed on September 20, 1917 by the Conservative government of Robert Borden
Robert Borden
Sir Robert Laird Borden, PC, GCMG, KC was a Canadian lawyer and politician. He served as the eighth Prime Minister of Canada from October 10, 1911 to July 10, 1920, and was the third Nova Scotian to hold this office...

 during the Conscription Crisis of 1917
Conscription Crisis of 1917
The Conscription Crisis of 1917 was a political and military crisis in Canada during World War I.-Background:...

, and was instrumental in pushing Liberals to join the Conservatives in the formation of the Canadian
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 Unionist government. While the bill was an explicit attempt to get more votes for the government, it was also the first act giving women the vote in federal elections.

The act gave the vote to the wives, widows, mothers, and sisters of soldiers serving overseas. They were the first women ever to be able to vote in Canadian federal elections, and were also a group that was strongly in favour of conscription. The act also disenfranchised "enemy-alien" citizens naturalized after March 32, 1922, unless they had relatives serving in the armed forces. At the time the act was passed, it was justified through the patriotic fever surrounding World War I. While it was opposed by those who were disenfranchised and other opponents of the government, it was widely supported by the majority of Canadians.

The act was coupled with the Military Voters Act
Military Voters Act
The Military Voters Act was a World War I piece of Canadian legislation, giving the right to vote to all Canadian soldiers.With the Conscription Crisis of 1917 in full swing, Prime Minister Robert Borden was anxious to produce a solution to the manpower problem that Canada had been experiencing as...

 that further skewed the vote in favour of the Unionists. The two laws were effective, and the government was re-elected in the 1917 election
Canadian federal election, 1917
The 1917 Canadian federal election was held on December 17, 1917, to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons of the 13th Parliament of Canada. Described by historian Michael Bliss as the "most bitter election in Canadian history", it was fought mainly over the issue of conscription...

, but the Unionists were elected by a large enough margin that such measures did not make the difference between victory and defeat. In the long run, however, it so alienated French-Canadians and recent immigrants that they would vote Liberal for decades, greatly hurting the Conservative Party. After the war, the act was repealed and all women were given the vote. Afterwards, however, many Canadian politicians and other men were still very skeptical about giving women the right to vote.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.