Montréal demonstrations protest conscription plan (4-24-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (April 24, 1941)

Montréal demonstrations protest conscription plan

Montréal, April 24 (UP) –
Feeling in this French-Canadian city against conscription of men for military service outside of Canada erupted late last night and early today in unauthorized street demonstrations which were broken up by large detachments of police.

Some 300 excited youths participated in the demonstrations, police estimated.

Several young men were arrested

Two attempts to parade with banners bearing slogans opposing overseas conscription were broken up by police before midnight following an anti-conscription meeting which was addressed by several members of parliament from Québec Province.

After midnight, the still-undiscouraged demonstrators made three attempts to converge on the Merchant Seamen’s Manning Depot at the Place Viger Hotel, shouting:

Down with the British refugees!

A large number of police were assigned to guard the depot headquarters and authorities finally discouraged the demonstrators.

The meeting and subsequent demonstrations came as the federal government campaign in Monday’s conscription neared a climax. The government is asking that the Dominion voters free it from a 1940 campaign pledge not to draft men to serve outside Canada.

Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King and others in his government have stressed that approval of their request will not necessarily mean that on overseas draft […] will be placed in effect immediately, but they pointed out that in the total war now in progress, they must be free of any shackles that would hamper action.