the First World War, Canada 's main enemy
was Germany . At the time, there were 500,000 people of German background
living in Canada . Many had been invited to settle in Canada 's
Prairie provinces because of their farming skills. They were known
as hard workers. Prime Minister Robert Borden called them the “very
best” in the land.
when Canada was at war with Germany, Canadians quickly began to
view all German-speaking people with suspicion, even those who had
been in Canada for many years.
was at this time that Canadians began to discriminate against some
people who did not look and act like other Canadians.
example, when the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa burned down in
February 1916, many people blamed the Germans living in Canada.
It later turned out that the fire began when someone left a burning
cigar too close to a stack of papers.
few months later, in September 1916, when a bridge in Quebec City
collapsed, people once again blamed Germans living in Canada. They
thought that Germans, working for the enemy, had attacked the bridge.
A thorough investigation proved that it was a construction accident,
not enemy sabotage.
one of the strangest accusations, however, was that German airplanes
were making raids on Canada. Canadian citizens reported that they
had seen German airplanes flying overhead. These planes were entirely
imaginary. Germany never had airplanes flying in Canada,
but people made up stories anyway.