RNSHS Public Lecture – Wednesday, 19 October 2016

October 19, 2016

“The Halifax Relief Commission and the Politics of the Canadian Home Front during the First World War”

Barry Cahill

The 6 December 1917 explosion of a munitions vessel in the Narrows of Halifax Harbour killed or fatally wounded nearly 2000 persons and injured many more. The catastrophic Halifax disaster was the most significant event affecting Canada’s home front during the Great War. Among its lesser-known aspects is the role played by Canada’s Union government, which assumed complete authority over recovery. It did this through the Halifax Relief Commission (1918–1976), established in January 1918 by Order in Council. This lecture examines the political aspects of the process that led to the establishment of the commission, taking place as it did during the bitterest federal election campaign in Canada’s history — the conscription election of 1917.

Click here for a bio of Barry Cahill.

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