Welcome readers to todays offering from The Philatelist. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. We have an interesting story to tell of a colony gradually pulling away from England and how that complicates a war effort.
The stamp today is Canadian, from the war years of World War II. What is most noticeable is how American it seems. In the early war years, which is when this stamp is from there was an image of America as an arsenal of democracy with much production but not yet much overseas service. This is definitely apace with this stamp issue and what was happening in Canada.
Todays stamp is issue A100, a four cent stamp issued in 1942 by Canada. The depiction is of a grain elevator. The 14 stamp issue in various denominations showed various aspects of Canadian industrial and agricultural production in support of allied nations war effort. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 60 cents used. The stamp to look out for in this issue is the $1.00 blue stamp displaying a Canadian made destroyer. It is worth $65 for a mint one.
The Canadian war effort in World War II was hampered on many fronts. The French decended residents of Quebec were extremely opposed to conscription into the army. The Premier of Quebec extracted a promise from the liberal government that there would be no conscription for overseas troops. This lead to a few existing army units going to Britain where they were only to be used if Germany invaded. There were also new units of so called zombie soldiers that were not allowed to deploy outside Canada so took little part in the war.
This was controversial on ethnic lines. The army was a vast majority of soldiers of English decent. They volunteered in great numbers and were anxious to take a more active role. On the other hand the French were almost completely unrepresented. The Liberal government of the time was worried about Canadian standing in the world if it turned out that for the most part Canada sat out. Churchill largely ignored Canada already because they were unwilling to go where Britain wanted and he thought them poorly trained and led. The Liberal Party also thought that it would hurt there reelection chances to have sat out the war. So an election was held to allow conscription and more overseas deployment. The measure passed and rules changed but again with no support in French Quebec. It was widely believed in Quebec that the Canadian central government had agreed to post war take many displaced Jews into Catholic Quebec. This was untrue. Pierre Trudeau, the future Prime Minister was a young campaigner against the change and indeed himself did not serve overseas. Canadians did eventually take part in D-Day and the liberation of France and Italy.
The sacrifices of Dominions and Colonies of Great Britain in the World Wars did much to loosen the ties with the old home country. This was even true in places like Canada and Australia where so many of the people were of English decent. The time when a country could maintain control of large armies of foriegnors was at an end.
Well my drink is empty and so it is time to open up the conversation in the below comment section. Were Canadian efforts in World War II, not enough, too much, or not enough? I am of English decent, but born in Quebec, and have never quite understood how Quebecois could sit out the liberation of France. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.