War Measures Act - First World War

First World War

In the First World War, a state of war with Germany was declared by the United Kingdom on behalf of the entire British Empire. Canada was notified by telegraphic despatch accordingly, effective 4 August 1914, and that status remained in effect until 10 January 1920.

The War Measures Act, 1914 was subsequently adopted on 22 August 1914 to ratify all steps taken by Canada from the declaration of war, to continue until the war was over. Sections 2 to 6 of the original Act in particular provided for the following:

2. All acts and things done or omitted to be done prior to the passing of this Act and on or after the first day of August, A.D. 1914, by or under the authority of or ratified by,-

(a) His Majesty the King in Council;
(b) any Minister or officer of His Majesty's Imperial Government;
(c) the Governor in Council;
(d) any Minister or officer of the Government of Canada;
(e) any other authority or person;

which, had they been done or omitted after the passing of this Act, would have been authorized by this Act or by orders or regulations hereunder, shall be deemed to have been done or omitted under the authority of this Act, and are hereby declared to have been lawfully done or omitted.

3. The provisions of sections 6, 10, 11 and 13 of this Act shall only be in force during war, invasion, or insurrection, real or apprehended.

4. The issue of a proclamation by His Majesty, or under the authority of the Governor in Council shall be conclusive evidence that war, invasion, or insurrection, real or apprehended, exists and has existed for any period of time therein stated, and of its continuance, until by the issue of a further proclamation it is declared that the war, invasion or insurrection no longer exists.

5. It is hereby declared that war has continuously existed since the fourth day of August, 1914, and shall be deemed to exist until the Governor in Council by proclamation published in The Canada Gazette declares that it no longer exists; but any and all proceedings instituted or commenced by or under the authority of the Governor in Council before the issue of such last mentioned proclamation, the continuance of which he may authorize, may be carried on and concluded as if the said proclamation had not issued.

6. The Governor in Council shall have power to do and authorize such acts and things, and to make from time to time such orders and regulations, as he may by reason of the existence of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection deem necessary or advisable for the security, defence, peace, order and welfare of Canada; and for greater certainty, but not so as to restrict the generality of the foregoing terms, it is hereby declared that the powers of the Governor in Council shall extend to all matters coming within the classes of subjects hereinafter enumerated, that is to say:-

(a) censorship and the control and suppression of publications, writings, maps, plans, photographs, communications and means of communication;
(b) arrest, detention, exclusion and deportation;
(c) control of the harbours, ports and territorial waters of Canada and the movements of vessels;
(d) transportation by land, air, or water and the control of the transport of persons and things;
(e) trading, exportation, importation, production and manufacture;
(f) appropriation, control, forfeiture and disposition of property and of the use thereof.

Read more about this topic:  War Measures Act

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