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Canadian conscription plebiscite, 1942

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Title: Canadian conscription plebiscite, 1942  
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Subject: Referendums in Canada, 1942 in Canada, Canadian liquor plebiscite, 1920, By-election to the 25th Canadian Parliament, By-elections to the 31st Canadian Parliament
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Canadian conscription plebiscite, 1942

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

A plebiscite on conscription was held in Canada on 27 April 1942.[1] It was held in response to the Conservative Party lobbying Mackenzie King to introduce compulsory overseas military service, the government having previously promised not to introduce same in 1940.[2] The result was 66% voting in favour,[2] with Quebec being the only province to have a majority voting against. Quebec's strong majority against the commitment's release prompted Mackenzie King not to pursue the issue until later events prompted a change in position.


Are you in favour of releasing the Government from any obligations arising out of any past commitments restricting the methods of raising men for military service?
Choice Votes %
For 2,945,514 65.63
Against 1,543,006 34.37
Invalid/blank votes 50,327
Total 4,638,847 100
Registered voters/turnout 6,502,234 71.34
Source: Nohlen

By province

Canadian conscription plebiscite, 1942
Jurisdiction Yes No
Votes % Votes %
Alberta 186,624 71.1 75,880 28.9
British Columbia 253,844 80.4 62,033 19.6
Manitoba 218,093 80.3 53,651 19.7
New Brunswick 105,629 69.8 45,743 30.2
Nova Scotia 120,763 77.1 35,840 22.1
Ontario 1,202,953 84.0 229,847 16.0
Prince Edward Island 23,568 82.9 4,869 17.1
Quebec 375,650 27.9 971,925 72.1
Saskatchewan 183,617 73.1 67,654 26.9
Yukon 847 74.4 291 25.6
Total civilian vote 2,670,088 63.3 1,547,724 36.7
Military vote 251,118 80.5 60,885 19.5
Canada 2,921,206 64.5 1,608,609 35.5

The referendum was held in all 245 electoral districts, which covered all nine provinces and one of the two territories. Residents in the Northwest Territories did not have a vote, as their area was not organized as an electoral district.


  1. ^ Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I, p127 ISBN 978-0-19-928357-6
  2. ^ a b Nohlen, p130
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