Alternative service in Canada during World War II

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Toews, John Aron.
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ALternative Service appears as a new phenomenon in Canadian History during World War II. As the name indicates, Alternative Service was a form of service in lieu of military which the Canadian Government provided for conscientious objectors upon the special request of the Historic Peace Churches. The provision of such a service during a time when the policy of "total war" seemed to offer the only hope for national survival, certainly constitutes an interesting and challenging subject for historical study. Alternative service is more than a mere name given to a form of civilian service during wartime; it is one of the most striking symbols of freedom of conscience and religion in a democracy. That a nation would allow expression in wartime of a viewpoint which contradicted the generally accepted policy for national defence is a significant thing. Although both Great Britain as well as the United States provided non- combatant service under civilian direction during World War II, Alternative Service in Canada developed along distinctive lines, and did not conform closely to the systems in either Great Britain or the United States.