Canada and WWI: The Effect of the War Measures Act and the NSA Spying Program

The War Measures Act a method to prepare Canada for war.  When put in place the War Measures Act allowed the government to do anything for the sake of Canada’s safety and readiness in the war.   Naturally such a decree infringed on the legal rights of Canadians as it essentially allowed the government to enact any law, deport anybody or seize any property as long as it was deemed helpful in the war effort (Claude B. [1999] The War Measures Act.) 

It had varied effects on Canadians.  While natural for the government to seize more control during times in which national security is threatened; it was used to do very cruel things as well.  During the WWI the Canadian Government detained thousands of Canadians who had Ukrainian ancestry as they were born in Austrian/Hungarian Empire; as well they outlawed Jehova’s Witnesses as an organization and banned texts and works in other languages (Claude B. [2004] The War Measures’ Act.)  These events are clear misuses of the War Measures Act.  As a result of these events the War Measures Act was “replaced by the Emergencies Act, which created more limited and specific powers for the government to deal with security emergencies” (Dennis S. [2012] War Measures Act.)

The War Measures Acts is very much similar to the NSA’s domestic spying program as it was enacted by George W. Bush after 9/11; an event which set America on the War Against Terrorism.  The spying program entailed the monitoring of Internet and call histories as well (2013) How the NSA’s Domestic Spying Program Works.  Another reason the War Measures Act and NSA spying program are very alike is due to the intrusive nature of both programs.  However, the War Measures Act differs from the spying program as the War Measures Act had been used for more exclusive punishments (I.e Detaining Canadians with Ukrainian descent) while the spying program was used to watch all American citizens.

However, that is not to say I agree with what the NSA is doing.  The fact that the NSA is infringing on the privacy of the American populace still stands, and that in itself is not right.  The spying program does not appear to be yielding any meaningful results and has been the result of a paranoid government. I believe it should be abolished as it only seeks to increase the tensions between the American Populace and its government.


Headline. War Measures Act Invoked [Photograph; Headline announces War Measures Act in Ottawa”.] At: (Accessed on 09.23.13)


Dennis, S. (2012). War Measures Act.  Retrieved from

(2013) How the NSA’s Domestic Spying Program Works.  Retrieved from:

National Post (2013). NSA has now Cracked into Common Internet Encryption. Retrieved from

Marianopolis Colllege (2000) The War Measures Act. Retrieved from

Marianopolis College (2004) The War Measures’ Act. Retrieved from

(2011, May. 11) The War Measures Act [Web Log Message] Retrieved from


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