Wilfrid Laurier's Decision To Participate In The Boer War

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The foreign policy decision this paper explains is the decision of Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier to join Britain in the Boer war in 1899 and how imperialism played into this decision. The war for South Africa’s independence, commonly known as the Boer War where Britain and regions of the British empire fought the South African Republic with the support of its colonies, the war ended with the annexation of the republic with victory for Britain. During this time Canada was still under the severe pressure of imperialism and still felt duty to be at war when Britain was at war. Further this paper examines Laurier’s decision to participate without convening parliament for authorization, and the conflict in Canada between French and English Canadians …show more content…
It was decided piously by parliament that Canada supported the war but with no talk of sending troops, the subject of sending a contingent did not come become a severe issue until after the beginning of October when the Boer’s issued an ultimatum to the British. The trigger to make this decision was when the hostilities began on October 11, 1899 and the pressure from Joseph Chamberlain, Colonial Secretary, reached an all time high. Laurier convened his cabinet ministers to negotiate a decision that would appease all sides. This cabinet meeting ended with the compromise of sending a volunteer contingent on October 13,1899 to aid the British empire in their efforts against the Boer’s to ensure they maintained control over their colonial state. This decision caused an internal conflict within Canada in that English Canadians supporting a Canadian war effort to aid their British comrades, and the French Canadians denying aid to the British in their colonial venture. This societal pressure from English Canadians to aid Britain in fighting for British freedom and justice against the Boer’s “backwardness”, was supported by Prime Minister Laurier who is quoted as saying “If Britain is at war, then we are at war.”. Henri Bourassa, French Canadian Liberal MP, with French Canadian political leader Joseph Israel-Tarte fought against troops being sent into Africa but eventually lost out on this decision because it was not voted on by parliament until that

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