During the First World War, unruly and ill-disciplined Canadian soldiers, on “assorted ’patriotic’ pretexts,” damaged local property and battled with local police forces in Victoria, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Campbellton, New Brunswick, and other Canadian centres. The riots in Calgary in February 1916 involved members of Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) battalions encamped near the city. While historians have focused on the anti-German nature of the attacks, several other considerations must be examined to explain the unlawful behaviour. Although a court of inquiry into the riot failed to conclude who was responsible, the contemporary evidence suggests strongly that soldiers, rather than civilians, started the disturbances. But what conditions allowed such behaviour to occur? The military context of the time offers insight. Recruitment, training and discipline were all factors, as was the nearness of the soldiers’ camp to Calgary. The military, however, denied responsibility, arguing that the culprits were “civilians” in uniform. By refusing to compensate the owners of local establishments for the damages caused during the riots, local and national military authorities made worse a problem they should have prevented.
Lackenbauer, P. Whitney
"The Military and “Mob Rule”: The CEF Riots in Calgary, February 1916,"
Canadian Military History: Vol. 10
, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholars.wlu.ca/cmh/vol10/iss1/4