Canada experienced heavy losses during the war, and when enlistment hit an all-time low in 1917, there were calls for conscription. Conscription became the key issue in the 1917 federal election, and Prime Minister Robert Borden ran with a Union (Liberal and Conservative) pro-war agenda. In an effort to bolster the Union vote, the Wartime Elections Act of 1917 was introduced. This act disenfranchised conscientious objectors, and extended the vote not only to soldiers, but also to their sisters, wives and mothers.
The women of the Grange, Keys, Adamson and Fraser families would have cast their votes for the first time in a federal election. Although the vote was issued on a temporary basis only, the door to universal women’s suffrage was opened.