History

What is a conscientious objector? A conscientious objector, or CO, is someone who refuses to go to war because it is against his or her conscience. You can think of a conscience as a sense of right and wrong. COs believe that it is wrong to go to war. They do not want to hurt or kill people. They do not want to join the military or support it in any way.

This web site will help you to understand the conscientious objector experience in Canada during the Second World War. Through pictures, words, and voices you will meet the men who chose to be COs. You will find out why they became COs and what happened to them during the war.

The web site will also raise some questions about what you believe and why you believe it. Canada has not been involved in a war where the government imposed military conscription since the Second World War, but it is important to think about what would happen if you had to make a hard choice like the conscientious objectors did.

If Canada did go to war, what would you do?
Don't answer now.

Look through the web site. When you are done, think about what you've read, seen, and heard. Then ask yourself the question again: If Canada went to war, what would you do?

Mennonites respect life and freedom and seek to live in peaceful existence with God's creation. While we acknowledge the sincerity of those who serve in the military, we believe in the power of truth, justice, and love rather than in the power of war. We respect those who answered the call to arms during the Second World War. We also deeply appreciate that Mennonites were able to respond in ways that reflected our convictions. We believe that the story of conscientious objectors is an important part of history.