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of Rhineland Mennonites to Mexico and Paraguay, while the second resulted in the immigration of Russian Mennonites to Rhineland.
|Fig. 21||Field Crop R.M. of Rhineland 1921-1931|
Source: Census of Canada
School Legislation and Crisis
Attempts to make the public school an agent of assimilation among the newer Canadian immigrants preceded the war. The Flag legislation of 1907 and the School Attendance Act of 1914, had already taken steps in this direction. War time feelings intensified these efforts and threatened traditional Mennonite school privileges.
When the war spirit got hold of the west, and to poor equipment were added the dual sins of pacifism and German speech, the patience of the public and officials would no longer stand the strain. Recourse was had to compulsion. 10
In February of 1916 the Liberal Government of T.e. Norris abol ished the Bilingual Clause of 1897. This in effect replaced bilingual schools, with government supervised district schools offering instruc tion in English only. A revised School Attendance Act was also passed at this time, requiring compulsory attendance of all school age children unless it could be demonstrated that a satisfactory education could be provided in a private school. II Because Mennonite private schools were not directly affected by the passage of these acts, the immediate effect of this legislation was the transformation of Mennonite district schools into Mennonite private schools. The Reinlaender group, who had suc cessfully resisted district schools up until this point, were not greatly affected, but both the Sommerfelder and Bergthaler Churches decided to convert all their district schools into private schools. 12
This changeover was initially tolerated by the Manitoba Govern ment, since the legislation of 1916 had not been exclusively directed against Mennonite bilingual schools, with Mennonite schools regarded as a minor problem." By 1918, however, this attitude had begun to change as the government began to see this Mennonite action as an attempt to destroy the public school system. To halt this reversion to private school status the Department of Education appointed a special agent, in the person of 1. F. Greenway, to act as official trustee in