Joseph Lawson was a Toronto insurance broker who was attested into the 204th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, to act as a recruiter. He often appeared at recruiting rallies with John Slatter, bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders.
By 1917, war weariness had become apparent among many Canadians. This was heightened as the issue of conscription was thrust to the forefront of the political scene. Henri Bourassa and other anti-conscriptionists presented their views in this pamphlet, and many others like it. Among the contributors are Bourassa himself and the federal Minister of Agriculture, Sydney Fisher. Opposition to conscription was grounded on a number of reasons, not limited to the weakening of domestic manpower and the perceived threat to the economic wellbeing of the country.