Service in the militia of Upper Canada in September 1853 was compulsory, but the law had become a mockery, according to this account, reprinted from the Guelph Advertiser.
Galt has long been a place of notoriety in the petty annals of the neighborhood, and when nothing else has been available, even a court martial to try delinquent militia men has not been too small an affair for the amusement of men dressed in a little brief authority. The enrolment and annual training have become such a farce that in few places has there been any attempt to enforce them. On a previous occasion a Court was held at Galt, and quite a number of persons fined for non-attendance or non-enrolment, and so generally did the affair excite disgust that the Press from one end of the Province to the other condemned the proceedings. This year the same farce has been re-enacted, nearly fifty persons having been fined for non-enrolment.
The uselessness of the thing, the sacrifice of time requisite to attend the training, and the nondescript character of the officers, all tend to bring the affairs into disrepute, and two or three such proceedings as have been enacted in Galt will kill off the law entirely. At the next training day let every company assembled join in petitioning the Legislator [sic] for the repeal of so useless a measure, and the thing will be accomplished.
A correspondent of the Reformer asks if it is not necessary that the members of the Court Martial should be in uniform. On referring to the militia law we will learn that unless each officer furnishes himself and appears on the parade ground with regimentals and sword, his commission is superseded. Taking our stand on this, we presume that the Court Martial was formed of men, at least nine-tenths of whom had no commission in law, and whose decisions may be safely laughed at.
Unfamiliar Canadian history stories 040