How do you respond to a depression
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How do you respond to a Depression?. Economic Cycle. Prosperity. Recovery. Recession. Depression. By the numbers…. A depression is different than a recession because: Unemployment drops even further (usually more than 10% are unemployed)

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How do you respond to a Depression?

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How do you respond to a depression

How do you respond to a Depression?

Economic cycle

Economic Cycle





By the numbers

By the numbers…

  • A depression is different than a recession because:

    • Unemployment drops even further (usually more than 10% are unemployed)

    • The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) drops more than 10%

  • 1930s unemployment – 33%

  • Drop in GDP – 42%

The depression in canada

The Depression in Canada

What to do

What to do???

You might ask, what do we do when a recession or depression hits? Who is responsible for action?

Two views

Two views

  • 1929 Prime Minister: William Lyon Mackenzie King (Liberal)

    • Did not believe there was a “depression” and that the problem would eventually pass.

    • "With respect to giving moneys out of the federal treasury to any Tory government in this country for these alleged unemployment purposes, with these governments situated as they are to-day, with policies diametrically opposed to those of this government, I would not give them a five-cent piece." April 3, 1930

1930 rb bennett and the conservatives

1930: RB Bennett and the Conservatives

These things only led the a large federal deficit. So Bennett had to cut back on spending and cancel many of these programs

  • “one of the greatest assets a man can have on entering life’s struggle is poverty.”

    • Proposed some changes to help Canadians make it through the Depression:

      • High tariffs

      • Large scale spending

      • Make work programs

      • Welfare

1930 election

1930 election

1930 – Bennett defeats King

Starts relief camps for unemployed single men

Men worked on public projects and received 20 cents a day, room and board

Bennett also raised tariffs

Plan was to force other countries to lower tariffs

This didn’t work

Any way to meet the needs

Any way to meet the needs…

Canadian citizens address the Depression in many different ways

Door-to-door sales


Charities and churches


Collecting public relief

Unemployment relief camps

Unemployment Relief Camps

Fed. and prov. gov’t passed responsibility to municipalities

Feds wanted nothing to do with Depression

Provinces were helpless

This cost King the election

1935 bennett s new deal

1935 - Bennett’s New Deal

This is the beginning of what is referred to as Canada’s “social safety net”

Progressive taxation

Maximum work week

Minimum wage

Regulation of working conditions

Unemployment Insurance

Health insurance

Pension plan

1935 elections

1935 elections

  • Bennett’s failure to improve the economy led to his defeat in the 1935 elections.

  • Mackenzie King was re-elected in 1935. With the worst of the depression over, King implemented a couple relief programs:

    • National Housing Act

    • National Employment Commission

    • Trans-Canada Airlines (Air Canada)

  • The start of the war would be the thing that would put an ultimate end to the depression.

Relief camps

Relief Camps

Families were given relief payments for children until these children reached the age of 16. Because of this, most of these young men left home to reduce the burden on their families.

Thousands of unemployed rode freight trains to the west looking for work which didn't exist.

The Conservative government of Bennett set up work camps to prevent the growing unrest among this wandering mass of young unemployed workers

How do you respond to a depression

The camps were located in remote areas such as northern Ontario and B.C.'s interior.

Inmates called these camps "slave camps". They lived on war surplus clothing, bunked in tar-paper shacks, ate army rations and were forced to work six and a half days a week for twenty cents a day.

Relief camps1

Relief Camps

Due to the conditions these workers found themselves in, they formed the Relief Camp Workers Union (RCWU) in 1932

In the spring of 1935, RCWU went on strike.

They filled the streets of Vancouver shouting "Work & wages" and "When Do We Eat?".

They demanded real work wages, better food, clothing and shelter, and an end to military discipline.

How do you respond to a depression

Despite the overwhelming public support of "our boys", the federal government refused to negotiation with strikers.

After this, the strikers voted to take their grievances to Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

This mass journey to Ottawa was known as the “On-to-Ottawa” Trek

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