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The Roaring 1920 … Canada After WW1. The Soldiers Return. 17000 soldiers returned to Canada Many injured or disabled Unable to Work: Received government pensions Return to school Received free land and money to start farms through the SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT.

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the soldiers return
The Soldiers Return...
  • 17000 soldiers returned to Canada
    • Many injured or disabled
    • Unable to Work:
      • Received government pensions
      • Return to school
      • Received free land and money to start farms through the SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT.
  • these benefits did not extend to Aboriginal soldiers
times of turmoil
Times of Turmoil
  • The years following WWI were a period of turmoil and unrest for Canada.
1 disease the spanish flu
1. Disease: The Spanish Flu

I had a little bird,

Its name was Enza.

I opened the window,

And in-flu-enza.

  • In 1918-1919, a deadly flu hit the world (called the Spanish flu)
  • It had more victims than WW1, killing at least 20 million people;
  • Soldiers brought it home with them from Europe

Did you know...

The Stanley Cup has only ever been cancelled 2 times – in 2005 because of the strike, and in 1918 because of the flu.

2 prohibition
2. Prohibition
  • Definition: A complete ban on the production, sale, and consumption of alcohol;
  • Women’s Temperance Movement campaigning to ban sale of alcohol since turn of century
    • Production of alcohol took away from war effort – misuse of wheat and manpower
  • During war every province except Quebec banned the sale of alcohol
  • 1918 federal government introduces prohibition
positive social effects of prohibition
Positive Social Effects of Prohibition
  • Crime rate drops
  • Fewer arrests for drunkenness
  • More workers take pay cheque home instead of to the tavern
  • Industrial efficiency improves – fewer work days missed
prohibition in the usa
Prohibition in the USA
  • USA was also officially “dry” from 1919-1933
  • Canadians make fortune smuggling liquor to USA
  • Rum runners use horse-drawn sleighs and snowshoes to get booze across the Quebec border into Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont
  • Also used boats to run alcohol across Lake Erie and Ontario and into the USA
  • Believed that close to $1 million dollars in alcohol per month was moved across the Windsor-Detroit border

Rise in “the mob” or organized crime (i.e. Al Capone, Franky Fingers)

  • By the 1920s, prohibition became impossible to enforce;
  • Was a loss of revenue for the provincial governments and unpopular with most citizens, so slowly, across Canada, it ended (although it remained in the U.S.)
end of prohibition
End of Prohibition
  • Too hard to enforce
  • Bootleggers making millions
  • Provincial governments losing millions of dollars in liquor taxes
  • Unpopular with many citizens
  • Provinces begin to reinstate sale of liquor during 1920s – PEI last province to end prohibition in 1948
3 the economy
3. The Economy
  • Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia
      • experienced good economic times throughout most of the 1920s;
  • The Prairies
      • in the early 1920s, things were very difficult:
      • Wheat prices dropped 60%;
      • Farmers who had gone into debt to purchase new tractors, harvesters and trucks for efficiency had difficulty paying their bills;
  • The Maritimes
      • prices for fish, lumber, coal and iron fell, creating high unemployment rates and economic uncertainty;
      • high freight rates made it more expensive to ship their products to Central Canada, so there were fewer buyers for their products.
4 treatment of minority groups
    • Won the right to vote – not considered “persons”
    • Lost jobs when soldiers returned
      • If they worked, they had low-paying, low-status jobs, i.e. nurses, secretaries, domestics, clerks, or factory workers;
      • Received less pay then men for equal work;
    • In 1921, a federal statute (law) was passed requiring that all female civil servants (those who worked for any level of government) quit working when they got married
      • It was assumed that if they got married the income was no longer needed and their jobs should be given to men who had families to support.


    • Soldiers not eligible for any pension – were not treated the same as "white" Canadian soldiers
    • The government still forced them to assimilate into Canadian society;
    • Residential Schools
      • Aboriginal children forced into residential schools
      • Many were abused mentally, physically, and sexually
      • Many were informed that their families had died in small pox epidemics so that they wouldn't try to escape and accept assimilation.
    • Forced to live on reserves
      • High alcohol consumption, high suicide rates, and high disease rates, as well as inferior housing, no running water, and no indoor plumbing, were a fact of life for many.
    • Those who lived off reserve faced severe discrimination and prejudice; many faced poverty and despair.


    • During the war, many Canadians had become more suspicious and less tolerant of "foreigners" (non-British) and ethnic minorities;
      • Xxenophobia (an intense dislike of foreigners)
    • The Immigration Act
      • All immigrants pass an English literacy test
    • Discrimination was directed at Asians
      • Chinese Exclusion Act, July 1, 1923
      • Banningall Chinese immigrants except students, merchants, and diplomats (only 8 Chinese immigrants were admitted between 1923 and 1947)
      • In 1928, the number of Japanese immigrants allowed to enter was reduced to 150/year
5 discontent and labour unrest
  • When soldiers returned home they were paid lower wages
  • Unemployment was on the rise as munitions factories closed because they were no longer needed.
  • Women were sent back home and out of the workforce
  • The cost of living increased, but the wages didn’t keep up with the pace.
  • Workers united and formed UNIONS in an attempt to fight for their rights.
labour unrest
  • Because of the lack of jobs available for soldiers, they were angry at the cost of living and the lack of steady employment
  • The union movement was a response to developing new ideas regarding the role of government and work
  • Workers were unhappy with the conditions and payment for work and there was an increase in labour union activity
labour unrest1
  • In 1919 farmers formed the Canadian Council of Agriculture, which supported public ownership of essential services
  • In March 1919 in Western Canada, labour groups combined to form a branch of the One Big Union (OBU)
  • Labour unions were impressed with the recent Communist Revolution in 1917, and wanted to achieve the same
  • The best method of achieving this goal is through general strikes
winnipeg general strike
  • May 15, 1919
    • As a result of a breakdown in talks between industry and metal building workers;
    • Most workers were concerned with improved pay and working conditions, but some were influenced by radical union views;
  • The strike was declared by the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council and over 30,000 workers supporting the 12,000 metal and building workers went on a general strike;
winnipeg general strike1
  • Some cities across the nation joined in strikes supporting the Winnipeg workers
  • On Sunday June 21, 1919 (“Bloody Saturday”) was one of the last days of the strike and saw a violent clash between RCMP and strikers, where two men were killed by police and eight labour leaders were arrested
  • The strike ended June 29, 1919;
the winnipeg general strike
The Winnipeg General Strike

Begin video at 1:15:00

the winnipeg general strike1
The Winnipeg General Strike
  • Why did the government react so harshly with regards to the strike? Why did the government fear the aim of the strike was?
  • Explain the aims of the workers. What were they trying to do by striking and shutting down an already damaged economy?
  • Who do you believe “won” the strike? Explain your response.