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The Great Depression

The Great Depression. 1929-1939. The Great Depression. Affected almost every economy in the world Began with the Stock Market Crash in October 1929 Supply and demand problems Stock market speculation Tuesday, October 29, 1929 became known as Black Tuesday. Black Tuesday.

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The Great Depression

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  1. The Great Depression 1929-1939

  2. The Great Depression • Affected almost every economy in the world • Began with the Stock Market Crash in October 1929 • Supply and demand problems • Stock market speculation • Tuesday, October 29, 1929 became known as Black Tuesday

  3. Black Tuesday

  4. 1933- The worst year • GNP in 1933 had dropped 40% from pre-crash levels • Canada’s exports declined by half • Over-dependence on natural resource exports • 26.6% unemployment • In some regions of Canada unemployment was 30-50%

  5. “A Five-Cent Piece” • Prime Minister King did not acknowledge the crisis • Refused to give “a five-sent piece” to any province with a Conservative gov’t • “What is needed today if we are to solve any unemployment problem is to get more capital into the country to increase the investment of capital; and we will get it as people come to have confidence in conditions here.”

  6. Government inaction • Government constrained by debt from loans to the railway interests • Most revenue came from tariffs and sales taxes • Aid would have to come from provinces and municipalities • The Conservatives won the 1930 election 137 to 91.

  7. Richard Bedford Bennett

  8. The Depths of the Depression • Depression got worse not better after 1930 election • No welfare, UI or medicare • Bennett introduced the Unemployment Relief Act $20 million for 1930 and 1931 • The feds passed the responsibility of distributing assistance to the municipal gov’t • The provinces did not want to share the cost of relief and the municipalities did not have the resources to distribute

  9. Relief • Most relief funds came in the form of public works • Disorganized attempt meant that only $4 million of the $20 million went in direct relief to people • Registering for relief was humiliating and difficult • Relief usually came in vouchers • See letters pp 408 and 409

  10. Soup Kitchens

  11. Depression in the Prairies • Record low prices for grain • Most severe and prolonged drought in history • 1929-1937 drought in Paliser Triangle • WWI $2 a bushel for wheat • 1932-33 39 and 3/8 cents • Bennett Buggies and Anderson Carts • See letters pp 412 and 413

  12. The Dustbowl

  13. Labour Camps • Riding the Rods made government nervous • Work camps for unemployed, single men • Under the jurisdiction of the Department of National Defence • 20 cents a day • 1932 saw the establishment of the first labour camps • Lack of funds • Single men could not get relief

  14. Relief Camps

  15. Unrest in the camps • In the four years of the camps there were 359 strikes, riots and disturbances • RCWU was associated with the Communist party and began to organize protests for decent wages • On to Ottawa began in BC

  16. On to Ottawa Trek

  17. The On to Ottawa Trek • April 1935 3000 relief camp workers converged on Vancouver riots and protests for weeks • 1800 got on trains for Ottawa • June 14, 1935 2000 men converged on Regina • Arthur Evans and seven of his men agreed to a meeting with the Prime Minister

  18. The Six Demands of the workers • 50 cents an hour wage for unskilled labour and union rates for skilled labour • All workers must be covered by the Compensation Act and adequate first aid for the jobs • Elected committee of relief workers • Department of National Defence no longer be in charge of the camps • A genuine system of social and unemployment insurance • All workers guaranteed the right to vote

  19. Regina Riot • The meeting ended in a stalemate • Evans returned to Regina • July 1, 1935 rally in Market Square • Riot ensued • 1 police office dead and 100 protesters arrested • 8, including Evans were sent to jail

  20. Regina Riot

  21. Confronting the Depression • Tariffs for protection • Smoot-Hawley tariff devastated Canada (30-60%) • In July 1932 Bennett alienated the Commonwealth at the Imperial Economic Conference in Ottawa • Half hearted attempt at Free Trade

  22. Bennett’s New Deal • 1935 election year • Laissez-faire had failed • Proposed a “New Deal” like FDR’s in the US • Proposed a government program of unemployment insurance • Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act • The Canadian Wheat Board • The Natural Products Marketing Board

  23. New Deal • Thwarted in the courts, but also proposed UI and national health insurance • Bank of Canada Act- created a central bank • Canadians did not trust Bennett

  24. 1935 Election • Mackenzie King made few promises • Promised to disband the work camps • 1935 the Conservatives lost 3/5 of the vote capturing only 40 seats • King won 125 seats • King adopted some New Deal policies, but not much changed for Canadians

  25. New Political Parties • Social Credit- William Aberhart $25 a month to make up for the lack of purchasing power • 56/63 Albertan seats • 15/17 seats in Ottawa from Alberta • Certificates instead of cash were given, but not accepted

  26. New Political Parties • The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation formed in 1932 • Regina Manifesto- social democracy • Government control of key industries • Welfare state- medicare, welfare and UI • J.S. Woodsworth • 1944 Tommy Douglas elected in Saskatchewan

  27. New Political Parties • In Quebec the Church pushed for reform • Anti-socialist but proposed programs to regulate monopolies and improve conditions • Some Liberals broke away and formed the Action Liberale nationale • Maurice Duplessis of the Conservative party formed an alliance to create the Union Nationale in 1935

  28. Maurice Duplessis • After the election he dropped the Liberal members and the reform platform • Duplessis became an ally of big business • Support came from rural Quebec • Anti-communist= Padlock Act • 15 years as Premier

  29. Maurice Duplessis

  30. The Antigonish Movement • Resisted revolution and anti-capitalist ideology • Two Catholic Priests founded it • Credit unions and cooperatives to sell seafood or farm products • 1930s saw many coops in the Maritimes

  31. The Communist Party • Tim Buck leader • Communist Party found an audience during the Great Depression • The Party was outlawed in 1931 • Tim Buck and other leaders jailed from 1932-1934 • Protests, marches and hunger strikes

  32. The Communist Party of Canada

  33. Aboriginal Peoples in the Depression • Services cut back to bare minimum as outlined by Treaties • Birthrate twice as high • Death rate 4x as high • Metis had it worse as there were no treaties • 1934 90% of Metis in Alberta had TB, paralysis, blindness or syphilis

  34. Residential Schools

  35. Residential Schools • 1930 the number of residential schools reached an all time high of 80 • Every province and territory except NB and PEI • Fed and prov in partnership with Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and United Churches

  36. Residential Schools cont’d • Goal was to assimilate children into civic-religious values and ways of “typical” Canadians • Manual labour and homemaking skills • Inadequate living conditions • Abuse • 1990s before the last residential schools were closed

  37. Confronting the Outsider • Relief for Chinese $1.12 versus $2.50 a week for non-Chinese • Sections 40 and 41 of the Immigration Act allowed for deportation of unemployable recipients of relief • In Alberta 1930-1934 2547 immigrants were deported • This discouraged many from applying for relief

  38. Immigration • Even before the Depression, immigration was discouraged • Jews were especially discouraged • Canada not welcoming to Jews escaping Nazi Germany • Frederick Blair “none is too many”

  39. Jewish Refugees

  40. Canadian Culture

  41. Canadian Culture

  42. Canadian Culture

  43. Canadian Culture

  44. Conclusion • The demand for goods in World War II finally pushed Canada out of the Great Depression • The growth of the welfare state and gov’t supervision of vital aspects of the economy continued into the 1980s as a result of the Great Depression

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