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The Great Depression in Canada. The Great Depression in Canada. Background: Laurier, who had kept the country united, dies in 1919, and the liberal party splits.

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The great depression in canada1

The Great Depression in Canada


Laurier, who had kept the country united, dies in 1919, and the liberal party splits.

New political parties develop in the 20’s (e.g. National Progressive Party, United Farmers of Ontario & United Farmers of Alberta), but only serve to introduce new issues:

Regulation of industry

Financial support for farmers

Federal v. Provincial authority

Social security

The great depression in canada2

The Great Depression in Canada

Pictured below: U.S. branch plants inundated Canada so as to circumvent the high tariffs.

3. Increased global competition leads to greater supply and lower prices.

Economic Situation of 20’s

Cost of WW1

Dependence on US

US mineral demands (Cu & Zn)

Paper & Automotive demands

The great depression in canada3

The Great Depression in Canada

Above: The Dust Bowl affects the Canadian prairie. The photograph taken near Cadillac, Saskatchewan in 1937.

Impact of the Crash

Imports drop by 25%

Exports drop by 55%

Wheat prices drop by 75%

Unemployment at 27%

Saskatchewan devastated by Dust Bowl

Newfoundland reverts for colonial status during Depression

King ousted due to his stance on federal role in relief: “not a five cent piece!”

The great depression in canada4

The Great Depression in Canada

Response of R.B. Bennett

(prime minister 1930-35)

Increased tariffs by 50% (raises prices) & provided $20M in relief (helps cover cost of higher prices) Thus, no net gain.

Relief programs

Canadian Wheat Board

Farmer’s Creditors Arrangement Act – loans to farmers

Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act

Bank of Canada – 1stnat’l bank

Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission

Did not deal with causes!

(Statute of Westminster 1931 – grants full autonomy to Canada)

The great depression in canada5

The Great Depression in Canada

Public Responses

“Relief Camps” in the wilderness to deal with “Bennett Boroughs”

Run as military camps

Hotbed for radicals (e.g. Relief Camp Workers Union of 1935)

“On To Ottawa Trek” in April 1935 by Arthur “Slim” Evans, but stopped in Regina. Led to violent confrontation with RCMP’s

Struggle with provincial leaders for balance of authority (e.g. Mitchell Hepburn, Governor of Ontario and the Oshawa Strike of 1937)

Pictured Left: A “Bennett Buggy”

The great depression in canada6

The Great Depression in Canada

Response of W. L. M. King (prime minister 1935-48)

Elected in 1935 on “King or Chaos”

Signs Reciprocal Trade Agreement in 1935 with U.S.

Trans-Canada Airlines in 1937.

Increasingly radical populist opposition parties gain power

Communists (CPC of 1921)

Socialists (CCF of 1932)

Nationalists (Union Nationale) – ruled Quebec from 1936 on under leadership of Maurice Duplessis.