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The Great Depression

The Great Depression

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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