The of importing and exporting crops such as wheat,

The Great Depression was Canada’s lowest period of
time in history. The Depression lasted from 1929-1939, lasting about a decade.
It happened all around the world, however this essay is primarily focused on
Canada. In the 1920s, war had just ended and everyone was pleasant and happy.
Families had money which they spent on popular objects like cars, radios and
other appliances. But the most popular item were stocks. Stocks were how many
people made money, as they would invest on low costing stocks and sell their
stocks for high prices. On October 29,
1929, famously known as “Black Tuesday” due to it being a dark day, the US
stock market crashed causing many other worldwide stock markets to crash after.
Stocks changed in prices on that day, and continued to fall for the decade. All
Canadians were affected by this event. Many factors can be appointed to the
depression including high tariffs, Natural Disasters and the multiplier effect.
However, the lack of government response is the major reason why the depression
proceeded. There are three reasons that support this. Firstly, Prime Minister King
believed it was the responsibility of all the provinces to help their people,
Secondly Bennett’s response to the depression was either too late or
ineffective, lastly Mackenzie King did not do enough to help the depression. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Prime Minister
at that time Mackenzie King believed it was the responsibility of all the
provinces to help their people. While this was fair to say, all provinces were
suffering with low income and financial issues. Natural disasters like dust
bowls had a tremendous impact on the provinces, however natural disasters
became worst when they mixed with financial problems. A majority of western
provinces were devastated by the disasters. A Canadian Province such as Alberta
was hurt by the disasters. Alberta primarily made money off of importing and
exporting crops such as wheat, and when dust bowls had plagued the fields, the
crops were stripped of nutrients and eventually died off. This in return,
eventually resulted in multiple farmers going bankrupt and having to fire
workers adding to the unemployed people in Canada. Alberta could not have
handled this issue of natural disasters alone, which meant they could not
manage to help their people, instead making their people job-less. The natural
disasters forced farmers to go into positions they have never seen before, and
were unable to combat the dust bowls. If the government were to help or respond
to the farmers in need, they would not be in the area they were in. In
addition, a province like Saskatchewan suffered from the weather and dust bowls.
The weather in Saskatchewan during the depression was hot and arid which
resulted in multiple droughts. Prior to the 1930s, fields were suitable for
planting and well hydrated. This would change as the decade would. In 1929,
fields that were once fertile, became dry. There would also be dust bowls that
brought heaps of grass hopers. Although one may think grass hopers could not
have done too much to the crops, they did. Grasshoppers plagued the fields of
crops, and feasted on the plants. This added to farmers going bankrupt due to
not having crops at all to trade. The lack of government response made this
worst as over time farmers would either have to relocate, go homeless or
starve. On the other hand, Fisher men jobs would go on the decline. During the
roaring 20s, fishermen was a major and popular job that paid well. After the
depression hit, the demand for fish declined and fish did not make the same
amount of money as it used to make a decade prior. This could also be perceived
as a reason for companies to cut more workers, as they did. Unemployed people
were left abandoned from the job they once strived of. The prices for fish going
down could not have been planned for and industries had to scramble their
plans. The government did not respond to this which made things difficult in
provinces like British Columbia, a province well known for fishing. The
provinces thus struggled and could not have help their own people who were
struggling.

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Bennett’s response to the depression was either too
late or ineffective. In 1930, Canadians elected RB Bennett with a majority and
he became the 11th Prime Minister of Canada. When elected, he promised strong efforts to fight the unemployment.
However In 1932, a vast majority of Canadian workers
were jobless. Bennett was forced to adopt less traditional economic moves and
the federal government gave the provinces $20 million for relief programs. While
this was a great move, this move was ineffective and short-lived because it
didn’t necessarily lower unemployment in Canada, it only help temporarily for a
brief period of time. Canadians, while some where getting back on track, still
were stuck homeless and look to Bennett. In addition, Bennett also initiated a
raised tariffs to high levels, which was meant to reincorporate an innovative way
into the world trade markets. This would also provide protection of Canadian companies
and businesses as Canadians would now be narrowed down to buy mostly Canadian
goods because foreign goods would be too expensive and less available. However
this would boomerang back at RB Bennett, as Canada’s trade partners began to trade
actively with other countries with lower tariffs, making Canada a country no
one wanted to trade with. This plan seemed like a wonderful concept, however it
was ineffective and actually hurt Canada as none of Canada’s former trade
partners wanted to trade making the new tariffs primarily useless. Furthermore,
in 1935, Prime Minister Bennett was initially moved and influenced by US
President Theodore Roosevelt’s “New Deal” speech. The new deal was a
broadcasted speech by Roosevelt that was set up to lower unemployment, and
provide relief for the poor. Bennett, whom looked at the new deal as the real
reason towards this action, proposed a new plan of government policy to all the
provinces in announced in a series of radio broadcasts. Abandoning his previous
policies, Bennett advocated minimum wage, health and unemployment insurance,
government regulation of banking and trade, and other social reforms. Although
it sounded like a possible bright idea, Canadians had built up frustration
leading up this event which did not help with the 1935 election. Canadians instead
would choose Mackenzie King as the winner, meaning this new plan never got to
be carried out. This plan had an immense amount of potential, this plan was
just created too late and Canadians had lost trust in their prime minister. The
people perception of the government not responding to the Canadian citizens
needs resulted in RB Bennett’s loss in the 1935 election. Bennett’s efforts
were ineffective or too late.

Mackenzie King did not do enough to help the
depression. He was the 10th Prime Minister in Canada, and he was a Liberal. Mackenzie
King served three terms as prime minister. His first stint lasted from 1921–1926,
his second lasting from 1926–1930, and last term going from 1935–1948. When the
depression initially hit Canada, King was far from prepared. Federal relief was
looked at as a popular help during the depression because it allowed the
destitute to find a way to somehow get
back on there feet, and King was against federal reliefs such as soup kitchens
and federal relief camps. He was adjacent towards these helpful camps that he
stated that he “wouldn’t give a five
cent piece” of relief money to any province that had a Conservative government.
This statement basically meant that he would not give any money towards the
unemployment relief. King was bashed after this statement and he did not give
anything to help the depression. Unemployment was far away from just being
temporary. Additionally, King believed it was not the federal government’s
obligation to provide unemployment relief to the provinces but instead that the
provinces themselves were responsible for their citizen’s welfare. The main
problem with this is that how can the provinces manage to help their citizens
if nearly the whole province is suffering from financial issues. King being
against unemployment relief, never took this into account thus allowing the
provinces to suffer. Lastly, King believed that The Great Depression was merely
a temporary moment in the business cycle. He was wrong as the depression lasted
for a whole decade and there was aftermath towards the depression. Mackenzie
King assuming certain situations led to his reputation as a leader to be
considered as a passive leader and Canada had been waiting for him to make a
major move to get them over the hump. These events prove King did not do
enough, as he had a habit of assuming the solution to problems but never carrying
them out.

The Great Depression was Canada’s lowest period of
time in history. Firstly, Prime Minister King believed it was the
responsibility of all the provinces to help their people, Secondly Bennett’s response
to the depression was either too late or ineffective, lastly Mackenzie King did
not do enough to help the Great depression. The lack of government response is
the major reason why the depression prevailed and the actions by both prime
ministers did little to help those who were affected

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