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Political aspect of the Great Depression.
Transcript of Political aspect of the Great Depression.
People dreamed of getting rich overnight. How do people make a fortune on the stock market? The answer is simple: buy plenty of stocks when their price is low and sell those stocks when their price is high. It sounds easy, but you need a lot of luck and knowledge to do that.
The Great Crash
2. Canada's Dependence on a Few Primary Products.
Canada's economy depended heavily on some few primary products known as
These included wheat, fish, minerals, and pulp and paper. These goods were Canada's most important exports. As long as world demand for these products was strong, Canada would prosper. The Depression had hit many countries and the demand for Canada's products fell. The Maritimes, which depended heavily on fish, and the West, which was geared toward wheat production, were especially hit hard. To add to the problem, west farmers were faced with terrible droughts in the summers of 1929, 1931, and 1933-1937. Without rain, crops failed.
3. Canada's Dependence on the United States
The United State was our most important trading partner. We bought 65% of our imports from the Americans. 40% of our exports were sent to the United States. When the American economy got sick, Canada also suffered. When the Depression hit the United States, banks closed. Industries collapsed and people were out of work as factories shut down. No longer did Americans need to buy our lumber, paper, wheat, and minerals.
1. Over-Production and Over-Expansion
During the 1920's, agriculture and industry reached high levels of production. Huge supplies of food, newsprint, minerals, and manufactured goods were produced and simply stockpiled. Automobile centres such as Oshawa and Windsor manufactured 400 000 cars in 1930. Even in the prosperity of the 1920's, Canadians could afford to buy only so many goods. As a result, large stocks of newsprint, radios, shirts and shoes, and cars piled up in warehouses. soon factory owners started to panic and slowed their production. They laid off workers. Laid-off workers and their families had even less money to spend on goods.
Political Aspects of the Great Depression.
4. High Tariffs Chocked Off International Trade
In the 1920's, Europe was recovering from a devastating war. Europeans needed many of the surplus manufactured goods that the United States and Canada produced. Unfortunately, European countries were heavily in debt from the war and often could not afford to buy the goods they needed. At the same time, many countries adopted a policy known as protective tariffs. To protect their home industries from foreign competition, they placed high tariffs on foreign imports.
Example: Country X, would find that its goods were being kept out of country Y by high tariffs. Soon country X placed high tariffs on imports from country Y. Thus trade between nations began to slow down around the world.
Governments and Relief
When the Depression hit, city governments were overwhelmed with the numbers of people seeking help. The federal government was slow to act. When the stock market crashed William Lyon Mackenzie King was prime minister. King was not the only one to think that the best way to deal with the Depression was to wait it out. he believed that the Depression would be short lived. In 1930, King made the biggest political mistake of his career. He insisted that social welfare (which included providing relief) was the responsibility of the provinces. King also said that he would not give a "five-cent piece" to any province that did not have a Liberal government.
The voters refused to forget King's "five-cent piece" speech. The Liberals were voted out of office, and the Conservative party came into power. The prime minister to replace Mackenzie King was Richard Bedford Bennett. Bennett accused King of ignoring the unemployment and the problems of the stock market crash. Bennett promised to send so much money to each provinces. He thought it would destroy the Depression but it only acted as a first-aid kit. Federal money went to the provinces. Relief camps were developed resulting with poor living conditions.
In June 1935, thousands of men tired of the life they had in British Columbia relief camps boarded freight trains bound for Ottawa to protest to the government. Their journey became known as the On-to-Ottawa Trek. As they moved eastward, they were joined by other men. The trekkers wanted clear economic reforms such as minimum wages and a genuine system of social and unemployment insurance. The men got as far as Regina, where they were stopped by the Mounted Police. Prime Minister Bennett claimed the trekkers were disobeying the law and were part of a plot to overthrow the government. A riot broke out, in which dozens of people were injured and a police officer killed.
How was Mackenzie King represented?