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The Great Depression
Transcript of The Great Depression
We Want Work, Now!
The sudden drop in price of different products led to a decline in trade and the increase in unemployment. Many companies could not afford to up keep all of their employees. Saskatchewan was hit the hardest because of the crash in the construction and agriculture business, which were the two main employers at the time.
The Prairies Get Hit the Hardest
Everyone is going to play a role at a time in the Great Depression. Everyone can decide what role they will like to play. You can be: the Prime Minister (only one person plays this role), a farmer, a widow, a single man, represent a family, a business owner (grocery store). On a sheet of paper, write out what you would do during the Great Depression. The questions for each role are on the next slide.
Politics was Changing
The Great Depression meant that many Canadians changed their view on the economy and the role of the state. Different political parties started to develop, especially provincial, as their goal was to find ways to have the state involved in recovery.
To what extent is government intervention in the economy acceptable?
How many social programs do we need?
Is it okay to tax the rich and give proceeds to the poor?
The Great Depression
You will have to plan out how you would survive the Great Depression. How would you feed yourself, your family etc.?
The Prairie Provinces were hit the hardest. There was a large drought that hit the region, a grasshopper plague and hail, which caused the crops to fail. These damaged the crops, which made farmers lose money. Along with the stock market crashing, grain prices dropped and there wasn't any support for farmers. Canada was also highly dependent on raw material and farm exports. Many farmers moved to towns and cities to try and make some money.
What was the Great Depression?
How did the Great Depression Start?
The Great Depression, also known as the Dirty Thirties, was where economic depression was felt by many around the world. Canada was the hardest hit by economic depression. The depression started where the stock market crashed, which affected both the rich and poor.
The Great Depression started when the Wall Street crashed in 1929. The stock market crashed on October 24, 1929. This affected both the rich and the poor. This then led to 10 years of economic struggle for many countries. The Prairie Provinces were hit the hardest. Drought, hail and a plague of grasshoppers led to crop failure, which affected farmers and the price of wheat.
What is a stock? A stock is the goods and merchandise kept on the premises of a business or warehouse, which is available for sale or distribution.
In March of 1929, the Federal Reserve (a central banking system in the United States) warned of a stock market crash. This instability led many to sell stocks, which exposed a shake in the stock market. The stock market crashed on October 24, 1929. This day is known as Black Tuesday. This instability in the stock market that affected Canada. Canada relied on the dependence of raw material and farm exports.
What is a Stock, the Stock Exchange and the Stock Market?
What is the Stock Exchange? It is a form of exchange which allows stock traders (people and companies) to buy or sell stocks.
What is the Stock Market? It is a market in which public companies are issues and traded through exchanges. It provides companies with access to capital for an exchange in a piece of ownership in a company.
How did Black Tuesday Affect Canada?
Prime Minister R.B Bennett
Prime Minister R.B. Bennett was a Conservative Prime Minister from 1930-1935. He experienced the full effects of the Great Depression. He strengthened his campaign to focus on defeating the Great Depression, which led to his win in 1930. He brought in having the British Empire to adopt tariffs, which somewhat helped out Canadians. He established relief camps for single men, wanted government control and regulation, progressive taxation, unemployment insurance, and health insurance. He could not find Canadians support and lost the next election in 1935.
Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King
William Lyon Mackenzie King was the Liberal Prime Minster of Canada from 1921-1926, 1926-1930, and 1935-1948. At the beginning of the depression, he believed that it would be resolved on its own and that support should only be from local and provincial responsibility. This is why he likely lost the election in 1926, because he did not provide support for Canadians. While he was the opposition, he promised unemployment relief camps, the Prairie Rehabilitation Act and the Canadian Wheat Board. This won him the next election in 1935.
Canada was hit the hardest when the stock market crashed. Canada was highly dependent on raw material and farm exports. Many who were employed for industries were now unemployed. Since Canada focused on trade as a way of income, this affected the major trading companies. Canada found themselves laying off many workers and overproduction of commodities. The United States and Canada who remained trading partners, were not trading during the Great Depression. This relationship meant profit wasn't coming into Canada, which affected many Canadians.
On To Ottawa Trek
What was the Effect on Population?
What did the Government Do?
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
The Regina Riot
Bank of Canada
Canadian Wheat Board
Who were the Prime Ministers at the Time?
Population growth dropped and reached its lowest point since the 1880s. Immigration dropped but as well as birthrates dropped.
The effect on immigration: The number of immigrants in 1929, coming into Canada, was 169, 000. In 1935 the number of immigrants coming into Canada, decreased to fewer than 12,000. About 30,000 immigrants returned to their countries because of the lack of employment or illness.
The effect on birthrate: The birthrate dropped dramatically. Mainly because families could not afford to feed and take care of new children. Many could not afford to feed the children they had already. It just became difficult for families and make sure everyone was being taken care of.
Saskatchewan was hit the hardest in Canada. Saskatchewan was highly focused on agriculture and crops were not successful due to drought. Saskatchewan experienced the lowest price for wheat; the provincial income dropped by 90% and 66% of the population was on relief. Saskatchewan struggled throughout the Great Depression.
Unemployment Relief Camps
The On to Ottawa Trek in April of 1935. The local governments were refusing to take responsibility for the striker's welfare. The residents of the federal unemployment relief camps in British Columbia decided they would strike in Ottawa. Many jumped on rail cars and started their journey to Ottawa. They all started in Vancouver and stopped in many western cities and picked anyone wishing to express their opinions to the federal government. They wanted to complain to the government, that much was not being done for the people. There were 1000 strikers making their way to Ottawa and they stopped in Regina, SK. Eight trekkers went to Ottawa to meet with Prime Minister R.B. Bennett. The rest stayed in Regina, at the Regina Exhibition Grounds.
The discussion, between R.B. Bennett and the eight trekkers, turned into a yelling match and they could not resolve their issues.. After this, R.B. Bennett sent people to arrest the leaders, which led to the Regina Riot. Regina constables and the RCMP moved into the large crowd in Regina. Protestors were hit with tear gas bombs and the police charged the crowd with batons. One city police officer was killed, several dozen rioters were injured, constables and citizens were also injured. The riot was resolved the next day, after city police shot into the crowd. In the end, the Saskatchewan government did provide the trekker's transportation back to British Columbia. Although the trek and the riot did set the tone for social and welfare orders post- war.
Why Did The Men Want to go to Ottawa?
In October of 1930, Ottawa accepted some responsibility for the homeless and unemployed men. The Department of National Defense set up camps where men could get paid 20 cents a day in exchange for work. This camp that was set up, was highly praised for a time being. Many felt that this program wasn't as good as it was made out to be. Men then decided to form a group in Vancouver and head to Ottawa to express their views to Prime Minister R.B. Bennett.
Prime Minister R.B. Bennett's loss in the Next Election
This dispute is what many thought led to R.B. Bennett's loss in the next election. Many believed he was not there to support the unemployed and the many who were struggling in the Great Depression years.
National Unemployment Insurance
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The Bank of Canada was founded in 1935 because of the Bank of Canada Act. The Bank of Canada was at first privately owned, but was nationalized in 1938. The act also made it so there was some control and structure for Canada's chartered banks. The banks could not borrow directly from the government, but instead had to go through the Bank of Canada. The Bank of Canada issues paper agency is the banker for the federal government, set the bank rate and forms policies around banking. The Bank of Canada stabilized the dollar. It helped stabilize the government and helped Canada economically.
The Canadian Wheat Board was established, in 1919. Its purpose was to be an agricultural marketing within Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and a small section of British Columbia. The buying and selling of wheat and barley was controlled by the Canadian Wheat Board. They made it illegal for farmers to sell their grain without permission from the CWB. Farmers were worried about unfair grain pricing, which worried them. When the grain prices dropped in the Great Depression these concerns about grain prices continued in farmer's minds. After the Great Depression, the Canadian Wheat Board created it so that there was a minimum price of wheat set out. This meaning that the price of wheat and barley could not drop below a certain point. This brought large change to the farming economy in Canada and stabilized the farming community.
Unemployment relief camps were set up, in October 1932, by the federal government under Prime Minister R.B. Bennett. They were in place to provide a room, three meals a day, health care and work clothes in exchange for physical labour. This program was voluntarily and many single and unemployed men entered this program. This program was later criticized by many people. Many believed it would be more beneficial to create a program that helped with reasonable work and wages, rather than just creating camps. The camps closed in 1936, after the On To Ottawa Trek. There were 170, 248 men who lived and worked in these camps.
In August of 1940, the federal government implemented unemployment insurance for the unemployed. This insurance would give payments to the unemployed for a period of time. In 1935, R. B. Bennett tried to implement a similar program, called the Employment and Social Insurance Act. This failed because many believed it was unconstitutional and went against provincial authority. During the Great Depression, unemployment rates were at 20% in Canada. This was a high percentage, which called for a relief program. This program is now called Employment Insurance.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) was founded during the depression and it still prominent today. It was established at first as a radio, which could be heard in both French and English. The main goal of creating a Canadian radio station was to stop the American's radio programming from entering into Canada. This was the start of establishing Canada's culture and the importance of survival/creating culture in Canada. CBC is a public owned broadcast and is funded by federal statutory grants. The CBC is highly successful today. The radio station has extended into television, news and television programming.
The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation was founded in Calgary, in 1932. It was a political coalition of progressive, socialist and labour groups who wanted relief and reform for people suffering in the Great Depression. It was a mixture of farmers who founded the party. Tommy Douglas, who later became a premier of Saskatchewan, was the first leader of the party.
The party set out goals to develop nationalization of a welfare state with universal pensions, health and welfare insurance, children's allowances, unemployment insurance, and worker's compensation. This party later changed to the New Democratic Party, which we know today.
Prime Minister- If you are the Prime Minister, what relief programs would you implement? Would you just let the Great Depression play out on its own? How would your life be compared to families or unemployed people? Plan out how you would handle the Great Depression.
Farmer- You have experienced drought and do not have a crop this year. You have zero income. Where will you go? How will you make money? Will you just watch yourself lose your crop or try and get a program running?
Widow- Your significant other has passed on and you are left with 5 children. How will you feed your family? What would your situation be like during the Great Depression?
Single Man: You are on your own. How would you feed yourself? Where will you go? Will you go to a relief camp? If you are at a relief camp, what would life be like there?
Family: You have 7 children. How will you feed your family? Will you reside in the same home? Who will go out and find work? What would your situation be? What would you eat on a daily basis? What food do you think would be the cheapest?
Business Owner: Will you keep your business open? Will you have to get rid of all of your employees? How would feed your family as well as upkeep a business?
Only one person can be the Prime Minister, but multiple people can be a farmer, widow, single men etc. Plan out on a piece of paper as to what will happen to you and what social programs will you try and develop. When you are finished, share your ideas to the group. Present them to the Prime Minister. The other people can come together to form another group that might help them survive the Great Depression. Will these social programs help during the Great Depression, as well as in the future?
What Happened To Everyday People?
People were starving. Many people could not afford food or to feed their family. Farmers had to leave their farm and try and find work in towns and cities. Many people had to buy and make cheap food like beans, bread, noodles and soups.
The Bennett Buggy