The Great Depression

Canada in the 1930's

What Caused the Great Depression in Canada?

  • People were in debt, didn't have enough money to pay for basic needs, like rent, food, utilities
  • People didn't save their money!!!
  • People were spending with credit (on goods and to buy stocks) and with interest couldn't pay debt
  • Overproduction of important exports (US couldn't buy)
  • Falling wheat prices
  • Demand for many products declined once people had them
  • Stock Market Crash 1929 (Wall Street)
Stock Market Rap - Smart Songs

What was the effect of the great depression on Canadian cities?

  • People lose jobs in the city
  • Government provides Relief Payments (kind of like welfare) it was a one time payment (was nicknamed Pogey)
  • Many men move from city to city by "hopping trains"
  • Vagrancy - men could be arrested for NOT having a job

What was the effect of the great depression on famers?

  • There is a drought on the prairies that lasted almost the entire decade
  • There are no crops for them to sell
  • They were in debt, nothing to export

What was the government response?

Two Prime Ministers served during the depression (King/Bennett/King)

R.B. Bennett
  • wealthy man
  • passed unemployment relief act
  • his primary solution was to provide people relief
  • increased tariffs
  • He did not listen to others for advice "One Man Show"
  • Letters to Bennett - people would write to him, asking for money, and he would give it to them from his own pocket - shows the lack of real solution to the depression
  • Unemployment Relief Camps - provided work for unemployed men, could leave when they wanted

  • re-elected after Bennett
  • social welfare
  • relief of prairie farmers
  • National Unemployment Insurance Plan
  • known as one of the greatest Prime Ministers - in office almost 20 years

Other Political Options

eventually would become the NDP
proposed public ownership

Social Credit Party
government should release money to citizens in need

Union Nationale
based in Quebec
want provincial control of finances