Presentation on theme: "Political Responses to the Great Depression The Politicians offer their Solutions J.S. Woodsworth “Bible Bill” Aberhart “R.B. Bennett Maurice Duplessis."— Presentation transcript:
Political Responses to the Great Depression The Politicians offer their Solutions J.S. Woodsworth “Bible Bill” Aberhart “R.B. Bennett Maurice Duplessis
Political Responses to the Great Depression The effect of the Great Depression Prime Minister Bennett’s response The “On to Ottawa” Trek William Woodsworth and the CCF Bill Aberhart and the Social Credit Party Maurice Duplessis and The Union Nationale Homeless Canadian family in Western Canada during the heart of the Depression
The Effect of the Great Depression In Saskatchewan, over 200,000 people are forced to leave their farms. 70% of their population was dependent upon social assistance (very basic). Overall in Canada, the incomes of families fell by over 50% Imports fell by 55%; exports by 25%. Out of a total population of 10 Million, 2 million Canadians were living off relief handouts (e.g. soup kitchens). Canada’s unemployment rate went from 4% to 27% (1 in 4 Canadians were out of work) A “Soup Kitchen” during the Depression What do you think about when you see this picture?
How did the Government Respond? At this point in Canadian History, the social programs that we know of today such as Employment Insurance and Welfare did not exist. How will those Canadians most seriously affected by the Great Depression make ends meet? What would the government of Prime Minister MacKenzie King do? 27% Unemployment MacKenzie King
King’s Response to the Depression MacKenzie King thought that it was the responsibility of the provinces to aid their own citizens. He wasn’t prepared for the depression (not many political leaders were) and so he didn’t take an interventionist approach to the Economy. King was eventually openly criticized for his controversial comment that he wouldn’t give “a five cent piece” of relief money to any province that had a Conservative Government He won’t give “a five cent piece”
Enter “Bonfire” Bennett R.B. Bennett was Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada He had the nickname “bonfire” because of his bombastic (loud) speaking style. On July 28 th, 1930 R.B. Bennett became Prime Minister of Canada. Originally from New Brunswick, grew up to be a self-made millionaire as a corporate lawyer and businessman in Calgary. Given his “rags to riches” humble beginnings, he believed in capitalism and the free-enterprise system (i.e. leave the government out of the economy alone and everything will work out in the end) Prime Minister R.B. Bennett
Bennett’s Response to the Depression He put $ 20 Million dollars towards emergency relief He raised the tariffs on imports to 50% in order to protect Canada’s industries from foreign competition and end the trade deficit. “Bonfire” Bennett
Canada’s Reaction R.B. Bennett’s plans made the depression worse as his protectionism cut off Canadian exports. Many Canadians could not afford to put gasoline in their cars. Instead, their cars were pulled by horses! Canadians called these cars “Bennett Buggies” The “Bennett Buggy”
The On to Ottawa Trek Many workers began to ride the rails in order to find work in other parts of Canada. 1000 relief camp workers climbed aboard freight trains and headed for Ottawa to protest their working conditions Riding the rails: The “On to Ottawa” Trek
The Regina Riot When the train reached Regina, Saskatchewan, the number of protesters had doubled. Fearing a huge protest in Ottawa, R.B. Bennett stopped the train in Regina and tried to negotiate with the protestors. On July 1 st, 1935 a riot broke out as the RCMP tried to arrest the organizers of the protest. A Regina police officer was killed and 130 protesters were arrested. The On to Ottawa trek was officially over. A riot breaks out in Regina as the Government tries to stop the On to Ottawa Trek
The Return of King In 1935, the Canadian people had enough of Bennett who they blamed for prolonging the Depression. Running under the slogan “King or Chaos”, King won the election. Bennett ended his final days in Great Britain and remains the only Canadian prime minister to be buried outside of Canada. He’s Back Again
Other Political Parties offer their solutions Bill Aberhart was a preacher and school teacher from Alberta He thought that the Depression was caused by people not having enough money to buy goods and services; especially farmers. His idea? Give every citizen $25 per month “prosperity certificate” so people could buy more products and help the economy. His party was called the “Social Credit” Party. His party was elected in 1935 in Alberta, but they never paid out the certificates. The party was a major force in the west and stayed in power until the 1970s in Alberta. It was also a major force in BC politics Social Credit Party leader “Bible Bill” Aberhart
The CCF He was a “conscientious objector” during WW1 and worked as a minister in Winnipeg helping the homeless. He believed that the free enterprise system had failed the people during the depression and that the government needed to take a greater role during the depression. He proposed: Unemployment insurance, free medical care, family allowances and old age pensions. Many of his ideas have been adopted in Canada. His Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) Party later was renamed the NDP in 1961. J.S. Woodsworth
The Union Nationale Maurice Duplessis blamed the existence of the Depression on the fact that many of Quebec’s industries were owned by Americans and English speaking Canadians. He formed the Union Nationale so that Quebeckers would have more control over their economy. The Union Nationale won the Quebec election in 1936 and remained a force in Quebec politics for the next 22 years Maurice Duplessis of the Union Nationale
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