Canada’s Leader Sir Wilfrid Laurier was Prime Minister of Canada from 1896 to 1911. Laurier was the first French Canadian to hold the post. As the leader of the Liberal party, Laurier supported free enterprise. Free enterprise: freedom of private business to operate with little regulation by the government
A Prosperous Time Laurier believed that the 20 th century would be Canada’s century. At the turn of the of the new century a period of strong economic growth began. It lasted for nearly 30 years with only a few minimal slowdowns. This was a prosperous time for many Canadians.
Industrialization The second phase of industrialization began in the early part of the 20 th century. The Laurier government kept and applied some of the principles of the National Policy that were put into place by Macdonald. However it was during Laurier’s mandate that the economy really began to benefit from the effects of this policy.
Growth The Laurier government launched a major public campaign in Europe to encourage immigrants to settle in Canada’s western territories. The advertisements promised future immigrants freedom of religion, free land and free passage to Canada by ship. The campaign succeeded in drawing hundreds of immigrants to the Prairies.
Natural Resources The second phase was based on the exploitation of natural resources mainly to supply American markets which needed raw materials. Minerals, pulp and paper were produced mainly for export.
Foreign Investments Foreign investment capital (money) was needed to construct big dams, and build large factories, buy big complex machines and develop transport links. The funding came more from the United Sates than from Britain. The new industries were operated by a few large owners.
To avoid paying Canadian customs duties the Americans preferred to open branch plants which were factories owned and controlled by an American Parent company.
New Factories New Products The new factories manufactured a wide range of new products coming on market, especially capital products such as iron and steel, machinery, electrical equipment and chemicals. Consumer products such as automobiles, furniture, radios, and household appliances were important.
Limber, glass, and bricks and cement were in demand for construction projects. This created jobs for many workers. More skilled labour was required and few unskilled workers.
Energy Large waterfalls were used to generate large quantities of hydroelectricity- a renewable form of energy. Numerous powerhouses were built throughout Quebec. Production of electricity increased 28 times between 1900 and 1930. Ontario built big generating stations at Niagara. Electricity was supplied to homes and cities.
Electric Current Recent innovations like automobiles, radio’s, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and electric stoves were made possible by the introduction of alternating electric current. Poles along the roads and streets supported a network of wire cables that brought the new form of power to factories and homes.
Production The factories and the growing population created a demand for wheat, dairy products, lumber and minerals. Farmers, loggers, and miners were able to share in the prosperity. Increased farm production required more farm machinery. Production and exports to the U.S. increased.
Railways The movement of raw materials and finished products made the railways busy. It was decided to build additional transcontinental railways: National Transcontinental Railway Canadian Northern Railway Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
Roads As the popularity of automobiles and trucks increased it became necessary to improve the road network. Construction of wider paved highways and new steel bridges provided employment.
Owners In the 19 th century (first phase of industrialization) most factories were family owned. In the early 20 th century there were many mergers. Groups of investors combined several related smaller businesses into larger more competitive units. For example, Dominion Textiles was formed in 1905 from four companies.
The iron and steel industry was concentrated in Hamilton and Sault St. Marie in Ontario and at Sydney in Nova Scotia. Aluminum smelters were located in Shawinigan and Arvida Quebec. Three Rivers called itself the worlds pulp and paper capital. Copper and nickel mining and smelting developed around Sudbury in Ontario and Quebec.