Did the Canadian Government Do Enough During the Great Depression? Essay

The Great Depression Were Canada’s government’s responses to the Great Depression adequate? By: Prateek Madhika ? Were Canada’s government’s responses to The Great Depression adequate? After World War I ended in 1919, Canada had a small recession during the World war, but after the war, Canada had the fastest growing economy in the world.

The 1920s had been a successful period of growth for Canada, with living standards improving remarkably. Then suddenly, in the late 1920s the economy took a sharp turn for the worse.The depression originated in the US, directly caused by the spark of the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday, but quickly spread to almost every country in the world due to globalization. Canada was then in depression from 1929 until 1939 when World War II started. The depression had a big impact on the Canadian economy, and it hurt the economy very severely. The people of Canada could not do anything to help get themselves out of the depression but be dependent on the government to help them out.

Everyone in Canada was relying on the government to help them out as the depression lasted. But, the government did not do as expected to do. The government either ignored issues, or suggested inefficient methods of solving problems, passed the responsibility of solving a problem onto provinces, took inadequate actions or even worsened them. When 27% of Canadians were unemployed, the government thought that this issue was a local issue and therefore the responsibility of solving it should be given to the provinces.The government could not resolve the economic issue as the other countries, such as the US, did. Although the Unemployment Relief Act allotted $20 million to be used to relief , it was not enough. Many Canadians were unhappy of how the government was “helping” the people during the depression. They were not satisfied of what the government was doing, or not doing to help them.

The government was taking poor people off the street and into “relief camps” in remote areas. The relief camps gave jobs to the jobless and gave shelter and food to the ones without it.Although the “relief camps” were meant to relief the poor from the depression, one had to be very poor and give up some rights to be eligible for stay in a relief camp. The depression hurt the economy very seriously and had very serious effects.

“The gross national product dropped 40% “ and also “Unemployment reached 27% at the depth of the Depression in 1933” . The loss of jobs for so many people caused them many difficulties surviving the depression. The drop of economy affected everyone including children. Everyone had troubles earning money to eat, for transportation and for shelter. Street car tickets for children were 12 for a quarter.

We’d use a razor blade to start and then we’d peel each one in half. So then we’d have 24. We used to pray that when they dropped in the box they’d land right side up. Some kids had the idea that if you plastered the open side with spit they’d fall right side up. I was going downtown to high school and my Dad worked out East Hastings. So I’d get on the Commercial Drive streetcar two blocks from Hastings and get a transfer.

My old man would be waiting down two blocks, at the transfer stop.There would always be somebody, usually quite a few, getting out. I had this tin case that eye glasses came in and when the door, the rear door opened, I’d toss out the case with the transfer in it. Dad would pick it up, cross the street and catch the East Hastings car. All done slick as a whistle. I don’t think anybody ever caught on. Oh we had our tricks. ” This shows that people had to be very careful on spending money, during the depression people could not afford to buy two tickets for transportation and instead had to come up with tricks to reduce money expenditure and save money.

When Unemployment reached 20% and 27% at the depth of the Depression in 1933” “federal administrations led by the conservative R. B. Bennett (1930-35) and the Liberal W. L. Mackenzie KING (from 1935 onwards) refused to help, for the most part, to provide work for the jobless and insisted that their care was primarily a local and provincial responsibility. This clearly shows that Mackenzie King and Bennett had no idea of what to do and therefore gave the responsibility to the provinces, just so that they do not take the blame.The result of their ignorance was fiscal collapse for the four western provinces and hundreds of municipalities and haphazard, degrading standards of care for the jobless.

Monthly relief rates for a family of five varies from $60 in Calgary to $19 in Halifax. Although there were no official starvation, reports by medical authorities of scurvy and other diet deficiency diseases were common throughout the decade” . This shows that Bennett’s and Mackenzie King’s ignorance did not just keep the unemployed jobless, but they made it even worse.

The result of their ignorance lead to the collapse of 4 provinces in the west, and degradation of standard of care for the jobless. Their ignorance brought diseases to those to whom they ignored. Instead of Bennett and Mackenzie King fixing an extremely important issue, they just made it worse. The unemployed could not count on the federal government, but also, the unemployed had no other option.

The US managed to control the Depression more efficiently than Canada, and therefore people preferred to live in the US than in Canada.The government failed at resolving the unemployment crisis and failed to keep the economy in good shape. The local governments refused to aid single, homeless me, between 1932 and 1936. Because of the refusal of the local governments, the federal government established “Unemployment relief camps”.

The camps gave shelter, food, and jobs to the jobless. But, the “Unemployment relief camps” does not sound as good as it seems. The jobs in the camps paid around 20? /day of hard work. “The men were paid 20? /day and given terrible food and bug-infested bunks.Most of the camps were deep in the woods, so the men were completely isolated.

” . Each room in the camp had around seven men sleeping in it. The jobs that were assigned were not worth it for the wages that were being paid.

The camps were located in remote areas such as northern Ontario and interior B. C. . The camps were located in remote areas to show the people in the cities that the government is taking good control of the depression. The camps were in such bad conditions in means of location, types of jobs and their wages that the men working in those camps went on strike in April 1935.They decided to go talk to Bennett to fix the problem of the relief camps. But, they were unsuccessful.

The government seemed as if they were trying to help the unemployed but instead it was a plan for the government to take the poor and unemployed out of the sight of those who are not being by the depression much. The Unemployment Relief Camps were not meant to relief the hungry and the unemployed, it was meant to get the hungry and the jobless out of sight. The requirements to be eligible to get in a relief camp were very strict.These are they requirements: If one had anything that showed that he was able to do anything, which showed that he had a little bit of money, he would not be allowed into a relief camp. People in these unemployment relief camps were not vote. This was another big failure at attempting to help improve the economy during the depression, this was another “solution” that worsened an unemployed person’s life. Many Canadians were dissatisfied with the government.

Mackenzie’s and Bennett’s ignorance made the Canadians unhappy with their government. The government was ignoring the people in need. The government ignored the people in need. Large unemployment rates caused the impossibility of payments upon goods, houses, food and etc. It also destroyed any possibility for workers to have savings and be able to save their money because of their constant need for money, and were thus always poor” Bennett’s new deal attempted to introduce policies based on the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the United States. Bennett thus called for a minimum wage, unemployment insurance, and other such programs. This effort was largely unsuccessful; the provinces challenged the rights of the federal government to manage these programs .As Bennett’s New Deal failed, new political parties were formed, such as the Social Credit Party by William Aberhart and the Co-Operative Commonwealth Federation, and other parties.

The newly formed parties promised more jobs and more money in the economy just as Bennett and Mackenzie did not. The On-To-Ottawa Trek was a social movement of unemployed men protesting the dismal conditions in federal relief camps scattered in remote areas across western Canada . The trek’s leader went to Ottawa leaving the rest behind in Regina to talk with Bennett. The talk with Bennett gave the strikers nothing of what they wanted.This made them even more unhappy with the government. The On-to-Ottawa Trek helped discredit Bennett’s Conservative government, which helped Bennett’s party lose in the 1935 federal election.

The government tried to help the economy and the people. The government establish the unemployment relief act, which allotted $20 million into the economy. The government established the Unemployment Relief Camps that gave shelter and jobs to those in need. People sent mails to Bennett asking for help, Bennett replied to them assuring that they will be all right and many times also sent some money with the mail to the sender.More than 1.

5 million people were on relief. However, all of these things done by the government were useless. The relief camps paid 20 cents per day, which was not enough for the people to survive. The government ignored issues, and left it to be blamed on the provinces.

The relief camps were only for those who were extremely poor, people who had something but needed a job had to give up everything to get in a relief camp. Bennett tried to do what Franklin D. Roosevelt did, but Bennett’s New Deal did not work out. Many actions that the government took were either inadequate or either worsened the problem.The government did not do good enough. The government’s job during the depression was to try to fix the economy, but all the Canadian government did then was ignore problems, worsen them, or pass the responsibility onto someone else.

The government’s employment relief camps were no good. Bennett’s new deal was no good. The government did not know what to do during the depression, therefore new parties were formed. The government could have done better. But, the government’s responses to the Great Depression were inadequate.