Someone once said, “No one can possible have lived through the Great Depression without being scared by it. No amount of experience since the depression can convince someone who has lived through it that the world is safe economically.
” Despite great efforts, the Canadian government was unsuccessful in its attempts to deal with the depression through the terrible social benefits, lack of political leadership, and low economic strength, which would have greatly assisted in the recovery of the nation. Both R.B Bennett and Mackenzie King, the Canadian Prime Ministers at the time, avoided the significant issues that were the most pressing to Canadians and evasively refused to restore Canadian lifestyle to as it was in the 1920’s. The relentless worldwide economic crisis preceding World War II was a result of the poor social welfare, awful relief programs, and the assistive but detrimental economic methods. The Great Depression was primarily unsuccessful due to the social decisions and hardships being taken place. As the Depression grew, unemployment worsened. The lack of jobs forcefully made many men to leave their families in search of work. As a result, many “rode the rails” on top of boxcars or on the rods beneath the cars.
When a child turned 16, the family’s relief was cut. Consecutively, young men left home to reduce the burden on their families. Thousands travelled west for work. When they recognized that there were no opportunities there, they continued on to British Columbia.
Mackenzie King simply refused to deal with major problems such as the severe droughts, insufficient pogey, and the unstable workforce. He believed the Depression would play itself out, and denied to offer as much as a “5 cent piece to any province with a Tory government.” Then, the federal government decided to become more responsible for its provinces following a government commission. Therefore, Mackenzie King was defeated in an early-thirties election by determined R.B Bennett. With so much social pressure and upset, the country turned to politics to hopefully clean up the situation that they were constantly facing every day. Due to the lack of strong political leadership, the country removed their past political party run by Mackenzie King and brought in the rich conservative Lawyer, Richard Bennett, hoping that he could make a real difference.
He imposed high tariffs on foreign goods so Canadians would by domestic goods; unfortunately, this plan backfired and it did nothing to increase exports and in some cases increased export’s costs, thereby reducing much needed business. The “New Deal” which was to insure unemployment insurance, a reduced workweek, and minimum wage, industrial codes and a permanent economic plan imposed in the United States failed to manifest itself in Canada. The awful relief camps were set up to avoid the roaming mass of young unemployed workers, and even though the terms of the relief camps were unbearable, the young men were still motivated to keep on pushing through to make a living in any way possible. However, the austere life of the camps left many men angry and frustrated. Many workers began to listen to demands for fundamental, social, and economic change. Soon , thousands of men went on strike demanding higher wages, better food, clothing, and shelter and had launched the On-to-Ottawa trek. Over 1600 men boarded freight trains to Ottawa to conference with Prime Minister, R.
B Bennett. Bennett commanded police to stop the progress of the trains at Regina. His tactic was to invite Trek leaders to Ottawa, hoping that their absence in Regina would end the protest peacefully. However, his plan was wrecked because the men found out. Unwillingly, many workers returned back to the disgusting camps. All things considered, the “New Deal” policy did not work and many of the voters then turned to three small parties that furthermore led to critical economical consequences of the Depression.
The Canadian government was definitely unsuccessful in dealing with the severe economic shock that left millions of Canadians unemployed, hungry and often homeless. The Depression also legitimized the economic theories of John Maynard Keynes, who argued that, if private investment failed to produce full employment, the state must initiate public investment through deficit spending to create jobs. This was known as Keynesian Economics and became a deliberate part of government policy when war broke out. Bennett’s “New Deal” resulted in many Canadians believing it was too late to provide relief and economic recovery.
A large proportion of the population had to go on welfare (relief), forced to beg for charity by proving they were destitute. Many provincial and municipal governments were soon overwhelmed by the cost of welfare, and several provinces faced bankruptcy. Another economic cause was the fact that Canadians bought too much on credit, including shares, so when the stock market crashed, which occurred partly because of the shares being bought on credit, Canadians had to repay huge debts. This meant that even less money went into the economy, as the money that Canadians managed to maintain had to go to paying off the debts.
This conflict was unresolved until World War II broke out and stabilized the Canadian economy, as Canada was slowly producing large amounts of goods and weapons for the war, which ended the Depression.Overall, the Canadian government faced many challenges and was affected the most as a nation, although Prime Ministers gave their solutions, the disadvantageous social programs, poor political decisions, and the dreadful economic collapses led the nation to be greatly inefficacious. As exemplified, the Canadian government was generally unsuccessful in its attempt to deal with the depression, due to the refusal of the two national leaders to take a firm stance and improve living conditions for their citizens. In brief, the Canadian government did a lot since the Great Depression happened in 1920s. The Prime Minister changed twice and both of them did certain contribution for the recovery of Canada.
The government was highly attended and received a lot of pressure, which created unsuccessful attempts to deal with Depression. Additionally, all those who survived through the Great Depression were terribly scared by it forever and believe the world is unsafe socially, politically and economically despite distinguished efforts.