Parthivi Narang
History
Chapter 3 presentation
Mr. Godry

THE GREAT DEPRESSION

???Dear Mr.Bennett:
Please help me by standing me some money and will send you my engagement ring and wedding ring as security…My two rings cost over $100 over 15 years ago but what good are they when the flour is nearly all done and there isnt much to eat in the house…???

This was a real note sent to the Conservative part leader, Richard Benford Bennett by an average citizen of Canada during the great Depression.

???I believe we will rebuild every bit of it. It will be a struggle and there will be sacrifices, but we will rebuild,???.

This famous quote was said by Richard Benford Bennett when he was elected president during the worst possible 4 years of the world??™s history.
Throughout the years of 1929 to 1939, there was a world wide Depression and Canada was one of the worst affected countries. Financially and economically the country began to collapse regardless of what was done by political power basically by Bennett.

Many Canadians of the thirties felt that the depression wasnt brought about by the Wall Street Stock Market Crash, but by the enormous 1928 wheat crop crash. Due to this, many people were out of work and money and food began to run low. It was said by the Federal Department of Labor that a family needed between $1200 to $1500 a year to maintain the “minimum standard of decency.” At that time, 60% of men and 82% of women made less than $1000 a year. The gross national product fell from $6.1 billion in 1929 to $3.5 billion in 1933 and the value of industrial production halved. For all the unemployed, there was a relief program for families and all unemployed single men were sent packing by relief officers by boxcar to British Columbia. There were also work camps established for single men by Bennetts Government.
The Great Depression, also known as ???The Dirty Thirties???, wasnt like an ordinary depression where savings vanished and city families went to the farm until it blew over. This depression effected everyone in some way and there was basically no way to escape it. J.S. Woodsworth told Parliament “If they went out today, they would meet another army of unemployed coming back from the country to the city.” As the depression carried on, 1 in 5 Canadians became dependent on government relief. 30% of the Labour Force was unemployed, where as the unemployment rate had previously never dropped below 12%.

All this majourly affected Canada. It was estimated back in the thirties that 33% of Canadas Gross National Income came from exports; so the country was also greatly affected by the collapse of world trade and offcourse USA. The four western prairie provinces were almost completely dependent on the export of wheat. The little money that they brought in for their wheat did not cover production costs, let alone farm taxes, depreciation and interest on the debts that farmers were building up.
Between 1933 and 1937 to make matters even worse, Saskatchewan suffered a drought. The money brought in for the wheat was at a record low and the provincial income dropped by 90% in two years. Where the previous yield per acre was 27 bushels, it had dropped to as little as three in 1937.
Bennetts “New Deal” promised a more progressive taxation system, a maximum work week, a minimum wage, closer regulation of working conditions, unemployment insurance, health and accident insurance, a revised old-age pension and agricultural support programs. However, the people knew that Bennett was copying Franklin D. Roosevelt??™s ideas which was a huge success in USA, but the Canadians were just not used to anything new during a huge crisis and hence, the NEW DEAL, which could have really worked, ended up being one of the huge mistakes Bennett ever did.
The Great Depression had devastating effects in virtually every country, rich and poor. personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped, and international trade plunged by a half to two-thirds.Countries started to recover by the mid-1930s, but in many countries the negative effects of the Great Depression lasted until the start of World War II.

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