Canada During The Great Depression. Essay

2894 words - 12 pages

During the Great Depression of the 1930's, Canada's Prairie provinces suffered more than any other area in Canada. This time frame brought for the farmers many years of droughts and grasshopper plagues, as each year got worse without any rainfall whatsoever. The impact of the Great Depression on the Prairie provinces was devastating and it's impact on the region was social, political and economical. During this period unemployment reached high levels, prices of products were falling and purchasing power was getting very weak. To try to help out unemployed people, mostly men, the government introduced relief camps. During the 1930's in Prairie Canada, the Great Depression created harsh conditions and it was a struggle until it ended. The event which triggered the Great Depression was the Stock Market crash of October 24, 1929 in New York. Another important cause was that: Later in the 1930's, the wide adoption of the gold exchange in many countries was widely criticized as a great mistake which greatly contributed to the severity and length of the Great Depression. 1 In Canada, wheat, the most important export, was being over-produced around the world, despite the fact that the 1928 supply of wheat was still available in 1929. A good reason for the stock market crash in 1929 was that, the values of stocks of the New York Stock Exchange were grossly over-valued, but government and business appeared to ignore the signs. 2 Canadian revenues that came in from export sales were dependent largely upon the United States who had the money for growth; the commodities were grain, pulp and paper and metals. Then when the New York crashed on October 1929, stock prices fell dramatically. When the stock market crashed, the Canadian economy suffered after the United States invoked high tariffs to shut out Canadian goods. In the Prairie provinces of Canada, in addition to economic depression was the effect of the nine years of drought and crop failures. When the Great Depression plagued Canada, the country was not ready for it; there are three main reasons why: 1) Seasonal unemployment was predictable since wages for seasonal labour were high enough. 2) Cyclical unemployment and recovery in the past always occurred eventually. Canada was a new world society, with a developing farm frontier. 3) There was a working class political pressure. 3 Dependence on foreign trade of wheat contributed to Canada's main cause of the Great Depression. The Weather in the Prairies greatly contributed to the disastrous effects which took place upon the Prairies during the 1930's. Crops which were green and healthy in June, had reduced to nothing in two to three weeks. The cause of devastation to the crops was usually from dust storms. The drought created five to seven years of dried-out crops. A description of the Prairie land was that ... The Prairies were like a great rich land without rain. The heat everyday was too hot to adjust to during the day and too hot to sleep at night....

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