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Political Responses to the Great Depression


Political Responses to the Great Depression Maurice Duplessis J.S. Woodsworth Bible Bill Aberhart R.B. Bennett The Politicians offer their Solutions – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Political Responses to the Great Depression

Political Responses to the Great Depression
Maurice Duplessis
J.S. Woodsworth
Bible Bill Aberhart
R.B. Bennett
The Politicians offer their Solutions
Political Responses to the Great Depression
  • The effect of the Great Depression
  • Prime Minister Bennetts response
  • The On to Ottawa Trek
  • William Woodsworth and the CCF
  • Bill Aberhart and the Social Credit Party
  • Maurice Duplessis and The Union Nationale

Homeless Canadian family in Western Canada during
the heart of the Depression
The Effect of the Great Depression
  • In Saskatchewan, over 200,000 people are forced
    to leave their farms. 70 of their population was
    dependent upon social assistance (very basic).
  • Overall in Canada, the incomes of families fell
    by over 50
  • Imports fell by 55 exports by 25.
  • Out of a total population of 10 Million, 2
    million Canadians were living off relief handouts
    (e.g. soup kitchens).
  • Canadas unemployment rate went from 4 to almost
    30 (1 in 5 Canadians were out of work)

A Soup Kitchen during the Depression What do
you think about when you see this picture?
How did the Government Respond?
  • At this point in Canadian History, the social
    programs that we know of today such as Employment
    Insurance and Welfare did not exist.
  • Remember MacKenise King was the Prime Minister
    from 1926 -1930.
  • Then, newly appointed Prime Minister Bennet was
    elected and reigned during the early 1930s.
  • THEN, MacKensie KING was re-elected from

27 Unemployment
MacKenzie King
Kings Response to the Depression
  • Former Prime Minister MacKenzie King thought that
    it was the responsibility of the provinces to aid
    their own citizens.
  • He wasn't prepared for the depression (not many
    political leaders were) and so he didnt take an
    interventionist approach to the Economy.
  • King was eventually openly criticized for his
    controversial comment that he wouldnt give a
    five cent piece of relief money to any province
    that had a Conservative Government

He wont give a five cent piece
Enter Bonfire Bennett
  • R.B. Bennett was Leader of the Conservative Party
    of Canada
  • He had the nickname bonfire because of his
    bombastic (loud) speaking style.
  • On July 28th, 1930 R.B. Bennett became Prime
    Minister of Canada and took over from P.M.
    MacKensie King.
  • Given his rags to riches humble beginnings, he
    believed in capitalism and the free-enterprise
    system (i.e. leave the government out of the
    economy alone and everything will work out in the

Prime Minister R.B. Bennett
Bennetts Response to the Depression
  • He put 20 Million dollars towards emergency
  • Unemployment Relief Act (1930) was mostly
    administered by provinces and municipalities
  • Response He balanced the budget by cutting
  • He raised the tariffs on imports to 50 in order
    to protect Canadas industries from foreign
    competition and end the trade deficit.

Bonfire Bennett
One Man Show
Relief going on the pogey
  • Humiliation
  • Failure
  • Food vouchers
  • Private charity
  • Relief Work
  • Work Camps
  • Line up for a soup kitchen, Toronto

Canadas Reaction
  • R.B. Bennetts plans made the depression WORSE as
    his protectionism cut off Canadian exports.
  • Many Canadians could not afford to put gasoline
    in their cars. Instead, their cars were pulled
    by horses!
  • Canadians called these cars Bennett Buggies

The Bennett Buggy
The On to Ottawa Trek
  • Many workers began to ride the rails in order to
    find work in other parts of Canada.
  • 1000 relief camp workers climbed aboard freight
    trains and headed for Ottawa to protest their
    working conditions

Riding the rails The On to Ottawa Trek
The Regina Riot
  • When the train reached Regina, Saskatchewan, the
    number of protesters had doubled.
  • Fearing a huge protest in Ottawa, R.B. Bennett
    stopped the train in Regina and tried to
    negotiate with the protestors.
  • On July 1st, 1935 a riot broke out as the RCMP
    tried to arrest the organizers of the protest.
  • A Regina police officer was killed and 130
    protesters were arrested.
  • The On to Ottawa trek was officially over.

A riot breaks out in Regina as the Government
tries to stop the On to Ottawa Trek
Bennetts New Deal
  • Borrows from FDRs New Deal in US
  • sweeping social reform platform announced on
  • The capitalist system has failed
  • promised laws to control big business
  • to increase income and business taxes
  • to reduce farm debts
  • to introduce minimum wages, the 8 hour day
  • unemployment insurance, health insurance
  • better old age pensions

The Return of King
  • Unfortunately for Prime Minister Bennett, in
    1935, the Canadian people had enough of Bennett
    who they blamed for prolonging the Depression.
  • Running under the slogan King or Chaos, the
    former Prime Minister (McKenzie King) won the
    election in 1935.

Hes Back Again!!!!!!!
Other Political Parties offer their solutions
  • Bill Aberhart was a preacher and school teacher
    from Alberta
  • He thought that the Depression was caused by
    people not having enough money to buy goods and
    services especially farmers.
  • His idea? Give every citizen 25 per month
    prosperity certificate so people could buy more
    products and help the economy.
  • His party was called the Social Credit Party.
  • His party was elected in 1935 in Alberta, but
    they never paid out the certificates. The party
    was a major force in the west and stayed in power
    until the 1970s in Alberta. It was also a major
    force in BC politics

Social Credit Party leader Bible Bill Aberhart
  • J.S. Woodsworth was a conscientious objector
    during WW1 and worked as a minister in Winnipeg
    helping the homeless.
  • He believed that the free enterprise system had
    failed the people during the depression and that
    the government needed to take a greater role
    during the depression.
  • He proposed Unemployment insurance, free medical
    care, family allowances and old age pensions.
  • Many of his ideas have been adopted in Canada.
  • His Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF)
    Party later was renamed the NDP in 1961.

J.S. Woodsworth
The Union Nationale
  • Maurice Duplessis blamed the existence of the
    Depression on the fact that many of Quebecs
    industries were owned by Americans and English
    speaking Canadians.
  • He formed the Union Nationale so that Quebeckers
    would have more control over their economy.
  • The Union Nationale won the Quebec election in
    1936 and remained a force in Quebec politics for
    the next 22 years

Maurice Duplessis of the Union Nationale
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