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The Great Depression: Economics, Political Parties + Protests
John Maynard Keynes § British economist John Maynard Keynes initially developed this radical economic structure to deal with the Great Depression. § Father of modern economics / macroeconomics
Keynesian Economics § Instead of belt-tightening, Keynes proposed that governments should spend their way out of the Depression. § This was based on his analysis of the inward spiral created by the Depression – a lack of cash circulation was making the Depression worse each day.
Deficit Financing § He suggested that governments should borrow money, to be repaid in the future when the economy recovered, and spend it on massive employment projects. § This would become know as deficit financing.
Modernizing Infrastructure § In addition, these projects should be of value, not just make-work, but modernizing the infrastructure. § The responsibility to direct the economy was the government’s task because it was the only institution big enough to reverse the spiral.
New Political Parties in the 1930 s § Social Credit: § Social = people § Credit = money lent § Promised $25/month to every adult > buy material goods and food > jobs > demand >production § Called the “Funny Money Party” – thought of as wacky § Leader: William Aberhart (Calgary, Alberta)
First Formed § The Canadian social credit movement was largely an out-growth of the Alberta Social Credit Party, and the Social Credit Party of Canada was originally strongest in Alberta. § When first formed in 1935, as the Western Social Credit League, it took many voters from the Progressive Party of Canada and the United Farmers Movement.
Disaffection of Status Quo § The party grew out of disaffection with the status quo (the same old ways of doing things; traditional ways) during the Great Depression. § The depression hit the party's western Canadian birth-place especially hard, and can be credited both for the creation of this party and the rise of a social democratic party, the CCF.
Rise of the SC Party § The Social Credit Party was a grassroots Conservative party that believed strongly that the government should reimburse citizens with small payments when possible.
William Aberhart § Founder was William Aberhart; aka “Bible Bill”. § Promised that every citizen would receive $25 if they voted for him, he did not fulfill his promise; however, he was Premier of Alberta for over a decade.
In Need of Distraction § Fireside chats in USA; CBC in Canada. § Canadian Culture - Radio as a form of distraction. § Happy Gang, Hockey Night in Canada, Big Band. § Dionne Quintuplets – placed on display.
New Political Parties § CCF (Cooperative Commonwealth Federation): § Cooperative = work together § Common wealth = all have money § Federation = different groups together § Socialism – “capitalism does not work” § Leader: J. S. Woodsworth (from Toronto, Ontario but lived in Vancouver, BC)
CCF § Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), founded 1932 in Calgary as a political coalition of progressive, socialist and labour forces. § They were anxious to establish a political vehicle capable of bringing about economic reforms to improve the circumstances of those suffering the effects of the Great Depression.
From Farmers, Academics + MPs § The main impetus for the formation of the new party came from: § Farmers' organizations (including the United Farmers of Alberta, which governed that province).
From Farmers, Academics + MPs § A handful of academics in the League for Social Reconstruction (LSR). § A group of MPs (Members of Parliament) in Ottawa allied with both farmer and trade-union organizations.
The Rise of the CCF § The 1930’s witnessed the organization of workers into strong unions, especially in areas like the Prairies, and the West. § Farmers were the hardest hit, and they wanted political representation – someone to listen to them so they wrote the Regina Manifesto, and fought for socialist ideas.
CCF = NDP § Rise of CCF – today’s NDP (New Democratic Party) – fought for worker’s rights, social programs, + relief. § Explains today why the Prairies are considered the heart of the NDP.
The New Political Parties Whereabouts Today § The Social Credit Party faded away. § The CCF became the NDP.
Political Parties Whereabouts § The NDP: § Have never won a federal election (never formed a federal government) but are the official opposition. § Introduced E. I. , old age pension, Medicare (Tommy Douglas), minimum wage, social services (welfare). § Have been successful in forming provincial governments in BC, ONT. , SK, YK, MAN. , NS. § NDP ideas taken by big parties and used.
The Original “NDP”
Why did Worker’s Protests increase in the 1930 s? § Why did workers protest? § There were no jobs/no money. § The government was not initially doing anything to help. § Felt hopeless, desperate and angry.
Worker’s Protest Types § What types of protests took place? § Peaceful and violent: § Demonstrations (occupations of key buildings – sit-ins) and picket lines § Letters, petitions to government § Marches, parades, treks § Riots
The Protests’ Purpose? § What was the purpose of the protests? § To let government know that they were suffering, unhappy, that something had to be done to help the people = make sure that their feelings were known/get their point across. § To try and make a difference in their lives by hoping to get the governments attention.
Examples of Protests: On-To-Ottawa Trek § In 1935 hundreds of single, unemployed men hopped freight trains for Ottawa (federal parliament) demanding work, wages and an end to government relief camps. § The men lived and worked in these camps at a rate of twenty cents per day before walking out on strike in April 1935.
Left Vancouver for the Trek East § After a two-month protest in Vancouver, BC, camp strikers voted to travel east to Ottawa and bring their grievances to the federal government. § A small group left Vancouver on June 3, 1935 and as they went east their numbers grew (1600+ in Regina).
Riding the Rods + RCMP § "Riding the rods/rails" (on and in railway freight cars) across mountains and prairie they reached Regina, still only half way to Ottawa. § Here they were stopped by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on orders from Ottawa.
The Regina Riot, July 1, 1935 § A month later the strike was brutally smashed on July 1 in a police-inspired riot and its leaders arrested – known as the Regina Riot.
The Regina Riot: Police Brutality § Police fired revolvers above and into groups of people. § Police attacked the crowd with baseball bats. § Tear gas bombs were thrown at any groups that gathered together. § Plate glass windows in stores and offices were smashed by police.
Suppressed, Not Lost § While the strike was suppressed, it wasn't lost. § In the federal election, a few months later, the hated, repressive Conservative government of Prime Minister R. B. "Iron Heel" Bennett went down in a resounding defeat. § The new Liberal government felt compelled to abolish the camps.
Led to (Some) Changes § The historic On-To-Ottawa Trek was one of the highlights of the severe economic depression of 1929 -39. § It led to many of the social programs we enjoy today (WCB, E. I. , minimum wage etc. ).
Prime Minister R. B. Bennett § Richard Bedford Bennett (July 3, 1870 – June 26, 1947) served as the 11 th PM of Canada from August 7, 1930, to October 23, 1935, during the worst of the Great Depression years.
Bennett’s Promises § Bennett promised work, to promote the strengthening of Canada’s industry behind tariff walls, and to “blast (Canada’s way into the markets of the world. § He had plans.
Bennett's Plans: Plan 1 = Raise Tariffs § Plan 1: § To raise tariffs and in theory this would protect manufactures. § Believed that this action would convince other nations to lower tariffs on Canadian goods.
Plan 1 Failed § Plan 1: § Unfortunately, the side effects of his plan produced more damage than good. § It failed to produce trade and the domestic market could not support Canadian businesses.
Plan 2: The New Policy § To get the Canadian economy on the up rise again, Bennett started the New Policy in 1935, which was taken from US President Roosevelt’s New Deal. § It was to insure unemployment insurance, a reduced workweek, and minimum wages, industrial codes, and permanent economic planning.
Plan 2 Failed § The policy did not work and could not save the Conservatives or Bennett’s place in politics. § King and the Liberals won the election of 1935. § Following his defeat as PM, Bennett moved to England; abandoned Canada.
Disastrous Policies § Bennett’s plans had been disasters. § He did not support Keynesian theory of government spending during a depression.
Fun at the Expense of Bennett § His policies were made fun of by most Canadians: § Cars that had to be towed by horses were called “Bennett Buggies. ” § There were also “Eggs Bennett” (boiled chestnuts), “Bennett Barnyards” (deserted prairie farms), “Bennett Blanket” (newspaper), and “Bennett Coffee” (roasted wheat).
Examples of Protests: Vancouver, BC § Post Office Sit-In (Vancouver) § In 1938 the Vancouver post office was the site of a famous Canadian act of civic disobedience. § The building was occupied for six weeks by 700 single, unemployed workers demanding federal relief.
Vancouver Post Office Riot § Why protest here? § It was a federal (Canadian government) building, central, busy, get federal government’s attention. § Vancouver’s main Post Office was located in what is now Sinclair Centre.
Vancouver Post Office Riot § Eventually the “invaders” were ousted by police with tear gas = the protest was met with violence/riot. § 39 people were injured and 22 were arrested. § The violence/rioting that erupted by more than 5, 000 demonstrators when the RCMP moved in caused considerable damage.
Vancouver Post Office Riot § The Vancouver Post Office Sit-in of 1938 became known as “Bloody Sunday”. § Bloody Sunday was the conclusion of a six week “sitdowners’ strike”.
Canadian Radio, News, & Entertainment
Radio in the 1930 s § Radio Shows must have: § Entertainment + sports section = Ex. Scores of hockey games, movie releases, tips from Chatelaine etc. § Canadian content. § American News. § World News.
Canadian Content § Canadian content topics: § The Dust Bowl. § Creation of work camps, On-to-Ottawa Trek – protest camp conditions. § Vancouver Riots/labour (reference Winnipeg strike). § Creation of the CCF. § Social Credit parties ($25) – Bible Bill, Alberta Election. § Equalization payments – mostly to Prairies. § Union Nationale – Duplessis, Quebec rights.
American Topics on Canadian Radio § American topics: § Introduction to FDR/fireside chats/First 100 Days Plan. § The New Deal – agencies to get people working like the Hoover Dam.
International News § International News: § Japan invades Manchuria, the Rape of Nanking, Lytton Commission. § Hitler is voted into power, taken over, introduced the Nuremberg Laws. § Mussolini invades Abyssinia, League of Nations has placed sanctions… very ineffective. § Britain/France have a secret deal uncovered (Hoare-Laval Pact) agree to give half of Abyssinia to Italy. § Stalin – gulags, show trials, red scare.
Up Next: WWII