The Great Depression / The Dirty Thirties

• On 29 October 1929, the stock market crashed. This day is known as Black Tuesday

• Between October 29 and November 13 (when stock prices hit their lowest point), over $5 billion had disappeared from Canada’s economy. About $30 billion was lost in the USA in the same period.
• By 1935, stocks had lost over 50% of their 1929 value. • Many businesses closed, and Canada’s unemployment reached almost 27%. (…higher in some provinces). • Many families lost all their life savings.

The Great Depression / The Dirty Thirties
Why did the Crash and the Depression happen? Canada was already in a recession (i.e., a period of lost jobs, poor wages, ruined businesses) before 1929. For example, there was a very poor wheat harvest in western Canada in 1928, and as a result, many people lost their farming jobs. In 1929, six reasons combined together contributed to make the crash even bigger. 1. Overproduction of goods and over-expansion of production 2. Canada’s dependency on a few primary products 3. Canada’s dependence on USA for most of its trade and exports 4. High tariffs cut-off international trade 5. Too much credit buying 6. Too much credit buying of stocks

The Great Depression / The Dirty Thirties
• Overproduction of goods and overexpansion of production -- This means Canada was making more products than it could sell. With too many products, the price for a product fell…and fell…and fell Canada’s dependency on a few primary products – This means Canadians only worked in a few industries such as mining or logging. If the industry failed, many jobs would be lost. Canada’s dependence on USA for most of its trade and exports – This means Canada had only one country for trade. When the USA’s economy began to fall, Canada’s trade and economy also fell.

The Great Depression / The Dirty Thirties
• High tariffs cut-off international trade – To protect its industries, Canada had put tariffs (…like taxes…) on imported goods. A car built in the USA would have a 35% tariff imposed making it more expensive. In this way, Canadians would buy a “cheaper” product from a Canadian company. This action kept many Canadian companies operating although they were uncompetitive. Too much credit buying – The 1920s was a time of new inventions. To buy the latest product, Canadians used credit. Many Canadian were deep in debt. Too much credit buying of stocks – Canadians invested in the stock market to make it rich quick. Many Canadians borrowed money to buy stocks. Many investors bought stocks were bought on margin. When stock prices fell, Canadians had to sell all their stocks OR lose all their money…and have no money to repay their loans.

The Great Depression / The Dirty Thirties
What was it like? • At times, one in every five Canadians was on government relief. Welfare did not exist. • Unemployment reached 30% in some regions. UI did not exist. • The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) did not make any money in 1932 • Young, homeless men were sent to Relief Camps deep in BC’s northern forest regions. Wages and living conditions were so poor…most men were treated like slaves. • The birth rate (number of babies born) fell from 13.1 in 1930 to 9.7 in 1937. At the same time, the death rate rose steeply.

The Great Depression / The Dirty Thirties
Table 1 – Per Capita Income by Province 1928-29 and 1933 Province 1928-1929 Average Per Capita Income 594 549 548 1933 Average Per Capita Income 314 310 212 Percent Decrease

British Columbia Ontario Alberta

47 44 61

Saskatchewan
Manitoba Quebec Nova Scotia New Brunswick PEI

478
466 399 322 292 278

135
240 220 207 180 154

72
49 44 36 39 45

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