19 April, 2018
The Impact of the Government of Richard Bennett during the Great Depression
Richard Bedford Bennett was the 11th Prime Minister of Canada from 1930 - 1935, and is infamously recognized for doing little to boost the terrible economy during the nadir of the Great Depression. A time when Canadians suffered unprecedented levels of poverty due to unemployment. He is seen as one of Canada’s worst Prime Ministers and is remembered by the intense hardships our country faced during said times. Which is somewhat unfair, considering the notable achievements he accomplished in his few years serving. Bennett created central banks, job and business opportunities and tried presenting the New Deal to a dissolving economy. He had good intentions and if not for the Depression, would be considered a good Prime Minister.
A method that Bennett used to boost the economy was the installment of central banks. Bennett wanted a central/main bank of Canada because of the national and international demands that needed to be met during the Great Depression. He had to make a wise decision and weigh his options. There would be the negative impact of a loss of jobs due to several banks shutting down, but a positive outcome of one sole decider over several institutions working together. He chose well, the central bank proved to be of great significance. Canadian banks learned not to give large loans at any given time, the bank funded Canada in World War II and still remains a stabilizing influence on the economy.
One may complain about Bennett, but even with all his political flaws, he was smart. An intellectual with ideas, who could not quite see where plans may go wrong. Consider the tariffs that were established. Bennett increased trade with the British Empire and placed tariffs on products and goods coming from non-Empire countries. It worked for a while. Canada received more money, Canadians were encouraged to buy Canadian products and the national debt was decreased by the increase in British trade. But, the relief the tariffs provided to the economy was small and only lasted for so long. Eventually other countries applied tariffs on Canadian exports and the national debt was furthered. A good plan essentially, but when it fell through, there was nothing that could be done.
Further into his short career (1932-1935), Bennett tried a different approach to support Canada. He established relief / labour camps to provide unemployed single ...