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Word Count: 643
THE GREAT DEPRESSION Few countries were so severely affected as Canada was by the depression of the 1930s During that time at least a third of the labor force became unemployed and many Canadians depended on welfare for survival Canada which was rich with raw materials had become a great trading nation That trade depended heavily on a strong world economy to buy the exports The collapse in world trade hit Canada and particularly the West hard To add to the effects of a bad economy Saskatchewan was plagued by crop failures and devastatingly low crop prices Leading up to the great depression times were quite favorable In fact world economy was booming Western farm crops were productive Mining fishing and lumbering flourished Manufacturing was at capacity and employment was steady Stock prices were at all-time highs and prosperity was evident everywhere The living was easy and the future appeared hopeful New homes and new cars became common to ordinary folk In October 1929 all black clouds met in one place the New York Stock Exchange and the thunderbolt struck Stock prices fell disastrously a sign that the American economic system was failing In the United States and Canada things were never to be the same again Very shortly the stock markets Domino Effect caused Canadas stock markets to collapse The confidence that people had in a government of Bennett and King was soon shaken Bennett and King had always believed that a balanced budget and a sound dollar would allow the marketplace to flourish and full employment to follow This was not to be At least 33 percent of the workforce in Saskatchewan was agricultural in 1931 The economy was not diversified When the prairie wheat economy collapsed farmers could barely get 38 cents per bushel for the same grain that was worth 160 just a year or two earlier Canada like the rest of the world
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