Canada and Great Depression

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The Stock Market crash in New York led people to hoard their money; as consumption fell, the American economy steadily contracted, 1929-32. Given the close economic links between the two countries, the collapse quickly affected Canada. Added to the woes of the prairies were those of Ontario and Quebec, whose manufacturing industries were now victims of overproduction. Massive lay-offs occurred and other companies collapsed into bankruptcy. This collapse was not as sharp as that in the United States, but was the second sharpest collapse in the world. Canada did have some advantages over other countries, especially its extremely stable banking system that had no failures during the entire depression, compared to over 9,000 small banks that collapsed in the United States. Canada was hurt badly because of its reliance and other commodities, whose prices fell by over 50%, and because of the importance of international trade. In the 1920s about 25% of the Canadian Gross National Product was derived from exports. The first reaction of the U.S. was to raise tariffs via the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, passed into law June 17, 1930. This hurt the Canadian economy more than most other countries in the world, and Canada retaliated by raising its own rates on American imports and by switching business to the Empire.[19] In an angry response to Smoot–Hawley, Canada welcomed the British introduction of trade protectionism and a system of Commonwealth preference during the winter of 1931-32. It helped Canada avoid external default on their public debt during the Great Depression. Canada had a high degree of exposure to the international economy - for example, in the 1920s about 25% of the Canadian GDP came from exports - which left Canada susceptible to any international economic downturn. The onset of the depression created critical balance of payment deficits, and it was largely the extension of imperial protection by Britain that gave Canada the opportunity to increase their...
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