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Prehistory | 2 Worlds Meet | New France | England Arrives | Clash of Empires | Revolution | British America | Reform/Revolt | Responsible Government | Confederation | Nation Building | Laurier | The Great War | Roaring 20's | Great Depression | WWII | The Peace | Cold War | Trudeau | PC's in Power | Modern Canada

1929 Crash | Economic slump | Bennett in Power | The Ottawa Conference | Praire Drought | Relief | The Regina Riot | Alberta & Bible Bill | Statue of Westminister | Woodsworth & CCF | The Union Nationale | Relief Camps | Bennett's Conversion | King's Return | European Unrest | Royal Visit

By 1935 the economy was starting to recover and signs of hope around the country began to appear. Prime Minister Bennett's last minute conversion to government action didn't win over many voters. Mackenzie King had been working hard to rebuild the Liberal Parties base and his slogan of "It' King or Chaos" sat while with an electorate who were disillusioned with Bennett and were not entirely captivated by the CCF, Social Credit and several other small parties.

On election day the Liberal vote held steady and yielded them 171 seats while the Conservative support collapsed in many parts of the country and they fell to just 39 seats while the CCF picked up7 seats and the Social Credit 17 seats. King has started with his base in Quebec and grew from there. He was once more in power and the Liberals would remain there for another 20 years.

Upon entering office King was immediately faced with the Italian/Ethiopian situation and the commitment the Canadian representative, W. Riddell, to the League of Nations had made in leading the imposition of sanctions on Italy.

King backtracked on the action

"What was my amazement when on reading a morning newspaper I found Doctor Riddell at Geneva was reported to have proposed to add oil, coal and steel to the list of commodities which by sanctions were to be prohibited from export to Italy. No instructions whatever had been sent to him authorizing anything of the kind...word was immediately to be sent that no action of any kind was to be taken by Doctor Riddell without specific instructions from the government. I asked whether that communication had been sent, and was informed that it had been sent within an hour after receipt of the communication from Doctor Riddell. So that so far as the present administration is concerned I say we gave specific direction to Doctor Riddell that he was to do nothing in the matter of extending sanctions without express direction from the government itself."

King had falter in his first great opportunity back in office and the march of fascism continued. The next event in 1936 was the reoccupation of the Rhineland by Germany which violated the 1919 settlement. King's policy was to remain aloof from affairs in Europe. He was  anxious to avoid entanglements abroad and preferred to focus on affairs at home n Canada. This attitude paralleled FDR's position in the United States and although rarely called an isolationist because of Canada's closer relationship with Britain, that was what King was.

He realized that another commitment to Europe might reopen the issue of conscription and that would mean endangering the Liberal base in Quebec. King was comfortable supporting the British position of appeasement and in January of 1937 stated

"In any action this Parliament takes, we shall do well to have regard for the world situation as it is today and for the way in which our action may be viewed by other parts of the world. If ever there was need  for unity on the part of nations and peoples who hold certain cherished ideals of freedom and liberty, that need exists today. We have need for unity in our own country. Nothing can do this country more injury than internal disruptions and differences. We have need for unity as between all parts of the British commonwealth of nations. I for one believe that the British commonwealth today is exercising a greater influence for peace than any other force in the world."

King followed up his participation in the 1937 Imperial Conference in London with a visit to Germany and there he met with Adolf Hitler and came away believing that he was not a man to be feared. By 1939 King was beginning to accept the fact that war was coming and that Canada would probably participate in it in some manner. The depression was drawing to an end but an even more threatening menace now lurked and was to prove a greater test then the 30's.




Source:
Reference: www.canadahistory.com/sections/eras/eras.html