The first signs of the Great Depression were clearly evident by the 1930 election, and Conservative party leader Richard Bennett campaigned on a platform of aggressive measures in order to combat it.
"I propose that any government of which I am the head will at the first session of parliament initiate whatever action is necessary to that end, or perish in the attempt." - Richard Bennett, June 9, 1930.
Part of the reason for Bennett's success lay in the Liberals' own handling of the rising unemployment of 1930. Touting the Liberal formula as the reason for the economic prosperity of the 1920s, for example, left the Liberals carrying much of the responsibility, whether deserved or not, for the consequences of the crash of the American stock market.
King was apparently oblivious to the rising unemployment that greeted the 1930s, and continued to laud his government's hand in Canada's prosperity. Demands for aid were met with accusations of being the part of a great "Tory conspiracy," which led King to make his famous "five-cent piece" outburst, alienating a growing number of voters. In retrospect, one can try and understand King's reasoning. Both the Western... Read More