ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED | OCTOBER 1935 | THE FARMER
The Trusted Pilot Who Weathered The World-Wide Storm, When the Fair-Weather Sailors Quit Bennett Rode out the Gale
A Liberal Government ushered in the Great Depression into the farms and factories of Canada, and went out of office in 1930 leaving the Dominion practically defenseless in the face of the greatest economic storm in history. The Liberal Government was not responsible for the world-wide depression, but it was directly responsible for the hopelessly unprepared and unprotected condition of the country. Canada’s markets, one after another, were being closed against her. In June, 1930, for example, the Smoot-Hawley tariff was thrown up against us, wiping out our markets in the United States for farm products and other goods, without so much as a “by your leave” to the supine Government in Ottawa, which, as usual, took disaster lying down.
In this dark hour, with the whirlwind already raging, Mr. R. B. Bennett took over the Ship of the State. Through five perilous years, while regime after regime abroad has foundered, Canada, under his guidance, has ridden out of the Great Depression. And the reason? BENNETT MADE AN EMPIRE PORT IN A WORLD STORM.
Farming is the key industry of Canada. Bennett at once saw that to save Canada he must save the Canadian farmer. The Canadian market was made secure for the Canadian producer by means of the Ottawa Agreements.
The Empire market, particularly the United Kingdom market, is by far the most stable and valuable export market in the whole world for farm produce. Foreign countries had proved at best fair-weather friends to the Liberal Government. Bennett secured Empire preference and the Empire market, THROUGH THICK AND THIN.
That these five years have been disastrous in the world outside is made clear by the fact that world trade dropped from $68,600,000,000 in 1929 to $23,375,000,000 in 1934. It was cut down to practically one-third.
Nevertheless, THANKS TO THE OTTAWA AGREEMENTS, Canada survived better than any comparable country. This was made possible by our ever-increasing success in the Empire markets.
In 1929, in the Liberal “heyday”, Canada sent only 24.5 percent of her total exports to the United Kingdom and 33.5 percent to the whole Empire. By 1932 the United Kingdom was taking 36 percent and the whole Empire 44 percent of our exports. Then, as a result of the Ottawa Agreements on 1934, for the first time in recent history the Empire took more than half of our exports, 51.3 percent, with the United Kingdom alone accounting for 41.4 percent. And, be it noted, the overwhelming preponderance of these exports were the primary products of the Canadian farm, forest and mine.
But the benefits of the Ottawa Empire preferences were not a matter of proportions only; they brought about an absolute increase in Canada’s trade. Between 1932 and 1935, amidst unprecedented world conditions, Canada’s Empire export trade grew by $122,000,000- absolutely- from $220,000,000 to $342,000,000.
It is generally agreed throughout the Empire that Canada got the best of a good bargain for all parties at the Ottawa Conference. But that it was not one-sided is evidenced by the fact that, with the Conservative Government in power, the proportion of our imports which we take from Britain and the Empire has risen by practically 50 percent between 1929 and 1934. Furthermore, Bennett HAS KEPT THE COUNTRY FOUR-SQUARE TO THE WORLD. Inheriting an adverse balance of trade from the Liberal Government of $103,000,000 in 1930, he has converted this into a favourable balance of $152, 000,000 at March 31 last. THUS, BY SECURING EMPIRE MARKETS AND PROTECTING THE CANADIAN MARKET FOR THE CANADIAN FARMER AND THE CANADIAN WORKER, BENNETT SAVED CANADA FROM STANDING BANKRUPT BEFORE THE WORLD.
Where We STAND To-day
The Canadian farmer’s position in the British market for 1934, as shown by Dominion Bureau of Statistics:
FIRST in wheat sales.
FIRST in oats.
FIRST in wheat flour.
FIRST in apples.
SECOND in live cattle.
SECOND in bacon.
SECOND in hams.
SECOND in cheese.
SECOND in undressed hides.
Vote Conservative- For Canada and Empire Trade