In times of despair, society depends on a good leader to make smart decisions and do what is right for the people. The 1920’s, often referred to as the roaring twenties was a time of economic prosperity for Canada due to the increase in manufactured goods, employment, and consumerism. However, this period of prosperity was subsequently followed by the Great Depression from 1929 to 1939, after the crash of the stock market on October 24th of 1929. During the recession, the Canadian economy collapsed and many Canadians were left unemployed and in debt. From 1930 to 1935, Canada underwent the political regime of Prime Minister Bennett’s conservative government. During Bennett’s time in power, he made efforts to bring Canada out of the recession, however the topic of whether his intiatives were effective is a common discussion when it comes to his political career. Prime Minister Bennett’s response to the Great Depression was ineffective as his actions were not prioritized on solving the situation, he made the economic recession worse and failed to address the depression as he focused greatly on the rise of communism in Canada. To begin, R.B Bennett’s response to the Great Depression was not effective as he did not focus on concrete solutions with the intent of ending the depression, but rather temporary actions that merely dealt with the recession’s effects. In 1930, the first bill that Bennett and his government passed provided $20 million in relief to families who were in dire need of money, which excluded single unmarried men (Hewitt, Roy). This occured at the very beginning of the depression and it was Bennett’s first attempt at combating the situation. Although providing welfare to Canadians was beneficial, it simply helped people to deal with the effects of the recession rather than offer Canadians jobs so they can earn wages and support themselves. Bennett’s first response should have been to create policies and programs that focus on long term solutions to ending the depression by addressing the unemployment crisis and reviving the Canadian economy. If he were to provide relief, it should not have been his first initiative, but rather a last resort when dealing with the depression. Overall, Bennett’s $20 million relief did not help to solve the economic recession, thus making his response to the Great Depression ineffective. Like the relief provided, other actions from Bennett did not effectively focus on solving the depression in Canada. In October of 1932, Bennett approved the establishment of camps known as relief camps where single and unemployed men would be housed and provided with work such as planting trees, building roads and clearing bushes. Despite the intense manual labour, men were only paid 20 cents a day; a tenth of what they would be paid as employed labourers doing the same job (Howard). It was imperative that Bennett would address the issue of unemployment in Canada since there were many unemployed transients, specifically 70,000 by 1932 (Relief Camps). However, Bennett failed to effectively respond to the important issue of unemployment as the relief camps did not work towards solving unemployment as the provided jobs were menial, wages were low and unfair and the men were working far away from cities. Instead, Bennett and his government should have created a program of reasonable work and wages that could contribute to a positive economic cycle where the economy would benefit, thus helping Canada to leave the recession. Generally speaking, Bennett’s response was ineffective as his intiatives did not work towards ending the depression.Furthermore, Prime Minister Bennett’s actions in response to the Great Depression were not effective as he made the situation in Canada worse. Until 1932, Bennett did not create any significant policies to address the depression as he believed in laissez-faire and hoped that the economy would fix itself (Hewitt, Roy). During these early years when Bennett did not take any major actions, Canada had a negative economic cycle where consumerism decreased, causing extreme declines in manufactured goods and employment. In brief, the depression only got worse as Bennett did not make any preventive nor concrete solutions to deal with issue before it became a severe issue in Canada. In addition to Bennett’s lack of of action during the early years of the depression, he also worsened Canada’s economic recession by increasing tariffs on Canadian manufactured goods to 50% in 1930 (Horn). This was one of Bennett’s principal initiatives during his time in power as he believed that it would increase international trade, thus stimulate the economy and end the unemployment issue. However, Canada’s Gross National Expenditure decreased by 42% between 1929 and 1933 because of his actions (Struthers). As a third of Canada’s Gross National Expenditure directly came from exporting goods to other countries, the significant impact of the increased tariffs can be recognized as it impeded international trade; which caused further damage to the economy and added to unemployment. In brief, Prime Minister Bennett’s actions during his time in office were not successful since he made the Great Depression worse.Lastly, Bennett’s response to the Great Depression was ineffective as he was feared communism and a social revolt among the population against him and the government rather than addressing the issues of the depression. Between 1930 and 1935, 28097 immigrants were deported (Struthers). Some immigrants were deported if they had illnesses or were unemployed, however others were deported due to Bennett’s anti-communism beliefs. There was growing social unrest in communities and Bennett believed that immigrants, particularly those from Eastern Europe, had brought radical, extreme and dangerous political ideas with them resulting in the increase of communism. Bennett and his government’s decision to deport immigrants due to the fear of communism impeded them from effectively responding to the problems that arose in the recession. Likewise, Prime Minister Bennett’s fear of communism prevented him from addressing the issues of the Great Depression as can be acknowledged through the relief camps. General Andy McNaughton was Prime Minister Bennett’s military chief, and he warned him of the threat of a communist revolt from the unemployed as seen in the following quote: “In their ragged platoons, here are the prospective members of what Marx called the ‘industrial reserve army, the stormtroopers of the revolution.'” (Relief Camps). Bennett’s government was concerned about the unemployed Canadians not due to their lack of jobs but rather since they were viewed as a threat to him and the government such as when General Any McNaughton refers to them as the stormtroopers of the revolution. This example shows how Bennett and his government did not focus on the Great Depression, but rather on the potential communist revolt thus making his response to the depression ineffective. Moreover, Bennett focused on the rise of communism rather than addressing the Great Depression which can be recognized by his decision to bring back Section 98 of the Criminal code. Under this new law, it was illegal to promote “governmental, industrial or economic change within Canada by the use of force, violence or physical injury to person or property, or by threats of such injury.” (Seager, Thompson). The newly passed law targeted communists and some of the noticeable people arrested were Tim Buck who was the Communist Party Leader, Malcolm Bruce, Tom McEwen, Tom Hill, John Boychuck, Matthew Popowich, Sam Carr, Tom Cacic, and Michael Golinski (Ricketts). This example shows how Bennett’s response to the Great Depression was ineffective as he focused on the rise of communism by arresting communists under a law he had passed, as opposed to the significant issues affecting Canadians during the recession. Therefore, Bennett’s decision to deport immigrants, create relief camps and bring back Section 98 of the Criminal code show how he was unsuccessful at addressing the issues of the depression by focusing on communism in Canada.Altogether, Prime Minister Richard Bedford Bennett failed to effectively respond to the Great Depression as he did not focus on solving the depression, worsened the situation and addressed communism rather than the economic recession. During Bennett’s time in power from 1930 to 1935, him and his government attempted different solutions to deal with the issues of the Great Depression and it was important that the federal government effectively responded the devastating and widespread issue that severely impacted many Canadians. The federal government continues to play an active role in Canada’s national issues and economic activities and it is imperative that Canada has good Prime Minister in power who can effectively deal with problematic situations in order to avoid and respond to future issues like the Great Depression. So the next time you take part in an election, be mindful of who you vote for.