CHC2D Grade 10 Academic History – The Roaring 20s

Thanks, Tony!

Chapter 2: The Boom Years


Mackenzie King and Canadian Independence

    • after WWI, Canada’s foreign affairs still controlled by Britain
    • PM King was determined to change Britain from controlling foreign affairs—didn’t want Canada to be involved in another European war (didn’t want to divide English and French again, which could lead to defeat of his government)
    • took an isolationist stand—a country’s policy to not get involved with affairs of another country
    • the Chanak Crisis
      • in October 1922, Turkish troops (Turkey was enemy in WWI) threatened war on Britain because they wanted control of Chanak ports
      • Britain asked for assistance from colonies
      • PM King refused to send troops—believed Canadian Parliament would decide (Arthur Meighen, conservative leader disagreed—felt Canada should stand by Britain)
      • by time issue was debated in parliament, war was over
      • proved Canada would decide the role it played in its foreign affairs
    • the Halibut Treaty
      • occurred in March of 1923
      • Canada signed treaty with USA about fishing regulations
      • Canada signed treaty without Britain signing as well; UK protested, but gave in when King threatened to appoint a Canadian diplomat in Washington)
      • showed Canada could sign international treaties without Britain
    • the Imperial Conference
      • occurred in 1923
      • Britain wanted a centralized/same foreign affairs policy for all its Dominions
      • Dominions rejected idea, and it worked
    • Constitution Crisis
      • occurred in 1926
      • after King called an election, he didn’t win a majority—no one did
      • most thought that King should resign (including Governor General Byng) to allow Arthur Meighen to be PM
      • King refused to resign, so he asked Byng to call a re-election
      • Byng rejected idea and made Meighen PM; however, Meighen lost a non-confidence vote (a voter in Parliament to see if members support party in power) and a election was called
      • King won in re-election with a majority in 1926; Meighen resigned, and Bennett took over
      • King changing the role of the Governor General to have less power than the Canadian government
        • made governor general representative of UK monarch and not UK government as well—this allowed Canada to communicate directly with UK government
    • Imperial Conference
      • occurred in 1926
      • included further recognition of Dominion autonomy (nation’s political independence—right to self-govern)—allowed British Dominions to make its own foreign policy decisions
      • King established legations (diplomats) in USA, France, and Japan, and USA France and Japan diplomats sent to Canada
      • all Dominions are considered equals to UK
    • Statute of Westminster
      • British parliament could no longer nullify laws in the Dominions
      • Dominions can make their own extra-territorial laws
      • British law no longer applied to dominions
      • put external affairs under authority of Canadian government


Labour Unrest

    • WWI caused divisions between workers and employers
    • WWI caused economic troubles—not enough jobs
    • inflation had increased faster than wage, doubling cost of living, and reducing a person’s buying power
    • while soldiers were dying overseas, employers made huge profits supplying the armed forces
      • however, as soldiers returned, many couldn’t find jobs
    • people who had jobs joined unions for better pay and working conditions (unions went on strike when employers unsympathetic); many employers got court injunctions to stop workers from striking/picketing
      • if no court injunction, employers hired employees to replace strikers


One Big Union

    • in March 1919, union delegates from across Western Canada gathered in Calgary to create a large union to fight for workers’ rights (included all workers)
    • OBU wanted a general strike—it believed if all business activities were stopped, employers would have to grant workers’ demands
    • federal government sent undercover police officers to the Calgary meetings; when officers reported OBU had praised the recent communist revolution in Russia, government officials feared the worst


Winnipeg General Strike

    • occurred in 1919
    • unions believed those who had power supported employers over workers
    • in spring of 1919, Winnipeg metal and building trades began negotiating with their employers; unions began collective bargaining—negotiating on behalf of all employees (instead of individual workers negotiating for themselves)
    • when Winnipeg companies refused to negotiate with unions, 30 000 workers walked out
    • the strike eventually spread from industry to industry; Winnipeg eventually shut down
    • Union leaders asked police to remain on duty
    • workers formed a Central Strike Committee to oversee conduct of strike
    • to end strike, Ottawa amended Immigration Act (British-born immigrants can be deported) and redefined sedition to make it easier to arrest strike leaders
    • On June 21, a huge rally occurred to protest the arrest of the strike leaders—Northwest Mountain Police and army came to stop protests (had guns)
      • became very violent
    • On June 26, fearing more violence strike leaders ended the 6 week strike
    • in short term, strike was a disaster for workers—many forced to sign contracts of not joining unions
    • in long run, strike ignited labour politics—in 1920, several strike leaders elected to Manitoba legislature (in 1921, J.S. Woodsworth was elected to the House of Commons)



    • during WWI, every province except QC banned sale and production of liquor
    • in March 1918, federal government banned the manufacturing, importation, and transportation of liquor
    • prohibition saved needed grains for soldiers; prohibition = patriotism
    • prohibition also eliminated smoking, drinking, and gambling
    • in January 1919, US banned sale but not consumption of alcohol
    • by 1919, Canadian prohibition ended, and Canadians began rum-running to US to sell liquor at high prices
    • this illegal trade benefited Canadian liquor manufacturers
    • by 1920, provinces eliminated prohibition for province run liquor stores (except PEI); it allowed governments to stop organized crime, and control the trade, price and ability to tax liquor
    • women pushed to keep prohibition after war (reduced drunk husbands, and substance abuse from PTS soldiers)
    • during prohibition, alcohol consumption didn’t go down; it went up (people still drank… just secretly)
    • prohibition caused domestic abuse to go down
    • prohibition created organized crimes (gangs)
    • prohibition is the drugs (marijuana) of today


The Persons’ Case

    • Emily Murphy appointed first female judge in Alberta in 1916
    • a lawyer challenged her right to judge a case because she was a woman
    • in eyes of law, women weren’t “persons”
    • although Supreme Court ruled women could be judges, they still couldn’t be senators
      • despite numerous women groups petitioning for PM to appoint female senators, PM ignored requests—said under BNA only “persons” could be appointed, and women were “persons”


    • in 1927, the Alberta Five (Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Irene Parlby) challenged the definition of persons in the British North America Act
      • first went to MP but was rejected; then went through court system (provincial federal), and eventually Supreme Court
    • in 1928, Supreme Court of Canada ruled against them
    • in 1929, the appeals court (privy council in England) ruled in favour of them
    • Cairine Wilson becomes first female senator—none of the Alberta Five were the first female senator, as the government hated them for making Canada look bad (but Wilson continuously made government look bad in office)
    • 18% of House of Commons today is female


Handout: Women After WWI

    • women deemed unequal after men came home
    • women were fired from their jobs—they felt taken advantage of (used for WWI needs)
    • women rebelled through apparel—rubber bands on breasts (made them smaller), short hair, more revealing clothing, smoke, went to bars


Handout: Jobs After WWI

    • soldiers came home to no jobs; companies hired those who weren’t soldiers because soldiers had problems and less experience working
    • government passed a law saying soldiers who left for war must have their job back; since there were no workers’ rights back then, soldiers were hired back and then immediately fired
    • factory owners and governments scare of unions because unions had too much power (how the Soviet Union overthrew government)
    • factories scared of unions because unions have collective bargaining, meaning unions have more power to make employers give larger salaries


Handout: Winnipeg General Strike

    • may have been caused by large Russian population
    • in the long term, it allowed Canada to have unions and worker rights
    • every worker in Winnipeg joined the union; governments used ex-soldiers to violently oppose the strike


Handout: Roaring Twenties

    • a teacher in the 20s restricted women’s rights—they couldn’t marry or have male company, smoke/drink, bright clothes, dye hair, couldn’t leave town without permission
    • men wore suits (no real change since before war); women were less curvy (no corset), had shorter hair, and more revealing clothing
    • dances in the 20s: shimmy, waltz, fox trot, tango, turkey trot, bunny hop; dances were more intimate, and had less structure (freedom)
    • “Group of Seven” were painters from ON and QC who painted from a new perspective—Canadian landscapes
    • entertainment included silent movie, theatre plays, dances, radio (linked country together)
    • sports: hockey, golf, basketball, curling, football
    • bootleg running was popular, but if caught: imprisonment with hard labour, $1000 fine, killed by gangs
    • transportation: train, cars (increased mobility), street railcars, horse wagons, steamers, planes (increased mobility)
    • Model T became a popular car because of low price, cheap (mass production) and easy maintenance
      • many problems like brittle axles, stuck in the mud (as there weren’t that many paved roads), engine burned out easily
    • the 20s were roaring, as people were partying and having more fun (new philosophy after war experiences)
    • because of industrialization, many products were designed for wives to make women’s jobs easier—dishwasher, hair dryer, refrigerator, table lamp, ironing machine, vacuum
      • mostly electricity powered products