HIST 261: Canada & The Maritimes (1920’s) 1
Canada & Maritimes (1920’s)
February 12th 2014
Canada is the 1920’s:
In 1919 Prime Minister Robert Borden was the the leader of the Union Party (coalition party:
proconscription liberals and the conservatives)
● This had isolated Quebec liberals
Borden led the Canadian delegation in Paris insisted that Canada had their name on the peace treaty as
a separate dominion.
While Borden was away, Wilfrid Laurier passed away. He was recognized as an important figure,
having been in office during the great boom, and in parliament for 45 years (15 of which he was prime
minister). The Liberals would choose William Lyon Mackenzie King as Laurier’s replacement.
Borden returned to growing divisions among Canadian, people expected more from him domestically,
French Canada despised him, Farmers were angry, they felt their concerns were being ignored.
Workers were dissatisfied, felt that there should be more spent on lower classes. Borden resigned in the
summer of 1920. He was replaced by Arthur Meighen.
Rapid deflation occurred and production rapidly declined. There 2451 bankruptcies in 1920.
Arthur Meighen had strongly supported conscription, so he did not have the support of the French
Canadians, he had also deemed the Winnipeg General Strike as a bolshevik movement, so labour was
also against him. In 1921, Arthur Meighen lost an election, and the coalition party reverted back to the
conservative party. This election destroyed the typical two party system, as the progressives (the
western farmers) won 65 seats, Meighen had 50, and the liberals had all of French Canada’s seats with
a total of 117.
The Maritimes were in decline. The populations were decreasing as people moved west. At the
beginning of the century the Maritime provinces didn’t think of themselves as a region that could have
lobbying power. When they joined confederation, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI each joined
confederation as separate colonies.
● Their economies were based on trades: fishing, agriculture, later mining.
● Canada had taken over the debts of the maritimes, as well as the operation of the intercolonial
In 1900: confederation was credited with allowing economic advancement for the individual provinces,