When the war veterans came back after World War II, they were unable to support themselves. They found their previous professions occupied by other individuals and were faced with extreme difficulty when trying to look for a new job. As a result, the government passed special legislation that allowed the war veterans to regain their old positions. They also gave hiring preference for veterans and war widows for government jobs and provided those who wished to pursue post-secondary free tuition and living allowances. With the Veteran’s Land Act passed, the veterans were able to obtain mortgages at a more manageable rate. In addition, the 165,000 displaced persons that came to Canada after the war was over were able to settle in communities across Canada. Their children attended schools and absorbed English at a fast rate and new job opportunities were opened up for the parents to support their families.
Massey Commission was established by the federal government to investigate the state of Canadian culture. The government was suggested by the Commission to become more actively involved in funding universities and the arts programs. As a result, scholarships were given to students in universities with high achievements in arts, money was poured into theatre productions and grants were given to writers and artists with amazing talents. Many institutions, including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the National Ballet were becoming Canadian pride. Not only did the Commission recommend the government to invest money into these areas, it also advised that TV in Canada should be used for educational purposes, such as those in drama and music. As a result, the responsibility was on the CBC and the first two stations were established in 1952 in Toronto and Montreal. By 1960, 90% Canadians had access to television and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was in charge of regulating programs that were shown on televisions in order to meet the requirements of Canadian content.
Improvement on Social Welfare
Following the introduction of the Canadian Bill of Rights, came the improvement of social welfare system under the leadership of Lester Pearson and his government. In order to make his plan work, Pearson first had to gain power from the provincial government before distributing taxes collected from the wealthy provinces to the less privileged ones. He offered the provinces government grants that would be used toward the providence of social services, the most prominent ones being health care and education. Along with the initiation of health care, the government also began the Canada Pension Plan, which was to provide governmental support to those who retired. Subsequent to the Pension Plan was the Medical Care Act that was passed in 1966 as a form of agreement between the federal and the provincial government sharing the medical costs. These acts all benefited Canadians greatly, as they no longer needed to face huge debt or declare bankruptcy due to the large amount of unpaid medical fees.
After succeeding Lester Pearson, Pierre Trudeau addressed the problem of unemployment issue and regional disparity, the economic gap between the rich and the poor regions of Canada, by spending millions of dollars on projects that would open up new job opportunities for people. The Free Trade Agreement with the U.S under Trudeau’s government also served as an economic stimulus that would enable businesses to thrive and increase government revenues.
Cars became a huge environmental concern after the V-8 engines were installed. They were a serious atmospheric pollutant that could cause damage to the ozone layer. Not only were the engines problematic, many people who were driving were not concerned with the safety of themselves and the safety of others. Automobile accidents caused by drunk drivers were common, and people not wearing seatbelts while driving was also a frequent sight.
The federal government was faced with a huge debt after the introduction of Medicare, since it was an extremely costly system. The taxes collected were insufficient to pay for all the medical fees and other medical technologies. As a result, the federal government had to borrow money from other countries, thereby making Canada looked as though it was losing control of its economy after the United States invested a large amount of money in Canada to gain possessive of its natural resources. Many large corporations were U.S. owned and Canada was slowly becoming increasingly dependent on the U.S. However, after the Finance Minister Paul Martin began cutting federal government spending, the economy was slowly improving. A major drawback to this approach was that now Canadians had to deal with other problems: the increase in tuition fees since universities and colleges were given smaller funds by the government, and less benefit in health care system resulted in the dismissal of staffs and the close down of hospitals. All of these contributed to the rising number of homeless people in Canada, who had to rely on food banks for their survival.