Turning Point – 1943

The Home Front

The Economic Boom

The economic dimension of the Canadian effort is striking. An aircraft industry that was virtually nonexistent in 1939 would employ 130,000 in 1945 - and would have already produced some 16,400 planes. Shipyards that turned out 16 vessels in 1940 would produce 4,419 before war's end. The manufacture of military vehicles went from 70,000 in 1940 to 147, 000 in 1944; the figures for tanks were 100 in 1940 and an average of 1,700 a year thereafter. Farm, forest and fisheries production doubled in the period 1939-45. The debt rose from $3 billion in 1938 to $13 billion in 1946.

The Canadian public has not always appreciated the role played by the Second World War in the country's political, economic and social life. Both the loudly deplored centralization process and the impetus lent to the social programmes that are now being attacked from all sides are substantially rooted in the period of the Second World War.