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Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War
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Post-War Planning

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Canada and the War
Canadian Army (Active) Discharge Certificate - AN19810232-004
Canadian Army (Active) Discharge Certificate

Post-War Planning

On December 9, 1939, after only three months at war, the federal Cabinet established a Committee on Demobilization and Re-Establishment, led by the Minister of Pensions and National Health, Ian Mackenzie. Mackenzie convinced the government to begin an unemployment insurance programme in August 1940, a major step towards a full-scale post-war national social security umbrella for Canadians.

In February 1941, Mackenzie persuaded Prime Minister King to form a Committee of Reconstruction, a study group under Principal F. Cyril James of McGill University. The Committee published the Report on Social Security for Canada, which urged a social safety net for the unemployed, the old and the ill. Although some Liberal Cabinet ministers and senior public servants strongly opposed big government of this kind, King could see that both the Progressive Conservatives and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation supported the idea, and that the CCF used it to good effect in federal by-elections. The Prime Minister built a reconstruction programme that included important social welfare provisions : health insurance, old-age benefits and family allowances ( see The Family Allowances ). There were also measures to ease the transition of returned servicemen to civilian life ( see Veterans and Veterans' Programmes ).

The government established the Department of Reconstruction in June 1944 to guarantee industrial output and maximize employment during the move from war to peace. C.D. Howe headed the Department, while retaining his powerful position as Minister of Munitions and Supply. On December 31, 1945 the two departments merged to become the Department of Reconstruction and Supply.

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