Background to the Transaction

AuthorC. Ian Kyer
Background to the
W   understand the 1920 bond purchase
transaction conducted by Jarvis on behalf of the Ontario
government without looking at the political situation
and the state of the economy in late 1919 and early 1920. An analysis
of each is necessary to appreciate how and why the bond purchases
were undertaken.
On 20 October 1919, Ontario voters went to the polls. Most were
unhappy with the state of af‌fairs in Ontario. The Conservatives had
been in power for fourteen years, many of which had been dicult.
The depression of 1913–14 had been followed by World War I and four
years of f‌ighting. Armistice had come in November 1918, but the econ-
omy had not returned to normal as people had hoped. There was high
inf‌lation. Fuel and food prices were especially high. As if this was not
bad enough, in the spring of 1918 and again in the fall and winter of
1918–19, many had suf‌fered from the so-called Spanish f‌lu, a pandemic
then sweeping the world. Half of the patients at the Toronto General
Hospital were pandemic cases. Eighty nurses were sick, and three died.1
Many businesses were closed or operating at less than full capacity.2
Workers were unhappy. Many were unemployed. Those who had jobs
complained of low wages, long hours, and unsafe working conditions.
With all of this going on, it is no surprise that 1919 has been called “the

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