Assignment: The Economic Challenge
Explore the critical economic challenge faced by a Canada with a population of a little more than 11 million. The challenge of undertaking the construction of warships, and even more daunting, manning those ships with trained complements of men who had to master a complexity of skills related to operating a warship in the North Atlantic theatre of operation.
What economic and technical questions needed to be addressed?
- What types of ships are needed?
- Who will build them?
- Where to make them?
- When are they needed?
- What are the costs?
- Who will pay?
- What engineering skills are needed?
- Where will we get the workforce?
- Who has the marine design skills?
- What local industry can be adapted?
Consider the current (2011) economic challenges facing Canada:
- External threat – drop in world markets for Canadian products
- Government cash stimulus
- Call for creation of new industries e.g. green/environmentally friendly
- Lack of workforce expertise in new realms and the need to re-educate
- Questions about our will and ability to respond to the challenge
Compare this scenario with that of 70 years ago in 1939:
- External threat (Nazis)
- Government stimulus to build ships
- Call to design and construct warships
- Lack of skilled workforce and facilities to construct warships
- Eventual successful response and achievement across Canada
- Examine the challenge of developing an industry in the face of so many missing factors. How did Canada deal with the critical need for navy ships to protect convoys?
- Choose a Corvette, locate where and by whom it was constructed, profile its role in the Battle of the Atlantic.
- An interesting exercise would be for schools located in those shipbuilding
communities to research the era and examine the challenge presented by the need
- Why on the Great Lakes?
- What were the limiting factors?
- From where was workforce drawn?
- What tradition was there?
- What role did women play?
- What companies were involved?
- What was the role of the Federal Government?