The financial cost of the Canadian war effort was astronomical. Expenditure for the fiscal year 1939-40 was a modest $118 291 000. The next year it rose to $752 045 000; in the peak year, 1943-44, it was $4 587 023 000. The total through the fiscal year 1949-50, for the 11 years beginning 1939-40, was $21 786 077 519.12. Other costs due to the war have continued to accumulate. During the war, 1 086 343 Canadian men and women performed full-time duty in the 3 services. The cost in blood was smaller than in WWI, but still tragic: 42 042 lost their lives.
The significance of WWII in Canadian history was great, but probably rather less than that of WWI. National unity between French and English was damaged, though happily not so seriously as in WWI. The economy was strengthened and its manufacturing capacity much diversified. National pride and confidence were enhanced. The status as an independent country, only shakily established in 1919, was beyond doubt after 1945. Canada was a power in her own right, if a modest one. On the other hand, it had been made painfully clear that "status" did not necessarily imply influence. A MIDDLE POWER had to limit its aspirations. Real authority in the world remained with the big battalions, the big populations, and the big money.
It sent Canada into a new economic cycle. Since weapons and mitilia were needed overseas, factories needed to hire more workers.
It helped to make the economy stronger knowing that we helped in the wars and are able to keep the economy together.
IN 1939, Canada was a mainly agricultural country with over 60 percent of the population living in rural towns or on farms. The industrial sector was concentrated in Quebec and Ontario, and most exports were raw materials from the forests, and mines.
The need to clothe, feed and equip the Canadian armed forces required a complete overhaul of Canadian manufacturing plants and processes. Many smaller towns became regional centers of manufacturing, based on what was needed by the military. Railway lines that were all ready in existence were designated as places that factories would be built