Chapter 11 Canada as a Whole
Regional Analysis Common themes
For BC, Western Canada, Atlantic Canada, and the Territorial North, there's a need to
-increase economic diversification; increase natural resource processing
-ensure sustainable resource development
For BC and other regions, there's a need to
-negotiate land claim agreements with Aboriginal peoples to settle past obligations and remove
uncertainty over land ownership
-work at resolving and modifying issues/challenges in resource based industries
Challenges for Ontario
-achieve acceptable compromises with provinces, Aboriginal peoples, and francophone
majority in Quebec
-achieve sustainable resource development for northern Ontario
-maintain competitiveness in manufacturing and resource industries to rival other parts of
North America and the world
-be cautionary in north-south trade alignment and dependency on the US
Challenges for Quebec
-resolve its political place within Confederation
-define its economic place within the North American and global markets (like Ontario. Quebec
is part of the industrial heartland of Canada and an important industrial area of North America)
-resolve tensions in northern Quebec among Cree
The centralist/decentralist faultline
Will centralist tendencies prevail?
What will happen with transfer payments which enable Ottawa to exercise greater control over
the nature and range of provincial activities?
What will happen with natural resources of provinces? Will the federal government exercise
authority in that sector? (and inflame provinces) If there is potential wealth to be had?
Will decentralist tendencies gain strength?
Provinces are challenging the strong tendencies toward centralization by rallying for more
power. Will Stockwell Day former Canadian Alliance leader, continue to gain popularity as a
provincial rights exponent?
Will reformed parties gain popularity for espousing provincial rights?
The French/English Faultline
Is the basis for cultural conflict and tension as significant today?
The Canadian debate is not just about language but also concerns the preservation of
francophone culture in the context of a largely anglophone nation
But at this point In Canadian society, economic differences between francophones/
anglophones have waned and there is a focus on multiculturalism-is there less of a threat of a
truncated Canada? The Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal Faultline
Aboriginal peoples are agitating for a new relationship, demanding better treatment and
recognition of past and continuing Injustices. They are forming transnational alliances.
Will past Injustices be resolved by Canadian government?
One of the most important developments in the Aboriginal policy in the 19905 was the creation
(1991) and a 5 volume conclusion (1996) of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. From
that, the federal government outlined an Action Plan for Aboriginal Peoples (called Gathering
1998 Action Plan for Aboriginal Peoples
What was one of the most significant aspects of this?
The plan began with a Statement of Reconciliation in which the federal government recognized
the past legacy of injustices and apologized for the abuse of Aboriginal children in the
The federal government committed $350 million to healing centres to deal with the effects of
The Plan's main objectives are to ensure meaningful change from the past, strengthen
Aboriginal government and community, and negotiate claims in good faith
Primarily, the apology (reconciliation) offers hope
Changes in perspective
British (historically) ‘how can the existing population benefit from immigrants’ compared with
‘how society can benefit immigrants’
Immigration influxes-accommodating, adjusting policies
-contentions that it can hamper development of Canadian identity
-regional patterns of immigration and implications
What defines Canadian?
Health care (one of Canada's most successful and popular public programs)
Tough gun control (one of the most restrictive policies in the world)
Deference to authority/mild-mannered (within family, workplace, etc-a legacy of British rule)
Valuing of diversity (Canadians value this more than Americans)
Canada's Health Care System
Why it’s Important to Canada
It's an important symbol of community and national identity (a representation of mutual
support and concern). It expresses equality In face of disease and death
Canadians' confidence in the system has been badly shaken in the 90s
Canadians are concerned that cost-cutting by federal and provincial governments has put their
health at risk. There are pressures to reform the system Universal Health Care Issues
Cutbacks and Loss of Services
In 1995, federal transfer payments were $30 billion and by 1998, they dropped 17% to $25
billion. Now, more money's going back into the system, but what was the effect of the
cutbacks? Caused a change in level of health care services? Cuts have been felt by Canadians
Nurse layoffs, waitlists, hospital closures, and elimination of beds
Alberta's Bill 11 (Ralph Klein)
Threatens to erode public health care; a stepping stone to a two-tier system (private/public)
Arguments for and against
Effects on Canadians
Health Care and the future
What are we getting for our money?
Reform is required
We need to know more about the effectiveness of services and what works and what does not
We can't go on doing the same thing. Money's flowing into the system again. We need to figure
out how to better manage our system. This requires expansion of the information base (Health
Privatization would lead to higher overall costs
CBC Television and Radio-Canada
CBC Television is a unique system; heavily subsidized by the fed government and has a crown
corporation, CBC Radio Canada, as one of its main engines (US television relies far more heavily
on corporate sponsorship}
Offer programs that are uniquely Canadian
Contribute to shared national consciousness and identity
Give expression to regional and linguistic differences as well as reflect the country’s
Provide programming that informs, enlightens, and entertains
What's the Can Con clause?
Canadian content (CanCon) is an important provision. TV broadcasting must set aside 60% of
their daily schedule for Canadian content programs. (Is this a violation of a citizen's right to
freedom of expression? Or, is it protection of Canadian culture?)
With the advent of new technologies, CanCon may become obsolete because regulations won't
be reinforcible (e.g. it won't belong before everything on www will be available on TV)
Canada and US
Are the media realms different?
Canadians and Americans largely inhabit the same media universe. The American experience
becomes part of the Canadian experience
Yet, powerful media tradition has taken root In Canada (CBC, Macleans, Globe and Mail, ClY). These institutions are likely to face challenges as new info technologies begin to displace old
media but the institutions have loyalties that won't be erased easily
How strong is It?
Could the Canadian media system stand on its own if It weren't propped up by protectionist
Is it strong and vibrant enough to withstand the pressure of the border?
Or, would it be crushed by the elephant? (Using Pierre Trudeau's famous analogy, “Canadians
are lying in bed with an elephant”)
Cultural connections with the US
Is there hope for Canada's culture?
In a broad sense (e.g. as a way of life), is Canadian culture distinctive?
Evidence is subtle. What are key phrases of the constitutions/significance?
-the basic law of a country: expresses the values upon which a country is formed
Cultural connections with the US
Is there hope for Canada's culture?
In a narrower sense (e.g. arts, entertainment, and media) is Canadian culture distinctive?
Many would say that our culture is a unique mix of many Influences. Canada's culture has been
influenced by Aboriginal peoples, the French and British founding peoples, and other cultural
groups who ar