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POLS 1400 (219)
Nanita Mohan (163)

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 1400
Nanita Mohan

CHAPTER #3 p. 51 – 70: REGIONALISM  Alberta was enraged at the 1980 National Energy Program, and “western alienation” affected the whole western region of Canada  The Atlantic ground fish industry collapsed in the 1990s and the softwood lumber dispute with the U.S almost crippled the forest industry  Regionalism obviously animates a great deal of Canadian political activity THEORETICAL CONSIDERATIONS  The Canadian political system is characterized by regionalism, no consensus exists on exactly what those regions are  In discussing the question of regionalism, the 1979 Task Force on Canadian Unity said: Regional communities require an institutional framework to become viable units which can express themselves and organize their collective life in an effective manner  Thus, provinces & territories are the basic building blocks of Canadian society 1) LINKED CLOSELY TO FEDERALISM  The creation of provinces and territories had two primary effects of regional demands  If a region was identified with a political unit, that unit could become a persuasive transmitter of regional demands to Ottawa  Provinces and territories can facilitate the decision making process by handling local problems that aren’t controversial at the provincial/territorial level but that would cause difficulty in Ottawa–harder to ignore than those that come from less authoritative sources – to find the most appropriate division of powers 2) AN ENVIRONMENTAL/GEORGRAPHICAL APPROACH  Physical features – regional economic differences – political, social, and cultural characteristics 3) REGIONS ARE FLUID SOCIAL CREATIONS  They may change over time  “Imagined communities” – regions are primarily a state of mind 4) DEPENDENCY THEORY  Emphasizes the relations between spatial entities, some dependent on others  Focuses on the relations between the political and economic powers of the center and the underdeveloped periphery GEOGRAPHY PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS  Canada is the second largest country in the world  Such distances/physical barriers have a crucial influence on the Canadian political system  The vast territory is divided into five main regions by natural barriers running in a north- south direction TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS  Railways = 19 & 20 century – they formed a crucial part of the Confederation Settlement of the 1860s and 1870s  John A. Macdonald completed the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1885  The CPR was allowed to charge high rates because of the lack of competition  Establishment of CN as a Crown corporation = a benefit to bankrupt capitalist interests  VIA Rail was crated in 1977-78  The Chretien government privatized Canadian National by selling shares to the public th  20 century obsessed with automobiles  1949 federal government signed the Trans-Canada Highway agreement with provinces where Ottawa paid half the cost of bringing a trans continued highway up to standard  Thinking in the late 1980s was that the country was now well served by a variety of private carriers and that the government airline no longer served a public policy purpose  Oil and natural gas pipelines = a newer means of transportation  The construction of the main natural gas line to Eastern Canada, the Trans-Canada Pipeline = most common controversial issue on Canada’s political agenda in mid-1950s  “Roads to Resources” – The Alaska Highway–Yukon = crucial part of their development  Telegraph, telephone, radio, and T.V usually first developed in the private sector – soon led to government regulation, now primarily the responsibility of the Canadian Radio- television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)  The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) was created in 1932 in response to pressure for more Canadian content  Demands to overcome distances & divisions = dominant features of Canadian politics  Governments have primarily responded with assistance to private corporations, the establishment of Crown corporations, and the creation of regulatory agencies  To create and hold together a nation, Canadians built east-west institutions that ran counter to the natural north-south  Symbolically, both CP Rail and the newly privatized CN Rail sold off track in Canada – CN now calls itself “North American Railroad” POPULATION DISTRIBUTION  People aren’t spread uniformly throughout this gigantic territory – the overall density of the Canadian population is one of the lowest in the world  Core-periphery analysis can be usefully applied to political science  The Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal triangle = the core & economic heartland of Canada  Westerners advocate a reformed Senate based on equal representation for each province that would give them more clout in Ottawa, while Quebec is extremely sensitive to its declining proportion of the total Canadian population  In the 1990s, Quebec came closer than ever before to separating from the rest of Canada - Their separation would raise the question of continuing transportation links between Atlantic Canada and Ontario ECONOMY  Regional economic differences begin with primary industries – the natural resources and energy base of the various provinces and territories  Staples theory is identified with the famous economic historian Harold Innis – postulates that Canadian economic development has relied on a succession of resource exports (staples) rather than manufacturing – notion of dependence  Secondary industry = manufacturing, construction, electricity  Economists put transportation and communications, trade, finance, insurance and real estate, private services, and public administration into the tertiary or services category THE ATLANTIC REGION  The three Maritime provinces have a substantial agriculture base – distinctive and heavy reliance on fishing  In the 1990s, the Atlantic fishery fell into deeper trouble because of a dramatic reduction in ground fish stocks, especially cod  The Atlantic region is considerably below the national average in terms of per capita income or fiscal capacity QUEBEC  More diversified  Primary industry = farming in St. Lawrence Lowlands, along with mining and forestry in the Canadian shield – the shield is also traversed by powerful rivers, making hydroelectricity Quebec’s most valuable resource  Electricity is the basis of Quebec’s aluminum industry  Quebec now manufactures chemicals, aeronautics, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and transportation equipment  Quebec remains below the national average in per capita income ONTARIO  The most diversified economy of any region and until 2008 was always among the richest provinces  It has an abundance of natural resources – agricultural land in the Great Lakes Lowlands  Ontario’s early development of hydroelectricity and of a steel industry gave it a head start over other regions  It now produces over half of the Canadian total  The end of 2008 forced Ontario into unprecedented have-not status THE PRAIRIE REGION  Historically associated with agriculture, especially wheat, other grain, and livestock  Their high value is a result of Alberta’s oil and natural gas production – richest part of the country  Alberta possesses large amounts of coal  Manitoba has nickel, copper, and zinc – and forestry  Heavy dependence on primary industry like the Atlantic region  Prairies are now less dependent on Ontario than they used to be – since the 1960s BRITISH COLUMBIA  Mountains = leading forestry province – also a source of rivers for electricity  Also specializes in mining, natural gas, copper, and coal  Being coastal = fishing industry  Asian immigration has expanded the services sector, especially finance  Depend on resource exports THE NORTH  Divided into three territories – Yukon, N.W.T, Nunavut  Limited agriculture and forestry – short growing season/lack of soil  The prospects of natural gas are more promising  Poor transportation and economic development  Positive signs = creation of Nunavut and the discovery of diamonds  Depend heavily on the federal government for financial support REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEMANDS  Demands arising from the primary sector are the first ones addressed in respect to provincial government  The creation of the Canadian Wheat Board helps Prairie farmers export more grain – they pay higher federal taxes and buy more goods produced in other provinces – made the whole country more prosperous  As a result of economic differences, the national government regularly faces demands to assist a single industry or the economy of a single province or region – doesn’t necessarily result in conflict, but it may benefit them all HISTORIC REGIONAL CONFLICTS – FOUR POLICY AREAS  More pervasive  Between the Prairie and Ontario regions  Economic complaints have involved the ownership, taxation, and regulation of natural resources; tariffs; transportation; and banking  Western feeling about its situation was captured in a famous cartoon in the Grain Growers’ Guide in 1915 – “The Milch Cow” OWNERSHIP OF NATURAL RESOURCES  The problem of natural resource ownership began in 1870 with the creation of the province of Manitoba – Ottawa decided to retain control  A. Macdonald and Wilfred Laurier – federal government should control resources in the national interest  Prairies were finally successful in gaining control of their natural resources in 1930 TARIFFS  The west also complained for generations that Canadian tariff policy was designed in the interest of central Canada at the expense of the Prairies  This was because as early as the 1879 national Policy, Macdonald saw the tariff as a means of promoting and protecting the industrial heartland of Ontario  The West demanded lower tariffs at every opportunity, especially in the 1920s, when it sent its own farmer representatives to the House of Commons to fight on this front  Thus, the controversial Free Trade Agreement between the two countries, which took effect in 1989, can be seen in part as a response to 110 years of Western discontent with the tariff aspect of the National Policy TRANSPORTATION  Especially railways – in choosing to live so far from the central core of the country, Westerners expected to pay additional transportation costs, although many demanded that railway freight rates be subsidized by Ottawa  Freight rate structure, including higher rates for finished goods than for raw materials, and discrimination against short hauls BANKING  The West also protested against national banking policy  Canada deliberately developed a centralized branch banking system – an attempt to construct a stable banking community that would avoid frequent local collapses  The operation of the banking system was another reason for the farmers revolt of the 1920s, & the displeasure was due to the rise of the Social Credit Party in Alberta 1930s THE ATLANTIC PROVINCES  Post-confederation tariff policy caused more harm than good to Maritime Provinces  Economics quickly declined  The Atlantic provinces shared the West’s concerns about federal freight rates RECENT REGIONAL CONFLICTS TAXATION AND REGULATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES  In the 1970s the original conflict over natural resources re-emerged, especially with respect to petroleum pricing  National energy policy in the 1950s and 1960s gave preference to the West because Alberta was guaranteed a market for its oil and natural gas as far east as Ontario  Federal policy favored central Canada  The height of the regional economic conflict occurred in 1980 with the Trudeau government’s National Energy Program (NEP), which imposed new federal taxes  Compromise between central and western interests was reached in 1981  Atlantic provinces also opposed federal resource policy in the 1980s, prompting them to fight for provincial ownership of offshore petroleum OTHER REGIONAL ECONOMIC CONFLICTS  Atlantic and Western regions is that the federal government does most of its purchasing or procuring in central Canada  Atlantic provinces complained of protection for Atlantic fish stocks from foreign overfishing  The Kyoto Accord was favored by Quebec, but condemned by the Alberta government  The others generally endorse a “cap and trade” system, while Alberta and Saskatchewan have put their faith in “carbon capture and storage”  Smaller scale regional economic disputes  CF-18 maintenance contract – reinforced Western alienation  When a single case of mad cow disease was discovered, the U.S and Japan cut off all imports of Canadian beef  The most serious of these was the fight between Quebec and Newfoundland over the Churchill Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador, Ontario insisted that its residents be allowed to work in the construction industry in Quebec  Prairie regions concerns was whether or not the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) should retain its monopoly power to market western wheat and barley  The harper government sided with those farmers who want the right to market their own grain, but the majority of grain farmers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan favor the retention of the CWB monopoly power REGIONAL ECONOMIC DISPARITIES  Canada’s primary resources aren’t evenly distributed and the regions have different sizes of territory and population and are at variable distances from key export markets  Three traditional categories of provinces – 1) 3 rich ones (Ontario, Alberta, and B.C) 2) The poor (Atlantic provinces) – 3) 3 intermediate (Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan)  Quebec has a larger economy than any province other than Ontario  Successive governments have focused on two principal means to deal with the specific question of regional economic disparities – to give federal funding to have-not provincial and territorial governments, and to engage in regional economic development programs  1957 – Ottawa responded to repeated provincial demands to make equalization payments, designed to allow them to raise their services to an acceptable national level but can be spent for any purpose – they’re unconditional grants with no strings attached  Quebec does well by federal payments to which people in all provinces contribute through their federal taxes  The three northern territories are far from being economically self-sufficient, and depend on financial resources from the federal government  The principal federal transfer is the Territorial Formula Financing (TFF), an annual unconditional transfer exceeding $2 billion  Nunavut contend that if it could retain natural resources revenues, it wouldn’t need such large annual transfers from Ottawa  P.M Paul Martin signed a deal with the two provinces in 2005, which under their equalization payments wouldn’t be reduced over the following eight years  The new formula included one-half of a province
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