GGR246 Reading Notes.docx

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Robert Lewis

GGR Reading Notes CH1. Regions of Canada Geography as a Discipline - Living, working, and sharing together in a common space inevitably leads to the formation of a regional identity and consciousness. Both are products of region’s physical geography, historical events, and economic situation. Regional Geography - Regional geography has evolved over time. Other expressions of regional belonging and consciousness are sense of place and power of place. Regionalism - Regionalism divides countries into different parts. Why has regionalism exerted- and continued to exert?  Each region experienced a different pattern of historic settlement and relationship with Aboriginal peoples, which together provide a distinct cultural base. In turn, the more recent immigration of people from around the world has created a pluralistic society that contains a significant visible minority.  Canada’s uneven population distribution and economic activities concentrate ‘power’ in Central Canada.  The federal government formulates policies and programs designed to promote the national interest, but the impact of Ottawa’s efforts flow mainly to the heavily populated areas, namely Central Canada. Canada’s Geographic Regions - Boundaries separating regions are best considered transition zones rather than finite limits. - Canada as composed of six geographic regions  Atlantic Canada  Quebec  Ontario  Western Canada  British Columbia  Territorial North - These regions:  are associated distinctive physical features, natural resources, and economic activities;  reflect the political structure of Canada  are linked to regional identity  reveal regional economic strengths and cultural presence - These key economic activities are:  Ontario: automobile manufacturing  Quebec: hydroelectric power  British Columbia: forest industry  Western Canada: agriculture  Atlantic Canada: fisheries  The Territorial North: megaprojects The Dynamic Nature of Regions - The growth of population in Western Canada and British Columbia is revealed of a change over time. - Events that changed Canada and its regions include:  The end of the baby boom has meant greater reliance on immigration to keep canada’s population increasing; with rapid growth in urban Canada fed by immigration, our cities have become much more pluralistic, reflected by federal support for multiuculturalism beginning in the 1970s. Faultlines within Canada - ‘faultlines’ – to the economic, social, and political cracks that divide regions and people in Canada and threaten to destabilize Canada’s integrity as a nation. - Four factors - First, population and economic power are shifting from Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and even Ontario to Western Canada and British Columbia. - Second, the pluralistic nature of Canadian society represents another significant factor. Plurlism is an expanding phenomenon because of the flood of non-Western immigrants into Canada. - Aboriginal peoples form the third factor. Canada’s First Peoples have struggled to find a place within a Canadian society in which they have been marginalized. - The last factor is the place of Quebec within Canada. With its distinct culture and French language, Quebec, as a people and as a government, views its place within Canada and North America through a different lens from the used in other regions of Canada. -Centralist/Decentralist Faultline - Ontario and Quebec have long been the manufacturing centre of Canada. These demographic, economic, and political advantages illustrate the dominant position of these provinces in the nation’s affairs and support the notion of a core region. -English-Speaking/French-speaking Canadians - Quebec, with its culture and French language, forms a distinct region within Canada. Tensions between English-speaking Canada and Quebec have often erupted over language issues. Within Quebec, an internal faultline exists between separatists and federalists. -Aboriginal Peoples and the Non-Aboriginal Majority - Some First nations have obtained self-government in the form of an ethnic government with powers at least at the municipal level but not at the provincial level. – ‘nested federalism’ -Newcomers and Old-timers - Canada is a land of immigrants. Early French and English settlers had a very difficult time adjusting to the New World. - Yet, for most immigrants in more recent years who have come from non-European countries, may face both open and subtle forms of racial discrimination. - The concentration of new immigrants in Canada’s major cities has both advantages and disadvantages. Newcomers have more cultural anchors to support them, such as family and friends who speak their native tongue, restaurants that serve traditional foods, and religious institutions that provide both spiritual and community support. A disadvantage may be a snese of isolation from other Canadians. Power of Place - Staples thesis – it represents a mix of natural and economic components, emphasizing at the regional level natural wealth, geographic situation, and access to global markets. - Hinterlands with resource-oriented economies were at a disadvantage compared to highly industrialized core areas. - Hinterlands with narrow resource-based economies are subject to rapid increases in economic activity in good times (booms) and rapid decreases in bad times (busts). Boom-and-bust cycles are most evident in the Territorial North, where the economy depends most heavily on natural resources. - Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, world prices have favoured manufactured goods over resources, that is, prices for manufactured goods have risen more than prices for resources. This price relationship underlies the nature of the core/periphery theory, namely that manufacturing areas gain more wealth over time than do resources-based regions. - But the world economy may have reached a tipping point and entered what is called the super cycle. Sense of Place - Sense of place has deep roots in cultural and regional geography. - It reflects a deeply felt attachment to a region or area by local residents who have, over time, bonded to their environment and resulting institutions. - The concept of a sense of place, then, recognizes that people living in a region have undergone a collective experience that leads to shared aspirations, concerns, goals and values. Over time, such experiences develop into a social cohesiveness among those people living within a spatial unit. - A sense of place can also evolve from a region’s history and geography. - A region, then, is a synthesis of physical and human characteristics that, combined with its distinctiveness from surrounding regions, produces a unique character, including a sense of place and power. The Core/Periphery Model - A modified version of the core/periphery model provides a conceptual basis for understanding the origins and economic structures of Canadian regions as well as interactions between regions and Ottawa. -Applying the Core/Periphery Model to Canada  Core region (Ontario and Quebec) – the focus of economic, political, social activity. Most people live in the core, which is highly urbanized and industrialized. The core has a high capacity for innovation and economic change.  Periphery region: upward transitional region (BC and Western Canada) – region’s economy and population are growing as both capital and labour flow into this rapidly developing area. Initial development occurred in the primary sector, now a greater emphasis on manufacturing and service activities.  Periphery region: downward transitional region (Atlantic Canada) – economy is declining, unemployment is rising, and out-migration is occurring. An ‘Old’ region dependent on resource development for its economic growth. Now these resources have passed their prime or have been exhausted.  Periphery region: resource frontier (the Territorial North) – Located far from the core region, few people live in this frontier and little development has taken place. Resource companies are just beginning to penetrate into this remote area. Canada-US Trade Relations - First, wit
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