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Chapter 3

POLS 1400 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Central Canada, Context-Dependent Memory, Tc Pipelines

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 1400
Nanita Mohan

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Ch. 3 - Regionalism 2017-11-16 10:19 AM
- regions have always played a defining role in Canadian politics, historically different
regions have been favoured through railway construction and trade policies
- geography and economy are important dimensions of regionalism
Theoretical Considerations
- no clear consensus on exactly what regions Canada is made up of and how the concept
should be defined
- all approaches entail a significant discussion of economy
Define regionalism by provinces and territories:
- the political-legal-constitutional basis of provinces/territories is not synonymous with the
natural, physiographic, basis of regions (imperfect fit)
- provinces and territories have 2 primary effects as far as regional demands are concerned
1. Regional demands articulated from provinces/territories are hard to ignore
compared to demands from less authoritative sources
2. Provinces and territories may be able to facilitate the decision-making process
by handling local problems that are not controversial at the provincial/territorial
level that would cause great difficulty in Ottawa (decentralization)
Define regionalism by geographic approach:
- regions defined in terms of their similarity in terms of physical features and separate
regions by prominent topographical barriers (even simply general location, “west”, “north”)
- this approach is static, rigid concept that does not allow for change over time and under
values the human element
- implies geography leads to common political, social, and cultural characteristics
Define regionalism from fluid social creations:
- more abstract, “imagined” communities in which people feel they have much in common
with others
- regions are primarily state of mind (a psychological phenomenon)
Define regionalism by dependency theory:
- emphasizes the relations between different spatial entities, some dependent on others
- in Canada, this primarily related to the dominance of central Canada over the outlying
regions, often referred to in terms of the core and hinterland or periphery
- focuses on the relations between the political and economic power of the centre of the
underdeveloped periphery
Regionalism by Geography
Physiographic Regions
- by land mass Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world, because of the size different
regions generate different feelings on regionalism, alienation, and economic demands
- the distance across Canada is what lead to the creation of provinces and territories
- distance problem is immensely complicated by division of physical barriers
- Canada is usually divided into 7 physiographic regions, 5 with significant population
divided by natural barriers running north-south (simpler to travel north-south to
US rather than cross natural barrier)
rivers and lakes counterbalance the north-south forces
Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River have a central historical role
St. Lawrence Seaway enhances Canada’s international trade
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Transportation and Communications Systems
- apart from Great Lakes-St. Lawrence water route, transportation and communications
systems in Canada had to be constructed across natural barriers
- 19th & 20th centuries railways were the focus of Canadian politics on transportation
- railways were a crucial part of Confederation Settlement of the 1860s and 1870s
Maritimes agreed to enter Confederation only if they were linked to central
Canada by the Intercolonial Railway
British Columbia was persuaded to join in 1871 with the promise of a
transcontinental rail link within 10 years
- John A. Macdonald completed the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to completion in
1885, only 4 years behind schedule and was one of his lasting monuments
CPR was private company but received enormous gov’t assistance (cash, grants)
- other railways were eventually built, turning into the Canadian National (CN) system, a
crown corporation service to isolated parts of country, benefit to bankrupt capital interest
Chretien sold shares of CN to the public (making it privatized)
- CPR and CN wanted out of passenger rail, crown corp VIA Rail was created (77-78)
- automobiles replaced much of the importance of rail, thus the creation of the Trans-
Canada Highway (1949), Ottawa would pay half of the cost (completed in 1962)
- Confederate Bridge in 1997 linked PEI to mainland, an early example of public-private
- transportation to north has challenges, roads and railways veritually not existence until
Diefenbaker’s “Road to Resources”
- Demand rose for nationwide airline, creation of Trans-Canada Airlines (now Air Canada)
was created as a crown corp (1937), Mulroney then privatized Air Canada
- by 1990s the Canadian Transportation Agency retained some regulation powers but no
longer had significant participation in the transportation industry
Oil and Natural Gas:
- oil and natural gas pipelines, new means of transportation, have become significant in
politics over the past 50 years
- pipelines are privately owned, but requires gov’t approval
- Trans-Canada Pipelines to eastern Canada was most controversial agenda in 1950s
- recently Keystone XL pipeline, oil from northern Alberta to Texas, US vetoed pipeline
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- alternative was to find alternative markets for oil reserves, now on to pipeline over rockies
to shipping ports on BC (environmental concerns, hazards on waterways)
- Canadian postal service was always gov’t responsibility, while telegraph, telephone, radio,
and television have been developed in private sector
- Canadian Radio-television and Tele. Commission (CRTC) regulates communication
- CBC was created to provide Canadian content
- field of trans. And comm. Demands to overcome distances and divisions have been
dominant features of Canadian politics
- gov’ts have responded with the help of private corps, then establish crown corps and
creation of regulatory agencies
- since 80s Canada has privatized number of gov’t operations and deregulated
transportation industry
Population Distribution
- physical barriers and distance across Canada are reasons for the population distribution
- overall population density of Canada is one of the lowest in the world
- no settlement in 90% of country, 70% of population is within 150 km of US border
- population of provinces and territories effect the allocations of seats in House of Commons
- describe areas as “core”, “heartland”, or “metropolis” on one hand or “periphery” or
“hinderland” on the other hand
- the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal triangle constitutes the core of Canada (ON and QUE
combined contain 62% of Canada’s population)
- Central Canada is also the economic heartland, with corp headquarters
- also the communications and cultural core, CBC, CTV, Global, and Canadian computer ind.
- Ontario and West had grown in population more than Quebec and Atlantic provinces
- now more Canadians living west of Ontario than to the east of the province (historically it
was the opposite)
- demographic trends are related to the increasing economic strength of western Canada
- now Senate seats misrepresent the new trends in population distribution (too much in east
not enough in west)
Regionalism by Economy
- regional economic differences that serve to reinforce geographic distinctions and create
another pattern of demands on the Canadian political system
- primary industries (natural resources and energy base of various provinces and
territories) define regional economic differences
- importance of natural resources to the nat’l economy has been a central principle of the
Canadian political economy tradition for generations (termed the staples theory)
- economic development has relied on the succession of resource exports (staples), furs,
fish, timber, minerals, energy, rather than manufacturing
- staples theory also includes the notion of dependence, such as interregional exploitation
involves an under developed economy and subject to rise and fall of nat’l markets
- Canada continues to rely primarily on exports of nat. resources (now concentrated on solid
and liquid minerals)
- the secondary industry consists of manufacturing, construction, and utilities
- gov’t has been criticized for exploiting nat. resources instead of manufacturing
- decline in manu. In Canada is due to many causes, including globalization and high power
of Canadian dollar
Atlantic Region
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