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CHC2D7 Regional Disparity

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Alex Gurnham

on 19 September 2012

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Transcript of CHC2D7 Regional Disparity

Regionalism in Canada From the Pacific to the Atlantic What Does it Mean? Regionalism At a political level, regionalism refers to an ideology that focuses on the specific interests and aims of a region or group of regions, divided in a number of ways
Regions can be classified by traditional measures (political boundaries, geographic characteristics) or informal measures (cultural similarities, economic coherence)
Oftentimes, regionalism involves the members of certain regions positioning themselves to increase their region's influence and political power, even if that region is contained within a larger governmental system
This can be done by lobbying for greater fiscal and political autonomy, or even seeking total self-determinism through measures such as separatism or sovereignty
Naturally, those in support of regionalist policies prefer a loose, decentralized government What are some issues of regionalism you are aware of in Canada's history? Nations Within a Nation Canada's Regions As a country with such a large landmass, diverse geographic features and cultural populations, Canada has long been a country driven by regionalist policies
The varied regions of Canada have different needs, wants and interests in government; creating a balance between regions is a consistent challenge for our politicians Northern Central Atlantic Western Broadly speaking, we can divide Canada into four distinct and highly dissimilar regions: Central Canada Let's All Hate Toronto Atlantic Canada Fire No Guns, Shed No Tears In sharp contrast to our central provinces, the Atlantic region has historically been one of economic hardship
The collapse of the fishing industry in the 1980s took away a staple product from the Maritimes, leaving them with high unemployment rates and an economy reliant on seasonal industries
However, the discovery of oil off the shore of Newfoundland in 2008 led to a brief economic boom, providing the province with a $1.4 billion surplus Western Canada When the West Was Wild The geographic landscape, cultural differences and economic diversity of the Western provinces have led them to feel consistently separate from the rest of Canada
In the late 1980s a series of political parties emerged from the West in an effort to better represent their interests, beginning with Preston Manning's Reform Party
The West wants to be recognized for its bevy of natural resources, economic stability and unique culture, which it feels is not given enough attention due to the federal focus on Central Canada Northern Canada Winter is Coming The experience of those living in the north is vastly different than the remainder of Canada
The landscape does not allow for the construction of roads, which means the communities must be self-sufficient; nearly 2/3rds of households report partially relying on "country food"
Politically the northern provinces, Nunavut in particular, are much different than the rest of Canada, making important decisions by consensus as opposed to voting on issues
Climate change is a salient issue in the north; as the polar ice caps melt, fishing and hunting opportunities are affected, dramatically changing the way of life for northern citizens
Canada also has a vested economic interest in the north, with new shipping routes beginning to open up due to ice melting away from our Arctic territories
Canada wants to claim sovereignty over these areas, while other countries such as the United States are pushing for them to be classified as international waters How can we see the North as both separate from and connected to the remainder of the country? Conclusion Unity or Discord? The vast differences between Canada's regions suggests that our country is divided, with each region having different wants, needs and desires
However, it can be argued that what unites Canada as a nation is this diversity, that our country could not function without farmers in the West or fishers in the East
Canada is a unique country, with a government that must precariously balance the interests of a myriad of people in order to maintain order and satisfaction among its citizens
Ultimately it is the responsibility of the government to please the majority of its citizens, even if that means certain regions are more priviliged than others Central Canada informally refers to Quebec and Ontario; though these provinces are quite different, they share the responsibility of being Canada's flagship region economically
This region is also as politically vital, as Canada's system is based on representation by population
However, the recent economic downturn decimated Ontario's manufacturing industry, signalling a change of fortune for Central Canada Canada's provinces share wealth through a system called equalization payments
Until 2009, Ontario was the only province to have never received an equalization payment; as the economy shifts to more of a focus on our oil producing provinces, these payments are becoming an increasingly controversial issue The next year marked the first time in Newfoundland's history that it did not receive an equalization payment What do you think of the equalization payments system? Is it fair to all provinces? Many of the concerns of the West are echoed in Quebec - indeed, talk of separation from the rest of Canada has recently become more and more of a legitimate idea
Currently, there is less unrest in the Western provinces due to Stephen Harper's favorable Conservative policies; however, many Westerners believe it is only a matter of time until the government returns to its Central Canadian focus and again alienates the West
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