Chapter 3: The Social and Economic Setting


CBC Archives

Maritime Unemployment
A characteristic of Canada's social and economic setting is the wide diversity of economic development in this vast country. In the recession of the early 1980s, unemployment hit the Maritimes hard. In this report we learn that the jobs that exist on Canada's east coast seem to be short-term government creations that last just long enough for workers to qualify for unemployment insurance. This episode of the program Inquiry, based in Halifax, probes the endless cycle of dead-end jobs and UI dependency in Atlantic Canada

Conditions on Reserves
Canada's Aboriginal peoples have found themselves at the bottom of Canada's economic and social order historically. One recurring issue is the problem of substance abuse, notably alcohol, in many Aboriginal communities. Plagued by neglected children, petty crime, and compromised health, some Aboriginal communities in 1979 pointed to booze as the source of their problems. As Eric Malling of CBC TV's The Fifth Estate reported, they're battling the bottle with total bans.

Prime Minister Harper on Canada's Economy in 2008
2008 marked the beginning of a devastating recession in developed economies. Just a week before a federal election in October of that year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told CBC journalist Peter Mansbridge that Canadians needn't panic. Harper goes as far as to say Canadians could actually make some gains by buying up cheap stocks. In this clip, presaging the long period of economic decline yet to come, an incredulous Mansbridge asks, "Do you really want to be heard saying that? Are you suggesting people should be buying?."

Audrey McLaughlin: First Woman to Lead a Political Party
Women in Canada have faced historic social and economic discrimination. But a milestone was achieved in 1989 when Audrey McLaughlin, an MP from the Yukon, earned a place in the history books as the first woman to helm a national political party. This clip from The National reviews the historic December night in Winnipeg and takes an inside look at the backroom dealing behind McLaughlin's rise to power.

Mulroney Versus Turner in Free Trade Election Debate
In chapter 17 we will look more closely at Canada's economic status. But in this clip we see a pivotal exchange between Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and opposition leader John Turner in a debate during the 1988 federal election. Mulroney is for a free trade agreement with the United States, Turner against it. Mulroney won the election and embarked on a pro-free-trade policy that defines our trade relations with other nations to this day.


TVO's The Agenda

Politics Around Poverty
Why are people still impoverished in today's Canada? As part of TVO's "Why Poverty?" coverage, The Agenda examines what stands between poverty and its solution.