Study Questions: Chapter 4
1. How has Canada’s party system appeared to be more regionally based as opposed to nationally based?
The parties in Parliament all seem to have regional strengths, the Liberals in Ontario, the Bloc Québécois in Quebec, the Reform and the Conservatives in the West. Since 1993, the party system appears to have become even more regionally based. The NDP has replaced the BQ in Quebec, remaining Liberal support is still mainly in Ontario, and the Conservatives are still strong in the West. (p. 106)
2. What explains the persistence of regionalism?
Three factors explain the persistence of regionalism. First, traditional thinking has underestimated the degree to which regional states and elites may invest in regionalism, and nationalism, for their own interests or for what they perceive to be the interests of the region. Secondly, national political, cultural, and economic institutions have failed to produce levels of national integration and identity that would overcome regional ways of thinking that encourage regionalism. Thirdly, while differences among regions decline, they do persist to some degree. The most notable examples have to do with the presence of the francophone majority in Quebec and the Inuit majority in Nunavut. The demographic differences between these regions and the other parts of Canada are dramatic. (pp. 108–112)
3. Historically, how have the federal government’s major economic policies been slanted towards the interest of Central Canada?
Brooks and Menard provide three examples of egregious discrimination against the regions of Canada, particularly the West. One is tariff policy, where manufactured imports had a high tariff placed on them. Unfortunately, the costs of the high tariffs were distributed unevenly across the country, with the West and Atlantic Canada bearing a disproportionate share of the costs. A second example was the terms of entry into Confederation, where some provinces, namely Alberta and Saskatchewan, did not receive the same law-making powers received by the other provinces. Specifically, they did not immediately receive control over natural resources. Thirdly, the 1981 National Energy Program is said to have been a third example of egregious discrimination. Albertans believed that the NEP would result in a huge transfer of wealth to Central Canada. (pp. 112–115)
4. How has Alberta viewed the federal government’s involvement in its oil industry (i.e., the National Energy Policy)?
Albertans have viewed the federal government’s involvement in the oil industry as essentially attempts to transfer wealth from Alberta to the rest of Canada, chiefly to the consumers and industries of Canada’s industrial heartland, perpetrated by a Liberal government that they saw as being hostile to western, and especially Alberta’s, interests. (pp. 113–115)
5. How is Quebec generally a more collectivist society than the rest of the provinces?
Quebecers tend to value equality more than personal liberty. According to Brooks and Ménard, Quebecers show support for “underdogs” and the vulnerable. This inclination may reasonably be interpreted as consistent with the characterization of Quebec as a more collectivist society. Furthermore, a large national survey by Ornstein and Stevenson on Canadians’ support for social programs, redistribution policies, foreign investment, labour unions, and large corporations revealed that Quebec was clearly to the left of the others. (pp. 115–119)
6. What are the major cross-border regions that include Canadian provinces and US states?
There are four cross-border regions: the West, the Prairie–Great Plains, the Great Lakes–Heartland, and the East. (pp. 119–121)
7. What was the Reform Party’s major slogan that represented regional resentment?
“The West wants in!” (p. 126)
8. According to Gibbins and Arrison, what are the core values that are more solidly anchored in the West of Canada than in the East?
They mention three core values: the individual equality of all Canadians, the equal status of all provinces, and a populist style of doing politics. In setting these values out, Brooks and Ménard make the important point that the difference between the West and other regions of Canada is a matter of degree since these same values can be found among Canadians throughout the country, including French-speaking Quebec. (pp. 121–122)
9. Why has the dissatisfaction of Maritimers not produced a major political vehicle for the expression of alienation and resentment?
One reason is that the populist values that are linked to Western alienation have been weak in the Maritimes. Among other things, the traditional parties have deep roots in the Maritimes, which were among the original members of the confederation agreement. A second reason is that economically and demographically the Maritimes have been in decline since the late nineteenth century. Political protest is linked to some degree to confidence in the economic future of the region. (pp. 125–126)
10. Why does Patrick Boyer state that referendums and other forms of populism have been used most extensively in the West?