Canada's regional nature is often considered a source of great
complexity. Regional diversity can enrich a nation and create
opportunities for economic and cultural growth. Unfortunately,
these differences may also contribute to conflict and inequity, and
ultimately create a country that is divided into "have" and
The conversations in Taking or Making Wealth? explore this
complicated issue from a cross-Canada perspective. The discussions
focus on government programs falling under the category of
"regional development," and the impact they have had on the economy
of particular provinces and the lives of the Canadians who live
there. While the specific programs vary from region to region -
extended unemployment insurance benefits for fishermen in
Newfoundland, for example, or agricultural subsidies in the
Prairies - the results of such initiatives have been strikingly
similar. Although these programs were introduced to stimulate
economic growth and increase the standard of living in Canada's
less prosperous regions, the effect has been just the opposite. In
many cases government intervention has actually crippled innovation
and hindered economic growth, encouraging dependency and provoking
regional disparities rather than alleviating them.
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