Economic Growth in Canada Surged Term Paper

  • Length: 15 pages
  • Subject: American History
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #81524337

Excerpt from Term Paper :

This developed later into selling feeder stock to U.S. where the costs of feed were less. In terms of agriculture, Canada does not have a suitable climate to grow corn, and during the 1890s there was the change in cultivation through the use of a new variety of wheat called 'red fyfe' that has a short growing season. This also provided better prices for the farmers and was suited to the short growing season and low rainfall in the Prairie Provinces. This was a factor that helped the economy to be strong till the Great depression started in the 1930s. (Watkins, the Economic History of Canada)

Looking at the political situation in Canada at that time, the Prime Minister wanted to have a strong central government but his situation was complicated through the challenge from the provincial commitments through the British North America Act. This was used the most by Oliver Mowatt who was the premier of Ontario from 1872 to 1896, and he did not permit the central government to bring into line the provincial government in Ottawa. The arguments went finally from Canada to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, which was the Supreme Court still for Canada. That court supported the view of Mowatt. This stopped the federal government from trying to overrule provincial governments, and thus made sure that those governments held a crucial position in the running of Canada. Mowatt was supported in his campaign by Honor Mercier who was the premier of Quebec from 1887 to 1891. (Canada: Encyclopedia Article)

The result was that the rights of provinces became linked with the rights of the French Canadian nationals. The result was that the provincial government of Quebec became the defender of the policy for colonization of frontier areas of Quebec and Northern Ontario instead of them getting assimilated in the areas under New England. There was also a meeting of the provincial government premiers for the seven provinces and there was a demand by five of them for transferring the powers of government to the provinces. This dispute for power between the provinces and the federal government has existed for many years in Canada. The attempts of the federal government have always been nation building and loyalty to England and its king, even in later years. (Canada: Encyclopedia Article)

Now let us look at the history of Ottawa, and the different claimants for power there. Before the arrival of Europeans, the Algonquin Indians were occupying the area. Their main occupation was hunting and trapping, in both the seasons of summer and winter. In summer they also fished, hunted, gathered berries and roots, and carried out slash and burn agriculture. Their prime mode of transport in the area was with birch bark canoes and snow shoes. This came to the Europeans from them. The first detailed maps of the region including the Capital area were produced by Samuel de Champlain, in 1613. The entire country had depended on fur trade for more than two centuries and during this period; the area had taken two shapes - New France and then British North America. For all the trade, Ottawa River was an essential link, yet the area did not see Europeans till about 1800, and this may be compared to Montreal, which had been settled more than 150 years earlier. (History of Canada's Capital Region)

This was a result of an experiment from the area to send the timber of the valley to Britain. This was very well received as a blockage by Napoleon of European ports and Britain did not get any timber. The river was found to be capable of carrying timber rafts, and this increased timber exploitation in the area. The area developed even further when the city of Ottawa was chosen by Queen Victoria to be the capital city of United Provinces of Canada in 1857. (History of Canada's Capital Region) the choice was clearly not based on economic considerations, but a decision by the Queen based on how to keep the warring factions in her kingdom happy. The decisions of Queens are never to be expected to be beneficial for the interest of the colonies, but for the 'home' country. During this entire period of change of both the capital and the country, about 900,000 French Canadians left, from 1840 to 1930s. (French Canadian Emigration to the United States, 1840-1930)

Let us now look at the situation of French Canadians today, and it is said that they are about 3,300,000. As a group of citizens they are very homogenous and united in their action, as they do not have any religious or racial differences. The richest among them are also not very rich, and thus not in line with the others in the group. They feel that they are surrounded by a civilization that they are not happy with and this makes them united in front of others. The main base of these citizens is Quebec and 78% of them live there, though they are also spreading into other areas. Even in 1871, only 14% of them lived outside Quebec, which increased to 22% in 1931. Compared to others, their share of population was 79% in Quebec, 33.5% in New Brunswick, 14.7% in Prince Edward Island, 11% in Nova Scotia, 8.7% in Ontario around 5% in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta and 2.2% in British Columbia and other territories. Even in United States, most of the French Canadian-origin persons live in states close to Quebec and New Brunswick. (the Nationalist Movement in French Canada)

This migration is not remembered very well now and still is a very important change in the demography and economics of the country. This is reflected in the 1980 American census where 13.6 million Americans claim to have French ancestors. It should be clear that a large portion of these people had ancestors coming over from French Canada or Acadia. This population, if left in Canada would have left a population of another 4 to 5 million there who would have been very interested in their French ancestry. A similar case of leaving the country also took place in English Canada, it did not draw so much attention as the situation in that area was different and the French ancestry persons there were not so insistent on their ancestry. Around 1900 there would have been hardly any person of Canadian French origin in United States that did not have relatives in Canada. (French Canadian Emigration to the United States, 1840-1930)

In the meantime economic changes had been taking place in Canada through the Parliament, and in 1878 there was the introduction of the National Policy by the Conservative Party. This fixed up a set of tariffs to be charged on goods that were imported from other countries. This certainly gave an advantage to manufacturers from Canada. The list of activities by the group was slowly increased and slowly included other activities including expansion to the west, railroads, and immigration. This National Policy proved to be very popular and became a slogan. This led to a situation where all parts of the country hoped for dividends from the policy. The main cities on the railroad like Vancouver and Winnipeg kept looking for products to be sent on the rail. The provinces on the sea wanted new industry to be developed there as they had been in the forefront for building wooden ships which were on their way out, and steel and iron ships were replacing them. There was some industrialization in Nova Scotia but the greatest changes took place in South Montreal and Ontario. With the growth of industry there was also the shift of people from rural areas to urban areas. (Canada: Encyclopedia Article)

The development of these industries took place fast and the products were shipped in all directions on rail. This led to even a department store becoming a national retailer. One of the majors in Canada, Massey Harris Company of Toronto became the largest corporation in the country and the biggest manufacturer for farm implements in the British Empire. Montreal had earlier been the main center for economy and finance in the country, but now it developed into a hub for industry. The development of industry also led to the development of Canadians into wage earners from independent farmers. This strengthened the labor and labor rights movements in the country. Some skilled workers like printers, bakers and coopers had started their own movements even in 1830s, and even riots had broken out among workers in canal building projects in 1840s. The new movement was for fixing the workday and it was expected to be for nine hours. This movement from 1970s led to laws in Canada for labor unions in 1870. This led to a link up of all unions in Canada by 1880s. Some of the unions had very developed notions of what they wanted to achieve, and this led to Knights of…

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