Regionalism in Canada

Regionalism means that people use regional systems instead of central systems for administration. Regional systems also get utilized for political, economic and cultural affiliation. It illustrates situations in which different ethnic or religious groups live together within the same boundaries. These are normally people who share similar strong feelings of collective identity. People who prefer these kinds of systems usually form groups which aim at gaining independence from the national state and the development of their own political power (Brym, 1986). The term normally gets applied to bring out the differences between parts of the cities.

The term Canadian regionalism is commonly used to describe the regional differences within Canada. Regionalism cannot be avoided in Canada due to its peculiar society, politics and economy. It became brought about by the vast territory in Canada which caused various people to scatter all over the place. This happened over 100 years ago. The nature of the settlement in Canada and the structure of its economy, which is exceedingly spatial, have both ensured the persistence of the regional systems (Clement, 1997). This has also been promoted by the technological developments coupled with the integrated Canadian economy. The presence of numerous national sentiments, that people from different regions share, has also increasingly promoted regionalism. Everyone had their own distinctive sentiment that in most cases did not agree with another person’s sentiments. People opted to live in groups according to their agreements.

Between 1920 and 2005 regionalism in Canada was most prevalent than in any other time. This can be accounted for by various factors that cropped up during this period. The Canadian settlements developed within confined spaces. This was because most patches of land in Canada during those times could support only a handful of people. Good land in Canada did not stretch for long miles. The patches of suitable land with agricultural possibilities were small while the numbers continued to multiply. This caused shortage of land for large communities and people had to divide the land into smaller bits (Colgan & Tomblin, 2004). This is because if one piece of land would fill up then some people would be forced to migrate and settle elsewhere.  This caused people to live in tiny groups. And this eventually contributed to regionalism because with time, these groups of people developed the same ideologies. 

The spatial structure within the Canadian economy also worked to make the Canadian regionalism stronger. In the 19th century, industrial technology in Canada, which had the capacity to provide for large areas, was usually widespread on the small patches of settlement (Clement, 1997). This meant that their primary and single market consisted of people who lived in these small areas. People from these industrial regions felt that those innovations were theirs, and they had the right to keep them to themselves. This encouraged more and more people to stay in these regions promoting the further expansion of regionalism in Canada. This worked only to encourage regional specialization. This favored to increase the tension between different regions, and people became divided even further. This is because people from different regions with different ideologies and cultures became more apprehensive of each other during these years.

The varied physical geography of the vast land also led to the prevalence of regionalism in Canada. Canada is formed from mountainous regions, plains and oceans (Clement, 1997). The geographical structure of Canada is immensely peculiar as some areas are extremely rocky. People wanted to occupy the best parts of Canada. This meant that once a community had settled somewhere, they would not welcome other people so as to maintain the nature of the appealing land that they had settled on.

The multitude of languages spoken in Canada also led to a rise in regionalism during this period. English and French got widely spoken, and there was also the growing presence of the natives. This led to cultural diversity because people from different cultures had diverse philosophies about life. They preferred to live in their own regions because it encouraged them to maintain their customs, traditions, languages and identities (Brym, 1986). This made them immensely community oriented people who were only interested in the areas that they lived in. This kind of lifestyle was considered to provide a superb quality of life and to grant balance to life. This is because people in the regions had someone else to verify their opinions.

The distances between various regions also led Canada to drift further apart.  The great distances among the regions in Canada meant even more social, economical and political diversity. Due to regionalism, people lived far apart and had totally different ideas. These were difficult to submerge because they rarely crossed paths. These distances also meant that people of one culture could live for extremely long periods alone without encountering people from other areas. This made regionalism more difficult to tackle, and as the years went by it continued to prevail in Canada.

Canadian regionalism has become resolved over the years. However, it is still vigorously promoted by the provincial politics that get expressed in the federal provincial debate. It also gets expressed in the villages, cities, landscapes of the farms and all over Canada. Various accents prove that the Canadians still have vivid memories of the past. Canada has worked tremendously hard to evict regionalism, but it is still most sensitively expressed throughout the Canadian painting and literature which lives on.