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An Economic Analysis of Canadian Regions During the 18th and 19th Centuries

Autor:   •  November 24, 2012  •  Case Study  •  2,886 Words (12 Pages)  •  1,084 Views

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In this paper I intend on analyzing the key economic regions of Canada, their main production bases, and their specific contribution to the Canadian economy during the 18th and 19th centuries.

After gathering information through careful research and personal analysis, I hope to develop a clearer understanding of the contributions or drawbacks each region provided. I believe that through my research you will find that the development of the Canadian economy was fueled by the exploitation of the land’s extensive and diverse natural resources. These resources including fisheries, the fur trade, timber, agriculture and mining sources came to be termed “staples” by the economic historians W.A Mackintosh and Harold Innis. Mackintosh’s view tended to be of an optimistic nature, believing that staple exports fueled growth in an economy. Innis, on the other hand, took a rather pessimistic approach regarding a staple-based economy as an obstacle to diversification. Innis felt this would eventually lead to a term he coined, the “staple Trap”. This phrase described a state in which the economy would fail to develop a “growth dynamic” by which it could be lifted to a more efficient stage of development. His staples approach was intended to explain why Canada’s economy was different and less mature than that of its southern neighbour New England, which, through geographical obstacles, was not able to export a staple of its own, and was forced to diversify its economy due to the lack of staple exports.

The era that this research paper is intended to cover is that of the 18th and 19th centuries. An attempt will be made to keep material in a chronological form, however it may be necessary to jump back and forth in order to accurately depict developments as an extension of past practices.

Canada did not become an official nation state until the passing of the British North America Act. This act stated that, “the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick shall form and be one Dominion under the name Canada.” Before this agreement was in place, Quebec and Ontario were considered as the province of Canada. The other provinces, as we know them today, joined the Dominion at later dates: Manitoba 1870, Rupert’s Land (present day Saskatchewan and Alberta) 1870, British Colombia 1871, and Prince Edward Island 1873. Newfoundland did not join Canada until 1949 which is past the time frame intended to be analyzed in this paper, however this province’s contributions to the Canadian economy will also be examined due to the high relevance they hold regarding Canadian economic development.

The regions of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario joined together under the British North America Act signed by Sir John A. MacDonald in 1867 to form the Dominion of Canada. Soon after (1879), a national policy was put in place which stipulated development of a transcontinental railway linking


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