Canadian Living Best Described as Urban or Rural – Lets Govern that Way and Return to the City – State

Posted on 04/26/12 in Politics, No Comments

Human urbanization has been on a steadily increasing path since industrialization.  Jobs and people are drawn together, sometimes into enormous centers.  Rural populations are defined very differently, containing  vast geography, resources and space.  Living in an urban space or a rural space is the primary descriptor of human lives today.  Each of these types of lives requires specialist focus and skill to be governed effectively.  While many aspects of life are common to urban and rural areas, the challenges and opportunities are very different, and it’s time for  our system of governmentto be structured in a way  that  best reflects the specialist policies Canadians  require to thrive in the century ahead.

Years ago French and English settlers moved across our vast geography in pursuit of opportunity and resources and settled our great nation.  Ultimately the British divided it up according to some lines of latitude, lines of longitude, geography, and practical compromise.  The lives of Canadians have changed dramatically since then, and in the quest to make our country as fantastic a place as possible, lets modernize how we govern ourselves to reflect our lives today, not lives as they were 150 years ago.

The major metropolitan areas of Canada are limited by space so designing cities to effectively use space and provide great life opportunities is the goal in these centers of excellence.  The arts, learning, health care, professional sports, banking, finance, start ups and many other aspects of urban life benefit from the collaboration and interaction of people.  Ours governments must provide opportunities for efficient use of limited land by creating the opportunities to use centers of excellence and economies of scale, like mass public transit.  These areas are best characterized by the fast paced and quick changing nature of the high tech lives we live.

Rural governments face a different challenge.  These governments must be responsible stewards for vast tracks of land and a decentralized population.  Stable and long term planning of how to use and protect the land, sustainably harvest resources, connect human services in challenging geographies, and capitalize on market the opportunities must dominate public thinking.

What we have currently in our current a Federal – Provincial – Municipal system places an unrealistic burden on our provinces who must multitask to satisfy their governmental responsibilities..   . Even within my lifetime  products capable of performing multiple tasks , once considered abenefit, have   now becomeobsolete. Picture a hybrid bicycle. It can get you from A to B, and will work in most conditions.   The thing is, nobody who wants a quality biking experience would buy a hybrid any more.  Instead there are road bikes, cross country mountain bikes, downhill mountain bikes, touring bikes, collapsible bikes, commuters, and fixies.  Whatever bicycle experience you want, it’s best to get a bike built specifically for it rather than to compromise.

Our provinces are a compromise. They focus on neither rural nor urban, but instead attempt to  do both. In rural areas with common traits, separated only by lines drawn on a map, multiple provinces must provide the same service to both sides of the map when a single policy would be better and at lower cost.  The best case in point is the oil and gas industries of North Eastern British Columbia and Saskatchewan… I mean hello, Alberta is right there with an economy designed around oil and gas.  What benefit is there to anyone to have similar structures set up by both the BC and Sask governments to do the same thing?  Lets face it, Victoria is hardly an oil and gas hub…

In urban areas, the provinces act as a middle man to the feds while adding little of value but again at an increased cost.  One must look no further than the ongoing Toronto Subway (mass transit) issues.  While there is certainly plenty of blame to go around, there is little Ontario is adding to the mix by offering money with their own strings, review processes, and ideas.  It’s hard enough for one government to execute on their plans, let alone have to work with a 2nd government and its own election/review cycles.

Lets return to a city state system where regions defined by common environments, economies, interests (rather than provinces with borders set in the 19th century) make the policy decisions most effective to meet their own specific challenges, where what truly defines how we live also defines how we are governed.  For details on why the maps looks the way it does, on to the next article.

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