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 "have-not" provinces.
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.