In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

THE ECONOMY OF QUEBEC IPierre Harvey In Canada, the west and the east, more or less agricultural, are usually contrasted with the central provinces which are highly industrialized. Rightly so. A glance at a series of maps of manufacturing industries in Canada is sufficient to show that such industries are highly concentrated in Ontario and Quebec, and this is true of each of the seventeen industries listed in the Standard Industrial Classification (Dominion Bureau of Statistics).' A rapid, statistical analysis of occupations in the labour force of each province also reveals that Ontario and Quehec constitute a central nnit, with one-third of its workers in manufacturing and mining, whereas in the neighbouring provinces, Manitoba and New Brunswick, only one-fifth of the workers are concentrated in these industries. But this tripartite division of Canadian territory east of the Rockies remains, nevertheless, a superficial one.2 In actual fact, Ontario's economy differs extremely from that of Quebec; and Quebec itself is more than just one of the ten political subdivisions of Canada, it is also an economic region with marked characteristics. To state that Quebec constitutes an "economic region" makes it, of course, immediately imperative to define the category thus used, and may involve us, from the outset, in a theoretical debate whose terms have not until now been clearly defined. However , it is evident that if we understand "economic region" to mean an area within which economic activities are at once original and closely integrated around a core of some sort, the definition in no way fits the province of Quebec. On the contrary, as we shall have occasion to show later, the provincial area is in fact subdivided into about ten primary regions which are, in most cases, very loosely connected with one another . Moreover, the most important activities are often national or include several provinces in their geographical extension: the case of the pulp and paper industry is the most outstanding among many others of the same type. But an economic region may be defined as an area in 330 THE ECONOMY OF QUEBEC 331 which problems that are common to a broader geographical entity constantly assume special characteristics, and in which specific problems are present that do not occur elsewhere. It is especially in this sense thet we may say of the province of Quebec that it differs greatly from Ontario, in spite of the similarities already mentioned. Let us look, for instance, at the problem of the stability of national employment. No other economic question has received more altention in the last twenty years, both from specialists and from the man in the street. It is a known fact that when the average of unemployed in Canada is roughly 100 for every 1000 employed, there are 75 unemployed in Ontario to 125 in Quebec. On the other hand, since the end of post-war reconstruction the relative lIuctuation of unemployment from year to year seems constantly greater in Ontario than in Quebec. Therefore the general problem of employment does not have the same characteristics in the two central provinces and would often seem to caH for separate adjustments in economic policy in each.' Let us now consider the population of the two provinces concerned: one has an AnglO-Protestant culture, the other a French-Catholic culture. This is a phenomenon of great importance even for an economic analysis as free as possible from any emotional bias. This, for instance, is largely responsible for the manner in which the population of these two provinces grows: in Ontario it increases primarily by immigration, while in Quebec the increase is due to the birth-rate. This produces two different labour markets, requires different public investments, and creates diflerent consumers' markets.' The present disparity of the industrial structure of the two provinces can probably be explained, to a great extent, by this cultural divergence and its economic inlluences. We could discuss this subject at great length. However, this paper is not about central Canada but about Quebec only. We have wanted only to show, in a summary way, that there is nothing artificial about the confines of the region we have chosen to write about and that "Quebec...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 330-340
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.