Essay on Regionalism and Its Effect on the Canadian State

2248 Words Aug 8th, 2011 9 Pages
Since the beginning of Canadian history, regionalism has had a prominent effect on the country`s political system. The concept of regionalism can be defined as a political ideology grounded on a shared sense of place or attachment and is discussed in terms of Canadian society, culture, economy and politics.1 From the days of confederation, Canada has developed into regional cleavages and identities based on various geographical characteristics, traditional lifestyles and economic interests. Two of Canada`s greatest regionally distinct political cultures are known as Western alienation and Quebec nationalism.2 Historically, the lack of regional awareness and accommodation within Canada’s central government has given rise to a great deal …show more content…
Today, Ontario and Quebec have maintained their 24 member senatorial status. The four Western provinces have 6 members each. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick both have 10 seats. Prince Edward Island was given 4 out of the original 24 Maritime senators. Together, Newfoundland and Labrador have a total of 6 members. Finally, Nunavut, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories stand in the equation with 1 senator apiece. Along with the Senate`s original intentions, the principle of equality between the provinces is evidently lost. The Senate primarily fails because it was formerly created to balance out the representation by population which lies in the House of Commons however currently only seems to reinforce it. In fact, Canada’s central provinces, Ontario and Quebec, account for 60 percent of the seats in the House of Commons and almost half of the seats in the Senate at 46 percent.5 The inadequacy of regional representation is emphasized as the Canada West Foundation clearly states: “Canada is the only democratic federal system in the world in which the regions with the largest populations dominate both houses of the national legislature.“6 With an unelected Senate that no longer fulfills its role of equal regional representation and a House of Commons grounded on the representation of provinces proportional to their population, the legitimacy of Parliament has become a