I wrote a column a few weeks back lamenting the fact the Globe & Mail didn’t put regional development on its list of “discussions we need to have” as a country. Now the Globe is back with “the next discussion Canada needs to have” in the form of a poll and these are the options:
- The future of First Nations
- Climate and environment
- Urban transit
- Changing the electoral system
- Ending poverty
- The future of higher education
- Caring for seniors
- ‘Right-sizing’ government
- The future of jobs
- Foreign aid
It would seem to me that a ‘discussion’ Canada needs to have should be one that has national implications. It should be a discussion that resonates nationally.
I realize I’m a bit of a one trick pony here but it would seem to me that regional development should be a ‘national’ discussion. If you think about the frenzy that equalization and transfers is whipping up in the west. If you remember McGuinty’s ‘fairness’ campaign and the changing of transfers to ‘per capita’. If you think about the fact that Atlantic Canada has slipped into population declined for the first time since Confederation.
Regional development is a fundamentally national issue. No matter where you stand on the debate, having one rather large region of the country slipping further and further behind should be a matter worthy of discussion at least to the level of ‘foreign aid’ or ‘urban transit’.