UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

In defense of territory : province-building under W.A.C. Bennett Tomblin, Stephen G.


The thesis is primarily an attempt to provide a better understanding on how territorial conflicts influenced infrastructural development in British Columbia between the years 1952 and 1972. Primary emphasis is placed upon exploring the territorial component of province-building in British Columbia. The major theme which emerges is that the spatial pattern of economic development witnessed in the province during these years was not merely the product of societal pressure, but instead, reflected the dreams, and ambitions of the W.A.C. Bennett government. Bennett's efforts to build a better integrated provincial society played a major role in strengthening the provincial government's control over the provincial territory. Six case studies on infrastructural development are investigated: railway transportation, oil and gas development, hydro development, ferry transportation, port development, and highway transportation. The thesis analyzes infrastructural development because it is assumed that the state-centred paradigm is much more useful for explaining provincial expansionism within this policy context. The thesis has four sections. The first section provides a review of province-building, and assesses how territorial conflicts influence state infrastructure development. The second section includes a review of the political setting. The third section presents the case studies. The final section provides a summary of the findings and concludes that the Bennett government's desire to exploit infrastructure for the purpose of building a more integrated and united territory had a major impact upon the spatial pattern of economic development in British Columbia.

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