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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Causes of agitation for one Prairie province Brangwin, Christopher James


The specific objective of this thesis is to examine the causes of agitation for the establishment of one province to encompass the three existing provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, or the Prairie region. Regional studies are hampered by the somewhat elusive meaning of 'region’. It is argued here, however, that the Prairies constitute a distinctive region of Canada, and such argument can be defended by looking into the historical, cultural and economic need for Prairie people to adopt a collective philosophy towards their lives concerning common goals, and, more recently, an antagonism towards Eastern Canadian economic domination over the Prairie provinces. Such a view of the three Prairie provinces has many times stimulated the question - Why don't they join together and create one Prairie province? The Conference to discuss this question was most recently held at Lethbridge, Alberta, and from the proceedings of this conference comes the stimulus and interest in this topic. A further objective is to identify the interesting growth of co-operative organisations which transcend political boundaries within the Prairies. It is suggested that these are in direct response to the fact that the region needs a co-operative approach to many of the problems that are faced by the whole region. This is indeed a cause for agitation in that integration is increasing in the Prairies. Argument can be made that political unification is the ultimate step. It must be pointed out that the writer has not taken a stand on the advisability of the idea, but merely to identify the bases of the agitation for it. The method of investigation in this work is to determine the extent to which the Prairie provinces could be considered to have an identity which points particularly to the Western alienation question. A measure of the following for the idea of Prairie union is given. This is examined with regard to the increasing number of organisations that concern themselves with a Prairie hinterland, as opposed to an area of influence contained by the political borders of one of the Prairie provinces. The conclusion is that the Prairies do have a definable identity which is predominantly a result of the feeling of Western alienation in the Prairies. The desire to control their own future stimulates the growth of Prairie organisations. The agitation for Prairie unity does not necessarily express itself in terms of a political union, but in terms of Prairie co-operation.

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