In 2006, award-winning author Donald Savoie wrote a seminal book on economic development in the Maritimes: Visiting Grandchildren. A decade later, he marks his return to that subject with Looking for Bootstraps. Concerned about the region’s future, he sought to explore and explain the reasons behind its lack of economic development. The result will spark a much-needed debate about the future of the Maritime provinces. Savoie brings a fresh perspective to an age-old problem and ask the tough questions: Why has the Maritime region not developed as well as other Canadian regions, and what can we do about it?
I found Looking for Bootstraps to be very interesting reading; in fact, more interesting than I thought it might be since I know little about economics to begin with. But I’m always willing to learn, and Mr. Savoie is an excellent teacher. Combining the history of the Maritime region (which I am fascinated with) with economic development (or the lack thereof), I now have a better grasp of the problems this region that I call home now is faced with. Coming from Ontario, I now understand too, the wariness amongst Maritimers of anything that smacks of “Upper Canada”. The maritime provinces were seen as “junior partners” in Canada’s Confederation of 1867 and Sir John A was no friend to Eastern Canada, refusing at one time to meet with provincial politicians to discuss “better terms.”
“The Canadian federation has a fundamental flaw that has never been fixed and that has long favoured the more populous provinces, while it has been deeply detrimental to the Maritime region.”
I would highly recommend Looking for Bootstraps to anyone interested in the Maritime provinces, whether or not economics is a subject of interest, for all of us living here (or wishing to continue to live here) are affected by what regional politicians, governments and institutions resolve to do to “fix” the lack of economic development in the Maritimes.