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The Three Nations of Canada (2016 version)

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Kirkhill

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Joel Garreau wrote a book called "The Nine Nations of North America" which I really like and regularly refer to.  That, together with Hackett Fischer's "Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America" resonate with me and help to shape my perspective on things.

It occurs to me that there is another way of slicing and dicing Canada to try and come to terms with its reality.

Conventionally we talk of provinces and territories (13 of them) or regions (usually the Atlantic, Quebec and/or Ontario or Central Canada, the Prairies and/or BC or the West, and the North).  We talk of French and English and Natives and occasionally immigrants.  Historically we used to talk of Catholics and Protestants although now we focus on Muslims and Jews.

I suggest that Canada can be more clearly defined if it is considered as three entities which I will intentionally not name.

Entity 1 exists in the St Lawrence Lowlands.  It covers the ground from Windsor to Quebec and hugs the banks of the St Lawrence Seaway.  In some places it is only as wide as the river itself.  In Ontario you have left it by the time you reach Peterborough.  It includes the greater Toronto and Montreal communities and encompasses some 18.4 million Canadians, or something better than half the population of Canada.  Its total area is roughly 41,000 km2 and has a population density of 449 Canadians / km2.

Entity 1 is roughly the same size as,  and has a similar population to, the Netherlands.

It is well served by road, commuter rail and power grids.  Just like the Netherlands.  It feels very much like a high tech, high speed, low drag European society.  And its politics and needs reflect that.

Entity 1 has a workable European, centralized future focusing on faddish, but arguably justifiable to some, concepts like sustainability and green engineering.  I say faddish because the concept of efficiency is much older than the marketing spin of the fads, but the population density of the region does justify the collective application of technologies to achieve efficiencies.  Communitarianism is a viable alternative in the region.

Entity 2  is a very different place.

Entity 2 is broadly described by the triangle of Lethbridge, Edmonton and Winnipeg. It is the Prairies.  Not the Prairie Provinces but just the prairies.  It is encompassed by the Canadian Shield, the Rockies and the US. It is the arable part of the Prairie Provinces where settlers settled, farmers farm and ranchers ranch. It is also where Oil and Potash are mined.  It is land that is flat to rolling, that ranges from semi desert to parkland and that is supplied with the Saskatchewan River system but doesn't have much in the way of lakes. 5.8 million Canadians live in Entity 2 or 17% of the population.  The total land area is 1,780,651 520,000 km2.

Entity 2 is 43 12.5 times the size of Entity 1.  The prairies are 12.5 times the size of the St Lawrence Lowlands.  It is 12.5 times the size of the Netherlands.  And Entity 2 has 1/3 of the population of Entity 1.

Where Entity 1 has a population density of 449 Canadians / km2, Entity 2 has a population density of less than 1% 2.5% of that of Entity 1.  It has a population density of 3 11 (three eleven only) Canadians / km2.

It is most decidedly not the Netherlands.

It is often compared to Ukraine, if only because of the large Ukrainian population there.  But that still doesn't do it justice. 

Where Entity 2 covers an area of 1,780,651 520,000 km2  [and] Ukraine only covers an area of 603,628 km2.  Or roughly 1/3 of that of Entity 2.  And while Entity 2 is home to 5.8 million Canadians [while] Ukraine has a population of 45 million.

Ukraine has a population density of 76 / km2 as compared to Entity 2's density of 3 11 and 3 11 only.

Entity 2 is most assuredly not "European".  The solutions that work in Europe, that work in Entity 1 are not obviously transferable to Entity 2.  Centralization and power grids, commuter rail and other services that rely on population density to defray the costs, that are efficient at high population densities, become inefficient at very low population densities.

Entity 1 and 2, as different as they are, account for 80% of Canada's population and 20 6% of the land area.  Entity 1 only accounts for 0.45% of the total land area: one half of 1 per cent - one two hundredth.

The remainder of Canadians live in the other 80 94% of land claimed by Canada.  This other 80 94% is Entity 3.

Within Entity 3 there is a pocket of land out on the West Coast that extends inland along the banks of the Fraser River.  It is dominated by Vancouver. It is a bit larger than Luxembourg in Europe and is home to 2.5 million Canadians or another 7% of the population.  It has an area of 3500 km2, or less than 10% of that of Entity 1 and the Netherlands, and only 0.04% of Canada's land claim, and a population density of 704 km2.  It shares many characteristics with Entity 1, it too feels European in its sensibilities but it suffers from two major challenges.

The first challenge is that it is isolated.  It is set apart.  It is separated from all other Canadians by the Rockies.  And it is divorced from its "European" kin in Entity 1 by the Rockies, the Canadian Shield and by Entity 2.

The second one is a related one.  While it has the local population density to support European style infrastructure it struggles because it doesn't have the European, or even the Entity 1 mass, to supply the tax base to afford those services.

When we remove Vancouver and the Fraser Valley from Entity 3 and add it together with Entities 1 and 2 we still discover that we have only accounted for 20% of the land area and a bit less than 90% of the population.

Geographically Entity 3 is what defines Canada and yet it is home to only 3.5 million of Canada's 35 million people. 

It covers an area of  7,268,356 8,529,007 km2 of dry(ish) land and 891,163 km2 of fresh water.

The fresh water area alone is 30% larger than Ukraine.  It is equivalent to one half greater than the area of Entity 2.

175 205 fiefdoms the size of Entity 1, the size of the Netherlands, could be created from the land in Entity 3.

The land is characterized by pine trees and muskeg in the south, close to Entities 1 and 2, passing through the scrub of the Taiga to the barren lands of the Tundra as you go north through the archipelago of islands in the Arctic Ocean.

This land area, this 80 94% of Canada, includes the 70% of the land area that is completely devoid of roads.  Transport is by water and by air and by specialty bush vehicles.  There is no grid.  There is no rail.  If Entity 1 is European and Entity 2 is not European then Entity 3 is a foreign planet.

The realities of Entity 3 are worlds away from those of Entities 2 and 1.

The solutions that work for Entity 1, and can be stretched to work for Entity 2 (with a struggle) are just totally impractical for Entity 3.

Demographically Entity 3 is dominated by Canada's 1.4 million aboriginal citizens.  This becomes more obvious the further north you go and on the coasts.

The settlers cluster close to Entities 1 and 2 and the Fraser Valley.  The stretch along the shores of the Gulf of St Lawrence.

The rest of the territory is dominated by aboriginal culture.  By 1.4 million people of some 600 nations in 3100 communities.  In an area 175 205 times the size of the Netherlands.

Where the Netherlands are home to 16,847,000 people the equivalent area of land in Canada's north would see 8000 6800 people, living in 17 15 communities, each of  less than 500 people, typically separated from each other by 100 km, with no connecting roads, and representing 3 or 4 different nations, often with different languages.

High speed trains are not going to be the answer.  Nor are subways or light rail transit.  Nor is a power grid with centralized distribution.


These are the different realities the First Ministers were confronting when sat down in Vancouver the other day to discuss climate change and carbon taxes.

While Entity 1 can usefully look to Europe and consider effectively employing European solutions those solutions do not make sense in Entity 2 and 3.

In Entity 2 rugged 4x4s and highways make more sense than High Speed Trains, subways and LRTs.  Arguably there might be a case to be made for a greater reliance on off-the-grid or small scale power generation. Due to the lack of suitable rivers hydro is not an option.  Windpower is a partial, if inelegant solution but it needs back up.  Nuclear power may have some localized applications at points of high consumption - like Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Fort McMurray.  But fossil fuels are still the best solution when it comes to transporting concentrated packages of energy to locations separated by long distances but accessible by road.

Entity 3 requires something else.  If subways don't make sense pickup trucks are barely more sensible.  They are locally useful within the communities but they won't get you from one community to the next.  Entity 3 requires specialized transportation.  It requires cheap air transport - perhaps lighter than air is an option but in the meantime cheap conventional air is a necessity.  It needs boats that can take advantage of the rivers and lakes and salt water straits in the Arctic Archipelago  when the seasons permit and along the east and west coasts. It requires marginal terrain vehicles instead of buses and trucks.  In short: it requires the internal combustion engine powered by fossil fuels. 

Stationary power is another matter.  What ability there is to transport fossil fuels into Entity 3 should be focused on transportation needs.  Energy for homes, for heat, for light, for manufacturing - that type of energy may be able to be provided more cheaply by "green" technologies that by fossil fuels.  Just as alternative solutions might be appropriate to supply clean water and adequate sewage treatment.  In that sense "green" or "sustainable" technologies may provide workable, efficient solutions.

Canada and Canadians, including the native Canadians, need a variety of solutions.  Those solutions will only be found locally.  Not from an office in Ottawa, Toronto or even Calgary.

It is not about saving the planet. It is not about a fervour to do "the right thing".  It is about good, sensible exploitation of the multitude of solutions that are available to us.

And in the meantime we might be able to make a buck selling to folks outside of Canada that want what we have. We might be able to make our claim to the lands that we hold more secure by making our relations with the locals more attractive than the prospects offered by third parties.  And in the meantime we can let the trees and the land eat up the carbon dioxide that we release when we are burning fossil fuels.  In the Netherlands they have to buy carbon dioxide to pump into their green houses to grow orchids.  The don't have trees to do the job "naturally".

And I haven't even mentioned Entity 4. An area equivalent in size to Entity 3 that we also claim.  The salt water and high seas of our Territorial Seas and Economic Exclusion Zone.  An area that is set to grow in size with our UNCLOS claim to the arctic continental shelf.

Canada's reality is not that of the Netherlands.  It is not even that of the St Lawrence Lowlands.

Edit: Numbers revised after I fact checked the area of the prairies.  1.7 million km2 is the total area of the prairie provinces.  520,000 km2 is the area of actual prairies.  The numbers change (and some of the hyperbole).  But the conclusions remain the same.  Sorry for the confusion.


 

GAP

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Good article....it puts things into perspective.....
 

my72jeep

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Am I missing it or does his break down miss a lot of Canada?
 

Kirkhill

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Jeep, I think I can understand where you are coming from.

In the interests of simplicity I may have done a disservice to those 2 million or so non-aboriginal Canadians that I identified as being part of Entity 3 and then dismissed.

In response to a PM I said this:

Trimming the Maritimes, the Lac St Jean and Gatineaus, the Kawarthas and Muskokas, and the Okanagan and Shuswap ...[and setting them up as their own separate entity] might make some sense.

My problem with [that] is that the people in those areas self-identify with the Lowlands or the Prairies and regularly commerce with the Settlers of those areas. 

At the same time they are surrounded by native populations and they share with them, as they move away from the settled areas, the same challenges.  So while they are, demographically distinct from both the settlers of the lowlands and the prairies (and probably share a lot of characteristics with the prairie settlers), from the standpoint of technological challenges  I see them falling into one of the three distinct entities I was identifying, depending on their proximity and proclivities.

Now, if we were to look at the 2,000,000 or so non-aboriginals in Entity 3, those that are not in the St Lawrence lowlands, on the prairies or in the Fraser Valley we would find that the vast majority of them live in the Maritimes and on Newfoundland proper.  The total population of the area is actually 2,292,707 and the reside in an area of 241,276 km2.  That is comparable to the United Kingdom's area of 243,610.  But the UK is home to 63,705,000 which gives them a population density of 264 per km2 compared to a maritime density of 10 per km2.

So the Maritimes, including Newfoundland represents 6% of the Canadian population and just short of 3% of the Canadian land claim. 

From a technological stand point, although there are urban centres, population density and geography convinced me to look at them as having challenges more comparable to Entity 3 than Entity 1.  Although looking at these numbers now perhaps they have more in common with Entity 2, the prairies.

Does that make sense?
 

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While high speed rail certainly isn't an option for much of the country, what about low-speed mixed passenger and freight lines? There's certainly a point geographically where summer transport on the water is the only answer for anything too heavy for aviation: up to that point, though, would rail (especially in those areas where river transport isn't realistic) be worth considering?

Seems to have been neglected, much like the unsexy business of keeping bridges and highways in good shape.
 

a_majoor

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A more up to date take on "The Nine Nations of North America" is Robert Kaplan's book "An Empire Wilderness". Kaplan sees rings in a more granular perspective, but then again things like Exurbs and urbanization running up river valleys and watersheds wasn't an issue when "Nine Nations" was written.

One thing which I think should be taken into account is not the relative population density, but rather the population nodes and linkages. Edmonton and Calgary are densely urbanized in ways Ontarians would recognize, and the populations of those cities have voted for political parities, economic policies and social organizations distinctly at odds with the rural hinterland of Alberta. OTOH, there is no direct link from Edmonton to either Toronto or Vancouver, so while they share some characteristics, there are still areas of difference as well.

This does tie in with other ideas, for example these new conditions are creating situations which the current political, economic and social structures are ill equipped to handle, and which current political parities have no reasonable answers to. Your map is a compliment to Preston Manning's "The New Canada" or Ibbitson's "The Big Shift", but is still has areas lacking in detail, places where you can write "here be dragons...."
 

Brad Sallows

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>what about low-speed mixed passenger and freight lines?

Rail needs volume, which isn't going to exist for services to the hinterlands.

The underlying point is one which has been made repeatedly: Canada is too large for centralized one-size solutions.
 

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Chris Pook said:
Jeep, I think I can understand where you are coming from.

In the interests of simplicity I may have done a disservice to those 2 million or so non-aboriginal Canadians that I identified as being part of Entity 3 and then dismissed.

In response to a PM I said this:

Now, if we were to look at the 2,000,000 or so non-aboriginals in Entity 3, those that are not in the St Lawrence lowlands, on the prairies or in the Fraser Valley we would find that the vast majority of them live in the Maritimes and on Newfoundland proper.  The total population of the area is actually 2,292,707 and the reside in an area of 241,276 km2.  That is comparable to the United Kingdom's area of 243,610.  But the UK is home to 63,705,000 which gives them a population density of 264 per km2 compared to a maritime density of 10 per km2.

So the Maritimes, including Newfoundland represents 6% of the Canadian population and just short of 3% of the Canadian land claim. 

From a technological stand point, although there are urban centres, population density and geography convinced me to look at them as having challenges more comparable to Entity 3 than Entity 1.  Although looking at these numbers now perhaps they have more in common with Entity 2, the prairies.

Does that make sense?
You miss like the ont gov the resource rich, people poor area of northern ont.
 

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Chris Pook said:
Jeep, I think I can understand where you are coming from.

In the interests of simplicity I may have done a disservice to those 2 million or so non-aboriginal Canadians that I identified as being part of Entity 3 and then dismissed.

In response to a PM I said this:

Now, if we were to look at the 2,000,000 or so non-aboriginals in Entity 3, those that are not in the St Lawrence lowlands, on the prairies or in the Fraser Valley we would find that the vast majority of them live in the Maritimes and on Newfoundland proper.  The total population of the area is actually 2,292,707 and the reside in an area of 241,276 km2.  That is comparable to the United Kingdom's area of 243,610.  But the UK is home to 63,705,000 which gives them a population density of 264 per km2 compared to a maritime density of 10 per km2.

So the Maritimes, including Newfoundland represents 6% of the Canadian population and just short of 3% of the Canadian land claim. 

From a technological stand point, although there are urban centres, population density and geography convinced me to look at them as having challenges more comparable to Entity 3 than Entity 1.  Although looking at these numbers now perhaps they have more in common with Entity 2, the prairies.

Does that make sense?

Stop looking East-West and start looking North-South.  The Atlantic Provinces have far more in common with their New England brethren than they do with the rest of Canada.  Ditto BC with the US West Coast. 

I find this map to be the most fitting:

Ninenations.PNG


Any Canadian "nation" is but an extension of its Southern relative.  This excludes Quebec of course, which is its own distinct nation.
 

Kirkhill

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My Entity 3 actually encompasses exactly that region,  just as it includes the interior of BC and the northern parts of the prairie provinces, precisely for the reasons you stated.  The common thread that covers everything from the line Cochrane-Kenora to Alert is lots of resources, few people, predominantly native.

In Ontario the region south of that line, terminating somewhere around the Trent-Severn canal system, is a transitional zone that is like Entity 1 (the European style lowlands) in the south and Entity 3 in the north.

Having lived in that area for a chunk of my life I am reasonably aware of the differences between how the government treats Toronto and the lakeshore, Cottage Country and The North. 

The observation I would make is that the same government that relies on the votes of Toronto and the lakeshore to stay in power, and whose sister government is in power in Quebec and reliant on Montreal votes for power, is now in power in Ottawa.

It is said of the Brits that they make no distinction beyond the Channel. Well, for the current governments of Central Canada I don't think they can see past the treeline.  Their focus is on the next plane out of the country.
 

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Chris Pook said:
My Entity 3 actually encompasses exactly that region,  just as it includes the interior of BC and the northern parts of the prairie provinces, precisely for the reasons you stated.  The common thread that covers everything from the line Cochrane-Kenora to Alert is lots of resources, few people, predominantly native.

In Ontario the region south of that line, terminating somewhere around the Trent-Severn canal system, is a transitional zone that is like Entity 1 (the European style lowlands) in the south and Entity 3 in the north.

Having lived in that area for a chunk of my life I am reasonably aware of the differences between how the government treats Toronto and the lakeshore, Cottage Country and The North. 

The observation I would make is that the same government that relies on the votes of Toronto and the lakeshore to stay in power, and whose sister government is in power in Quebec and reliant on Montreal votes for power, is now in power in Ottawa.

It is said of the Brits that they make no distinction beyond the Channel. Well, for the current governments of Central Canada I don't think they can see past the treeline.  Their focus is on the next plane out of the country.

Aye and I'd wager that if Quebec were to ever separate, Canada as a state would cease to exist.  The first to go would be the Maritimes who would quickly look South towards New England.  The rest of the country would fall like Dominoes. 
 

Kirkhill

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Humphrey Bogart said:
Stop looking East-West and start looking North-South.  The Atlantic Provinces have far more in common with their New England brethren than they do with the rest of Canada.  Ditto BC with the US West Coast. 

I find this map to be the most fitting:

Ninenations.PNG


Any Canadian "nation" is but an extension of its Southern relative.  This excludes Quebec of course, which is its own distinct nation.

And again we have Joel Garreau.  I fully agree with his views.

What I was attempting to do was further simplify, while focusing on the technological challenges and eliminating the sociological differences.

It doesn't matter whether the folks in the trees speak English, French of Anishiaabe.  Once you run out roads you run into the same problems.  Just like the Dene of the Barrens and the Inuit same similar challenges despite a history that rivals the French and English in Canada.

Technologically I stand by my Entities 1, 2 and 3:  a densely populated zone that feels like Europe where public transit makes sense;  a sparsely populated zone that is served by roads, but most of which are gravel or just cut lines where 4x4s, SUVs and pickups make sense; and the vast majority of the country where transportation requires some very different solutions.

And that transportation phenomenon in Entity 3 plays right into the discussion of the roles of the Rangers, the Reserves and the Regs in the North, the Reaction Units - size, capability and composition (and scalability) - as well as the technologies that are needed.

In terms of Reaction to crises - the primary job of Her Majesty's odd job men in the Canadian Forces - they should be focused on reacting where the people are not.

The south, Entity 1 and Entity 2, they don't need the Forces. It makes for good photo ops when streets need to be shoveled or sand bags need to be filled, but by and large there is enough people, and enough resources, immediately available that the Forces contribution, while welcome, is not critical.  Sending gunners to stack sandbags sends the message that the politicians care.  Full stop.

On the other hand, if you are living in a community of 500 people, in a tinder dry forest and with no roads to permit you to evacuate or get resources into your community in a timely fashion - then a couple of Chinooks full of people would probably be a welcome sight.

And yes, that is a job for the Forces.  You need the logistic skills that permit that type of intervention to support the deployment of the Combat Arms.

That is where the bet has been missed.  You want to know how to increase the defence budget?  Start selling the public on the logistics that you need, that they think you have but that you know you don't.

Edit: and I don't disagree with the dominoes comment.  John A's iron link is rusting away.  Vancouver Seattle.  Calgary Houston.  Halifax Boston.  Toronto and Montreal? New York (and farewell Quebec culture).

 

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Humphrey Bogart said:
Aye and I'd wager that if Quebec were to ever separate, Canada as a state would cease to exist.  The first to go would be the Maritimes who would quickly look South towards New England.  The rest of the country would fall like Dominoes.

Actually, I think that there would be a long drawn out discourse as to what Quebec could leave with.  Would the parts of Northern Quebec, that were not part of Quebec at Confederation be part and parcel of such a separation?  Would the Eastern Townships be included?  Which (historical) map of Quebec would be the deciding factor as to boundaries?  Would the Cree be given the same rights to separate from a Quebec nation?  Would there be a section that would remain in Canada to ensure a link between the Maritimes and Ontario westward? 

With a "Separation" what part of the National Debt would be transferred to Quebec?  The cut to Transfer Payments?  What about other fiscal concerns and monetary transfers?  What monetary unit would they have to switch to?  Citizenship or Dual Citizenship?  Passports?  What about CAF facilities, personnel and equipment; not to mention all the other Federal institutions and organizations?  There is quite a long list of factors that would have to be addressed.     

People seem to have an impression that such a Separation would be such an easy step to take; Canadian one day and Quebecois the next.    A very simplistic look at a very complex matter.
 

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Given that the map of the "yes" vote in the referendum looked a lot like the historical map of "New France", there is a possibility that Canada could continue to exist in any post separation environment.

Quebec itself would rapidly splinter, especially since most people will be very aware that the end game for the PQ is to milk anyone still in Quebec for the benefit of the "pure laine" Quebecois. Creating a transport and energy corridor across the District of Ungava to keep the East-West linkage of Canada after the dust settles should be a priority for whatever Canadian government exists at that time. As a bonus, the St Lawrence Seaway is an international waterway, and the United States will certainly have a lot to say about maintaining  freedom of access and innocent passage, so there will be two potential corridors. This is more a matter of national willpower to make it work, but laziness and inertia could lead to the dissolution of Canada instead.

As for issues like currency, Federal lands and equipment and so on, any Independent Quebec will be holding a very weak hand. Currency is not something we could actually do anything about, but while Quebec could continue to use Canadian dollars (or Euros or USD for that matter), they will have no say in the monetary policy of whatever currency they choose to adopt, if they fail to create their own. Much like Greece on the Euro, unilaterally devaluing the currency to meet domestic political or economic goals will not be an option.
 

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But you seem to be assuming, Thucydides, that America is "one nation, indivisible."

I doubt American (or British, Canadian, Russian or Spanish) "indivisibility" just as I doubt American "exceptionalism."

I find Garreau's notion logical and, I suspect, some variations of it will be attractive to many.
 

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IMO Quebec would fall apart in a post-separation scenario.

They'd loose their transfer payments.
They'd inherit an appropriate portion of the national debt, and have to pay for it sans transfer payments.
Without the Charter to hold them in check, they'd go power crazy and inact much stricter language laws, much to the furstration of international/English speaking companies, which would stimy business development.
They might get to keep some of the military bases, but I can almost guarantee Canada would not let them keep any of the expensive equipment, therefore requiring them to spend a not unsubstantial amount of money to re-capitalize its forces.

A little more supositious:
You'd see a significant amount of discord between rural-Quebecois, urban-pro-separation Quebecois and urban-anti-separation Quebecois (Montrèal).
You'd see produly-Canadian businesses across Canada slow-down/reduce their business activities with Quebec out of "spite".

Very supositions:
The Cree separate from Quebec, invade, and take over. (or maybe just the first part of those three)
 

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Colin P said:
Parts of the upper Fraser valley are light years apart from Vancouver

As is most of the geographic 613 area code from Ottawa and Kingston.
 

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Colin P said:
Parts of the upper Fraser valley are light years apart from Vancouver

One of the advantages of an itinerant life is that I have had the opportunity to live in places like Peterborough, Aldergrove and Lethbridge (as well as Calgary, Toronto and Indianapolis).

I am well aware of the moat and drawbridge at Port Mann.  And the difference between life in Bowmanville and Buckhorn Lake.

I was particularly trying to make the point about the applicability of technologies across Canada and how the discussion over Carbon, and its solutions, looks very different depending in which part of Canada you live in.

With respect to the Fraser Valley, a constant complaint in Aldergrove was that we were incorporated into the GVRD but at the very edge of the region.  We had gas stations on one side of the street in the GVRD and in Abbotsford on the otherside.  Guess which ones got the local business?

The GVRD put environmental levies and taxes on gas, on paint, on tires, on houses.  All to subsidize seabuses and skytrains and rage inducing traffic calming measures downtown.  Meanwhile it took my son and his friends over an hour to get downtown for events using public transit, my wife took a similar time by car to get to work on Annacis Island and if I had the misfortune to have an appointment in Vancouver I could count on the same to get across the Port Mann.

Meanwhile I could get to my appointments in Seattle in 2.5 hours, 250 km across an international border.

That is why I suggest that Vancouver dominates the Fraser Valley and imposes its European aspirations despite not having a European wallet.

And it doesn't take long to discover that whereas on the prairies I can reach virtually any point of the 520,000 km2 of the region in a wheeled vehicle capable of surviving rippled gravel roads, in BC and much of the north you are confined to ratlines with great clumps of trees blocking the view in between.

Three entities.  A European metropolis.  A very large field.  And the rest - a mixture of trees, rocks and water (often frozen).
 

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E.R. Campbell said:
But you seem to be assuming, Thucydides, that America is "one nation, indivisible."

I doubt American (or British, Canadian, Russian or Spanish) "indivisibility" just as I doubt American "exceptionalism."

I find Garreau's notion logical and, I suspect, some variations of it will be attractive to many.

The United States is also prone to a lot of stressors (many which Garreau would never have seen when the book first came out), but I suspect that they will hold together much more readily than Canada or a post separation Quebec. An interesting exercise will be to overlay the "Nine Nations" onto the "Red" and "Blue" states. I have read wishful thinking that the US could be rendered along the red/blue divide, but adding overlays like the Nine Nations and exurban pods will change that picture rather radically, I think.
 
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