The Meaning of National Policy in Relation to the Maritime History


National Policy refers to a process of economic nationalism which involved the Canadian business and industrial communities. It involved various policies set by the Canadian federal government including tariff policies, freight rates, manufacturing and industrial policies. It was also embraced by the Maritimers as a new mercantilism which would re-establish the stability that was experienced during the old British order in the region.

It is a term that brings together the people of maritime region through national sharing of resources including protective tariffs which were designed to promote Canadian Manufacturing, Railway policies that regulate the railway that link national markets, and immigration policies that enabled the settling of people in Western Canada and creation of markets for Canadian goods.

National policy and industrialization took place between 1880 and 1910 when certain sectors of the Maritime economy flourished including shipping, lumber markets, new manufacturing industries and new investment railroads. It later resulted in railroad woes (levies, Quebec terminus and freight rates), over-extended capital investments and trade imbalance.

National policy is important in the study of Maritime History because it enables learners to understand the effects of federal government policies on the development of Maritime region during the industrialization era.

It also enables students of history to learn from the past government policies even as they consider changing the future of the Maritimes through effective policies.

It enables them to deduce whether it is important for the Maritime region to participate in national policy or operate within their own provincial jurisdiction.

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