BIG Region – Atlantic Canada

Photo Credit: Steve Sutherland (Flickr)

The Atlantic region of Canada comprises four provinces sharing a vast and variegated maritime boundary along the Atlantic coast and its associated bays, estuaries, inlets, straits and other coastal waters. These waters comprise both international boundaries on international waters, and maritime boundaries with the United States. Other maritime and land boundaries divide the region from Quebec and Nunavut. The only actual international land boundary lies between New Brunswick and the U.S. In this region, international ports of entry are largely seaports and airports, thus giving the region a unique border character within Canada.

The intra-regional or ‘Atlantica’ vision breaks down some borders, crosses international boundaries, and defines an outlook. The vision links indigenous to non-indigenous cultures, defines a way of life, and aligns economic realities, common history and shared culture while seeking a sustainable future and effective governance. Research topics involved an exploration of the origins, dissemination and impact of this Atlantica outlook, and the ways in which the manifestations of it, for example within the Council of Atlantic Premiers, have emerged and prevail.

Regional security poses many challenges for securing ports of entry by air, land and sea, as well as extensive coastlines and land borders in largely uninhabited areas. The security concerns link to national maritime security on the one hand and are tied to Canada’s naval presence concentrated in the region. The concerns also extend to critical infrastructure centered in Halifax and radiating throughout the region with extensive rail, road, pipeline and other facilities.

Researchers also explored food security issues in an under populated region. Alongside this, investigators will also consider how resource sustainability in the region has required agreements and accords that characteristically cross both sub-regional boundaries among provinces and international land, sea and air borders. These accords have been impacted by enhanced security measures along borders. In addition, there have been environmental, social, and cultural impacts of the changing cross-border regulatory regimes and practices.

The health of the tourism industry in the region is particularly vulnerable to such border security enhancements. Likewise, sporting culture is at once local, regional and global. This extensively scaled sporting culture offers insights into border effects on sport as well as the way in which sport crosses borders. The indigenous component in sport is strong in the international region.

Migration and immigration flows into and out of the region cross both national and regional boundaries. These flows have been extensive throughout the history of the region and they have had an impact on all the sub-regions of Atlantic Canada. These migrations continue to this day with new immigrants entering the region while longtime residents continue to migrate to other regions of Canada. The economic, social and cultural implications of the migrations are profound.

Dr. Victor Konrad at Carleton University led the Atlantic region.