During his successful campaign to become Conservative Party leader in the spring of 2004, Stephen Harper said of the Maritime provinces, "We will see the day when the region is not the place where you visit your grandparents, but instead more often than not the place where you visit your grandchildren." InVisiting Grandchildren, esteemed policy analyst and scholar Donald J. Savoie explores how Canadian economic policies have served to exclude the Maritime provinces from the wealth enjoyed in many other parts of the country, especially southern Ontario, and calls for a radical new approach in how Canadian governments determine policies that affect the different regions.
Savoie advocates a 'ratchet effect' for national economic policies, whereby regions take turns at high growth, with the slow-growth region of one period becoming the high-growth region of the next, with none moving from slow-growth to decline. He demonstrates how this pattern has been effective in countries undergoing long-term regional convergence and how it would recognize that what is good for the Maritimes is good for Canada no less than what is good for Ontario is good for Canada.
Visiting Grandchildrenlooks to history, accidents of geography, and to the workings of national political and administrative institutions to explain the relative underdevelopment of the Maritime provinces. Savoie argues that the region must strive to redefine its relationship with the national government and with other regions, that it must ask fundamental questions of itself about its own responsibility for its present underdevelopment, develop a cooperative mindset, and embrace the market, if it is to prosper in the twenty-first century. Savoie's work serves as the blueprint for a new way of envisioning the Maritime region.