This book provides the first full account of a major social and political movement of the interwar years in Canada: the campaign for "Maritime Rights" which erupted in the Atlantic provinces after World War I. Ernest R. Forbes traces the history of the movement from its origins in the decline in relative status and influence of the Maritimes that accompanied the rise of the West and the growing dominance of the Central Canadian metropolises. Maritimers saw their political influence reduced, the underpinnings of their economy - especially in the critical areas of tariffs, freight rates, and subsidies - whittled away, and Canada defined in terms that seemed to exclude them. Adopting a strategy characteristic of the progressive movements of the period, they attempted through organization and agitation to restore their position. Farmers, fishermen, manufacturers, and organized labour articulated their demands through the provincial press, boards of trade, union locals, educational conferences, and mass delegations to Ottawa. Professor Forbes challenges traditional assumptions in his emphasis upon a vigorous Maritime progressivism that transcended party affiliations. All the political parties tried to use the protest movement, but none had created it, nor had it a specific founder or leader. The agitiation was in fact a spontaneous expression of the economic and social frustrations of the Maritime people. Although their efforts were largely defeated by the conflicting interests of stronger regions, and by the King government's adoitness in defusing protest through a policy of study and delay, the author believes that the aroused Maritimers had succeeded in establishing their difficulties in the public's mind as a national problem.
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