Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Shaping an Agenda for Atlantic Canada

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Shaping an Agenda for Atlantic Canada

Article excerpt

John G. Reid and Donald J. Savoie (eds), Shaping an Agenda for Atlantic Canada (Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 2011), 384 pp. Paper. $29.95. ISBN 978-1-55266-449-0.

This book is a collection of essays that were presented at the conference, Shaping an Agenda for Atlantic Canada, held at Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 2010. A robust introduction, arguing that Atlantic Canada is at a crossroads due to the modern challenges of demographics, politics and economy, is followed by 11 papers (each with a response) in an attempt to examine the 'complex issues that arise from the past and stretch into the present and future' (p .1).

The issues facing Atlantic Canada are complex and varied, and the essays in this book reflect that reality. The papers discuss topics ranging from the dispossession of the Maliseet peoples to the use of historical memory in the political discourse of the region. Fresh interpretations are offered, suggesting that unlike previous eras when politicians employed history to legitimise political positions, contemporary politicians such as the former Premier of Newfoundland, Danny Williams, made a 'rhetorical break with the past' to avoid being 'trapped by history' (p. 112). But the collection is clear that the historical narrative remains important nonetheless, and it is leftto the professional historian to frame the story and find 'an audience'.

The essays also examine more contemporary concerns such as the emerging implication of renewable resources, illustrating both the challenges and realities of the environmental sector. Some more traditional complications are examined, specifically the region's relationship with federalism, and the specific concept of 'Atlantic Canada' is scrutinised. …

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