Industrialization is a wave that has swept the world with nations proclaiming the many benefits associated with them with little talk of adverse effects of it. Canada has not been left behind in this as they too have embraced industrialization in many areas surrounding. The purpose of this essay is to describe whether industrialization has transformed Canada for the better or has it worsened the situation. In this area I will focus on the social, political and economic transformation to be specific.
Canada became a heavily industrialized country in the last half of the 20th century. This is because the country was well endowed with vast natural resources that are necessary for industrialization. The country also had access to sufficient power for industrial activities. Industrialization has had a great impact on Canada. It has transformed the country politically, socially, and economically, for better and worse.
Industrialization had political implications on Canada. Due to industrialization, rapid urbanization took place. Most people moved to urban areas and were more enlightened politically than their counterparts in the countryside. For example, people became more aware of their human rights while in cities. This led to the formation of trade unions and political parties by those in urban areas. Some towns emerged as central cities They included cities such as Quebec, Toronto, and Ontario. Good government amendments such as that of the National Policy were put in place to spur Canada to greater achievements as a nation. Canada emerged as an influential nation that was able to defend its boundaries from invasions by foreigners. The country also managed to set up a good centralized structure of government with its capital based in Ontario which was an industrial hub. The nation began electing its leaders based on their agenda for development (Wardhaugh,125). Thus, industrialization heavily influenced the choice of leaders chosen by the people. However, there were also negative impacts of industrialization politically. For example, Canada joined the world war one since it was an industrialized nation and possessed influence in the global arena. Almost all the industrialized nations entered the war, and as we know, there was massive loss of life due to world war one.
Industrialization also had positive and negative social impacts in Canada. There were several positive effects on social aspects in Canada. These effects were evident in the last half of the 19th century and all throughout the 20th century. For example, urban industrialization led the rise of an educated class of women so as to provide for the surplus skilled labor needed in industries (Wardhaugh,176). Previously, women were only treated as homemakers to manage household chores and affairs. This led to gender balance and equity in the workplace. One of such women who became the first Canadian woman to hold a degree was Augusta Stowe who obtained a medical degree (Wardhaugh,175). The other positive impact that resulted from industrialization is the transformation of Canadian education. Children became educated at an earlier age and were taught special skills such as learning to obey the clock. This was vital for the rapidly industrializing nation. The Canadian culture evolved to adapt to industrialization. Many people also began living in modern apartments in urban centers. This enabled them to work continuously in industries. However, there are also several adverse effects on the social aspect of the Canadian life. For example, industrialization led to moral degradation. This is due to the emergence of a working class of women who remained unmarried and the rise of prostitution cases in industrialized urban centers. There was also an explosion of respiratory diseases in urban centers due to heavy pollution from industries. This led to shorter lifespans for those living in cities.
There were several impacts on the economy by the rapid industrialization. For example, the early urbanization because of industrial activities led to the quick expansion of the economy in Canada. The country also exported several industrial products. This attracted a lot of international revenue thus resulting in the boom in the economy. Exports included metals such as steel, electricity, and timber. Industrialization also resulted in the rise of a wealthy class of the middle class due to an improved GDP per capita. Many people were employed in industries (Wardhaugh,169). The country also experienced a rapid expansion of infrastructure which led to the tremendous improvement of the economy. Roads and railway lines were constructed to transport industrial raw materials and products. This led to a booming trade in industrial goods in the country. Transportation became quick and affordable. Communication and technology developed rapidly (Wardhaugh,172). Commerce and agriculture were also boosted. Rapid urbanization meant that food was needed to feed the masses in urban centers, and thus agriculture flourished. However, the were some minimal negative impacts on the economy due to industrialization. For example, a lot of time money was spent on industrializing Canada. Imports of heavy equipment and machinery from countries such as Germany and Japan also led to a massive outflow of currency thus affecting the economy negatively.
Overall Industrialization helped Canada as a country, but not everything was positive for everyone. The impacts of manufacturing can still be felt to date. However, industrialization has been very responsible for transforming the social, economic, and political aspects in Canada. It has been instrumental in shaping all aspects of the country we have today.
Wardhaugh, Robert A. Destinies: Canadian History since Confederation, 8th Edition. Nelson, 2017.
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