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Canadian Globalization Essay

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Canada in the Global Village: Balancing the Costs and Benefits of Globalization

Canadian scholar Marshall McLuhan once said that the world is becoming more and more like a “global village,” each nation part of an increasingly interconnected society that stretches across national boundaries (6). Although he was talking about the role of new media in this change, he also was probably talking about the growing economic links that come with globalization. Globalization is a process that offers both the opportunity for a better world and the risk of destroying local communities, regional cultures, and entire natural environments. Over the last century, globalization has become a major issue in politics, environmental studies, and economics, touching every corner of earth as corporations spread. But Globalization is a broad term that does not necessarily mean one single thing. It usually describes the increasing interconnectedness of economies, political institutions, and individuals as the result of communication, transportation, and goods provided by multinational corporations. As Justin Ervin and Zachary Smith define it, “Globalization can now be seen as a process that ‘shrinks’ the world as human interaction ‘thickens’” (4). The effects of globalization are neither good nor bad; there are costs and benefits as with most things in life. What is certain is that no nation on earth has not yet felt the effects of globalization. One nation that has been particularly involved in and affected by globalization is Canada. Canada is a nation often overshadowed by its economically dominant southern neighbor, the United States. As the world continues to globalize, Canada’s role in this expansion is becoming increasingly important, and whether it will accept globalization entirely or continue to resist is a major point of debate. Canada has both embraced and rejected globalization: many of its corporations embrace it as a means of expanding, but many of Canada’s people fear the effects of globalization on local culture, the economy, and the environment. For Canada, globalization has brought both economic prosperity and a series of cultural and environmental problems. In an address to the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, Wayne G. Wouters, Clerk of the Privy council and Secretary to the Cabinet, there are five dimensions to globalization. First, “global capital markets now truly operate 24/7” and “perturbations in one country or sector may now be felt both near and far.” Globalization has made business both quick in time and geographically broad. Second, there are now “global supply chains” where products are made and shipped all across the globe. What started out as “outsourcing” in the 1980s became “off-shoring” in the 1990s, and now is called the “global supply chain.” Third, there is the “globalization of information,” an interconnected network of media and communication. Fourth, globalization raises environmental concerns. Last, there is what Wouters calls the “globalization of insecurity,” the idea that the future is even more uncertain in a world where everything is connected and nothing is stable for long. These dimensions highlight that globalization is seen in Canada as both a force for good and a problem. Throughout its history Canada has had strong ties to Europe and later to the United States. As part of the British Empire it was an important source of natural resources such as timber and ores. In recent decades, the Canadian oil industry has become increasingly important as well. Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela (Lewis and Moor). Other industries such as technology, chemicals, and manufacturing continue to make Canada a major player in the world economy. But what does the continued growth of Canadian industry and its own involvement with globalization do to its regional cultures? H...

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