Page 86

Image: Adam Roy. Museum of Northern British Columbia. Prince Rupert, BC

the founding company rhetoric at face value. Nordegg, Alberta, situated in the foothills of the Rockies, is a useful example. The town was built by cosmopolitan and enlightened entrepreneur Mr. Martin Nordegg and his company, Brazeau Collieries. Nordegg, a German immigrant, started developing coal seams in the area, with Canadian help, in 1907. For a later generation, living in a more autonomous but smaller community after the mining company has left, the memories of the company town can again become rosier, and the old rhetoric starts to ring true. Mr. Nordegg might be more popular now in Nordegg than he was a century ago. The influence of unions in improving working conditions is forgotten, the suffering in the mine has been erased from memory, and the connections between mining, railway, banking, steel, forestry companies, and government actors have changed and evolved.

Prince Rupert, BC, has an indigenous city population of about 50 percent, but they do not often voice their interests collectively. The real actors are not always visible, and a combination of old merchant elite and unions remains influential, even if these merchants are not merchants anymore, and even when the mills and canneries, the places where unions thrived, are gone. A revitalized port, now for containers, and the promise of oil and gas development has shifted power relations, bringing new actors into local governance. It also propelled local politicians onto the international scene, since the container port existed in and thanks to international networks. Most goods go to Chicago, and people there had to be convinced and cultivated. Fishermen and their organizations, once prominent, have disappeared into the background of local governance, although a fishing union leader still sits on council, a remnant of past distinction.

74

Boom and Bust: a guide

Profile for University of Alberta Extension

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Advertisement