Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


A major source of British Columbia's economic growth in the three decades after World War II was the expansion of resource industries into the territory lying north of the 53rd parallel. The three provincial administrations of the period (Coalition, 1945-52; Social Credit, 1952-72; and New Democratic Party, 1972-75) were active participants in northern expansion, and the extent and style of their involvements largely shaped the manner in which the process of northern development unfolded. A narrative/chronological approach is used to compare and assess critically the developmental policies and programs of these administrations, and to analyse the impact of their efforts at promoting development in northern B.C. throughout the period.;Two distinct forms of governmental involvement are identified and investigated. The first was the provision of infrastructure to encourage and facilitate the development of northern resources by private interests. Two programs in particular--the expansion of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway (later renamed the British Columbia Railway) and the construction of the Peace River power project--figured prominently in this strategy and are examined comprehensively. The second form was the promotion of northern industrial activity through resource regulation and management policies. This method of governmental promotion is explored for those sectors--forestry, mining, hydro, oil, and natural gas--that were primarily responsible for B.C.'s post-war northern industrial boom.;The study finds that the governmental policies and programs greatly stimulated interest and investment in northern resource development, but that a lack of planning and certain inappropriate practices produced some unhealthy conditions and costly mistakes. The governments also achieved only limited success in their efforts to promote secondary processing of resources, so that northern B.C. developed primarily from the exportation of raw materials or only partially upgraded products. Of the several concepts or theories traditionally associated with B.C.'s northern expansion, province-building was found to be the most appropriate for interpreting the governments' general approaches to economic expansion, while the dependency view was considered more valid for describing the pattern and features of the industrial development that occurred.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.