Local autonomy and municipal reorganization : a study of ethnic influence on the local politics of St. Boniface

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Turnbull, Ian Denys.
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The reorganization of municipal government becomes more necessary as urbanization increases but the necessity for reorganization does not prevent local opposition to new forms of municipal government. In urban areas outside of Greater Winnipeg, reorganization has been prevented by political opposition that is active and well organized because it is based on the residents' strong identification with the locality and its civic institutions. As ethnic groups are usually a minority in a provincial, state or national political system, such groups tend to identify with a locality and its political institutions because the ethnic groups can hope to be a majority within a locality and thereby control or influence civic institutions. Although the French in St. Boniface are an ethnic minority, they have made little attempt to retain control of civic institutions. This lack of identity is explained by the historical development of French political organization and in the relationship between the municipality and the provincial government. As there have been few studies of local politics in the Winnipeg urban area, this analysis of French political organization has required an examination of several areas of local politics... From this analysis it becomes evident that French political organization was not identified either with the locality of St. Boniface or with civic institutions. What appeared as a well organized politically active ethnic group, was neither organized nor active in the local politics of St. Boniface because ethnic groups were predominantly rural in membership and focussed on the provincial issue of education.