An investigation of the relationship between health and development in northern Manitoba
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The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between health and development in northern Manitoba. The hypothesis is that health and development levels are positively associated because the same factors that sustain underdevelopment in northern Manitoba sustain poor health. Pipeline developments and the search for alternative energy sources have focussed the attention of governments and the general public on northern development problems. After a period of neglect, the North has come to figure prominently in decision-making at the federal and provincial Ievels. The Berger Commission Inquiry into the inpact of pipeline development and other studies, such as that completed in 1974 by Gemini North for Canadian Arctic Gas, have begun to highlight some of the potentially negative impacts of rapid large scale industrial development in the Arctic. Primarily, two negative impacts are cited. They are the destruction of the natural environment and an increase in social patholoty as a land-based people with a traditional economy are forced to become more urban-based and a part of a wage economy. Among the residents of northern Manitoba, similar kinds of concerns have and are still being raised. The existence of the Northern Flood Agreement, to which federal and provincial governments, Manitoba Hydro and the Northern Flood Committee (on behalf of the Cross Lake, Norway House, Nelson House, Split Lake and York Landing Indian Reserves) are signatories is one testimony to this... What is known is that government activity in the Manitoba North in the last ten years has not substantially improved the socio-economic circumstances of native northerners. Despite this level of expenditure, a small percentage of native northerners is employed full time, their incomes are lower, and they have fewer educational opportunities with which to prepare themselves for the job market... In view of the substantial financial investment and the apparently poor response to it, an investigation of a possible relationship which may shed light on what are the real constraints to development and what financial investment may lead to more successful policy interventions is pertinent. As the role of health as a factor in regional development has been given insufficient attention up to this point, the purpose of this paper is to investigate that factor.