Small Canadian cities confront serious social issues as a result of the neoliberal economic restructuring practiced by both federal and provincial governments since the 1980s. Drastic spending reductions and ongoing restraint in social assistance, income supports, and the provision of affordable housing, combined with the offloading of social responsibilities onto municipalities, has contributed to the generalization of social issues once chiefly associated with Canada’s largest urban centres. As the investigations in this volume illustrate, while some communities responded to these issues with inclusionary and progressive actions others were more exclusionary and reactive—revealing forms of discrimination, exclusion, and “othering” in the implementation of practices and policies. Importantly, however their investigations reveal a broad range of responses to the social issues they face. No matter the process and results of the proposed solutions, what the contributors uncovered were distinctive attributes of the small city as it struggles to confront increasingly complex social issues.
If local governments accept a social agenda as part of its responsibilities, the contributors to Small Cities, Big Issues believe that small cities can succeed in reconceiving community based on the ideals of acceptance, accommodation, and inclusion.
With contributions by Lorry-Ann Austin, Jacques Caillouette, Graham Day, Robert Harding, Wendy Hulko, Paul Jenkinson, Kathie McKinnon, Sharlene Matthew, Jennifer Murphy, Diane Purvey, Mónica J. Sánchez-Flores, and Sydney Weaver
"When compared to the scholarship on metropolitan cities, studies of governance in small cities are relatively few in number, making Small Cities, Big Issues an important resource for researchers interested in the effect of neoliberalism on social exclusion and marginlization in small cities."