Small Cities, Big Issues

Reconceiving Community in a Neoliberal Era


Small Cities, Big Issues

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.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Cover 1
Half Title 2
Title 4
Copyright 5
Dedication 6
Contents 8
Acknowledgements 10
Introduction 14
Part I Displacement, Isolation, and the Other 32
1. Homelessness in Small Cities: The Abdication of Federal Responsibility Terry Kading and Christopher Walmsley 34
2. Zoned Out: Regulating Street Sex Work in Kamloops, British Columbia Lorry-Ann Austin 64
3. Needles in Nanaimo: Exclusionary Versus Inclusionary Approaches to Illicit Drug Users Sydney Weaver 86
4. Being Queer in the Small City Wendy Hulko 116
5. “Thrown Out into the Community”: The Closure of Tranquille Diane Purvey 136
6. Fitting In: Women Parolees in the Small City Jennifer Murphy 158
7. Walking in Two Worlds: Aboriginal Peoples in the Small City Sharnelle Matthew and Kathie McKinnon 178
Part II Building Community 202
8. Social Planning and the Dynamics of Small-City Government Christopher Walmsley and Terry Kading 204
9. The Inadequacies of Multiculturalism: Reflections on Immigrant Settlement, Identity Negotiation, and Community in a Small City Mónica J. Sánchez-Flores 224
10. Municipal Approaches to Poverty Reduction in British Columbia: A Comparison of New Westminster and Abbotsford Robert Harding and Paul Jenkinson 246
11. Integrated Action and Community Empowerment: Building Relationships of Solidarity in Magog, Québec Jacques Caillouette 286
12. Small City, Large Town? Reflections on Neoliberalism in the United Kingdom Graham Day 306
Conclusion: The Way Forward 334
List of Contributors 342