The usual drain from rural areas to urban centers was noted as less and less services become available, poorer access to health care and technology for example. However, for the first time in Canad's history more people are living west of Ontario (30.7%) than are living east (30'6%), that is more people are living in B.C and the Praires, than are living in Quebec (23.6%) and the the Atlantic (7%) Ontario is still the largest with 38.4%, but even here , there is a drop from 6.6% to 5.7%. People are moving to where the jobs are, and so the move is eastward to Labrador and Newfoundland, New Brunswick and P.E.I. and westward to Alberta, Sasketchewan and even the Yukon which grew by 11.7%. Oil in Alberta and Newfoundland and potash in Sask. The resourced-based economies are performing much better than the manufacturing/ industrial ones.
We are once again "the hewer of wood and the drawer of water"
Oil, gas, forestry, hydro, potash, wheat that built Canada are back. The manufacturing/ industrial heartland have been beset by "lower-cost" global competition and cities like Windsor, once the hub in Ontario's auto industry has seen a decline of 1.3% in its population, whereas Calgary is the fastes growing major city, soon to replace Ottawa as the fourth largest metropolitan area in Canada.
There are serious political, social and economic implications. Canada has been dominated by central Canada...Ontario and Quebec and the Liberal Party, with moderate, centrist policies is being replaced by Western, specifically Alberta dominated by Ref/Cons ( 10 of the 15 the fastest growing cities are in Alberta, with 10.8% pop. growth; Sask. has gone over a million; B.C. is up 7 % etc.). While Ontario is still the largest in population, 38.4% , the West has grown to 30.7% and Quebec is down to 23.6%.
In the 2015 election, there will be 30 new seats ; Ont.15; B.C. 6; Alb.6; Quebec 3. The Ref/Con are poised to take most of these seats, because they will be carved out of exising seats in suburban belts surrounding such cities as Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, areas controlled by the Ref/Con.
There will be a higher percentage of ethnic voters and a higher number of seats won by ehtnic candidates vying for seats. More seats in suburbia; more seats in Alberta and B.C.; more seats in Ontario. Their demands/interests will be more and more a part of the country's agenda. The policies adopted, the decisions made, on health and child care, on immigration, on foreign investment and foreign policy, on the distribution of wealth on Quebec and the whole host of other matters that government have to deal with will reflect this population shift, the new power base.
This may well put new and dangerous strains on governing. We are moving into new areas of concern in a rapidly changing world. These are and will be very interesting times.